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BEST IN MONTANA

Year after year
Society of Professional
Journalists

VOLUME TWELVE NUMBER THREE, TWO THOUSAND SIXTEEN | FALL

Bitter Pills
Opioid abuse takes
lives, shatters families

Siesta in Sidney
The eastern Montana
oil patch takes a breather

No Easy Path
Volunteers work to keep
public trails cleared

The Fur Fight
Is trapping too archaic
for modern-day Montana?

THEMONTANAQUARTERLY.COM $6.95
The small world of native trout
Tippet Rise: art and landscape
Rural Route: Loma abides
Fiction by Laura Jean Schneider
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VO L U M E X I I , N U M B E R 3 | FA L L 2 0 16

SCOTT M c MILLION
editor in chief
JEFF WELSCH
ALAN KESSELHEIM
senior editors
SABRINA CREWE
associate editor
BOB BULLOCK
sales manager
ROBIN OGATA
business manager
THOMAS LEE
senior photographer
MEGAN AULT REGNERUS
editor emeritus
CRAIG LANCASTER
design director

CORRESPONDENTS: Alexis Marie Adams,
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David Crisp, Brian D’Ambrosio, Rick DeMarinis,
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Jones, Ed Kemmick, Kris King, William Kittredge,
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Joe Wilkins, Todd Wilkinson, Callan Wink,
Paul Zarzyski, John Zumpano

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M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 3
LET TER FROM THE EDITOR

Pushing Gladys
Lots of people thought Gladys Durden was crazy. But she was my friend and she
called me her pusher.
A tiny woman, well shy of 100 pounds, she had a problem with her neck that left
her head resting on her shoulder. She always wore two pairs of sunglasses and several
layers of clothes, but she walked all over town, pushing a walker with wheels and a
built-in seat, so she could rest when it pleased her.
I’d seen her around for years but didn’t know she was a neighbor. After we bought our
SHOW THE MEASURE house, I assumed the derelict place on the corner was abandoned. The windows were
OF YOUR AFFECTION boarded up, shingles took flight in every strong wind and the doorless garage overflowed
WITH A with junk. An old Chrysler K-car corroded in the yard, on three wheels and a jack.
I finally met Gladys when she was chipping away at the crusty snow on her
GIFT SUBSCRIPTION sidewalk, with a shovel taller than she was. After some token resistance she yielded
the shovel, then watched while I cleared a path. She didn’t say much.
After that, I made it a point to walk to her house after every storm. Sometimes she’d
come out and chat, depending on her mood. When one storm split her juniper tree I tried
to haul away the debris but Gladys told me to put it in her garage. She liked the smell.
I knew she liked lamb so I’d bring her a plate whenever I cooked some and she’d
call occasionally to ask a favor, usually a little help in getting somewhere.
“Wanna be my pusher?” she’d ask. She was tired of moving slow all her life, so
off we’d go down the sidewalk at a brisk trot, Gladys on her walker’s seat with all four
limbs straight out, waving her cane and whooping with delight.
Over the years, her story spilled out in fragments.
She’d grown up in Livingston, worshipped her father, never married, and worked
some as a housekeeper. But she’d been an unusual child, maybe somewhere on the
autism scale, and people who probably had good intentions sent her to the state
hospital in Warm Springs, where doctors dosed her with experimental drugs and
BEST MAGAZINE zapped her with electricity. It just made everything worse, she told me, and later she
IN THE NORTHWEST joined a society of psychiatrists who argue against treating childhood mental illness
SPJ 2010, 2012, 2013 with drugs. When the group scheduled its convention in 2009 in Syracuse, New York,
BEST DEPARTMENTS Gladys decided to go. She’d been to one a decade earlier.
SPJ 2014 I didn’t like the idea. I told her if she took sick on the way they’d treat her like a
New gift orders receive a bonus bag lady and stuff her away somewhere.
issue and greeting card “Well, what do you think they’ll do if I get sick here?” she replied.
She needed a new photo ID and that meant taking off her sunglasses, which
Big state. Big idea. irritated her, but I enjoyed it because she had the prettiest blue eyes and I’d never
seen them. Then I crossed my fingers and arranged the flights. Before I booked the
SUBSCRIBE NOW tickets, I called one more time, hoping she would change her mind. She didn’t answer.
THEMONTANAQUARTERLY.COM Another neighbor was already there when I got to the house. Gladys was dead in
P.O. BOX 1900 her bed. She was 75.
LIVINGSTON, MT 59047
406 333 2154
Soon enough some distant relatives showed up and sorted through her stuff. The
house went for back taxes and now, after seven years, it’s got a new roof, fresh paint
and the garage is clean. We’ll have new neighbors soon.
I hope a young family moves in, people with children. Gladys would like that, I
think. Maybe. Kids can be noisy.
But I’ll always think of it as Gladys’ house. And I’m glad I got to be her pusher.

Scott McMillion
Editor in Chief
4
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FEATURES
8 Running Out of Time? 24 Monster in Our Midst
Voters will decide if the ancient Opioids leave a trail of overdose and
practice of trapping gets pared back. undone lives in Montana.
by GABRIEL FURSHONG by ALAN KESSELHEIM

16 Still Pumping 32 The Trail Crew
Slow times have come to the Bakken, Volunteers pick up the slack left by
but Richland County keeps plugging. shrinking Forest Service budgets.
by ADAM BOEHLER by MARSHALL SWEARINGEN

IN THIS ISSUE

Bob Marshall Wilderness p. 32
Sidney p. 16
Loma p. 42
Flathead
Lake
p. 60
Ovando p. 8

Bozeman p. 24 Billings p. 70

Fishtail p. 48

At sunset, a visitor to Tippet Rise admires the enormous Domo, a sculpture by Ensamble Studio. Photograph by Erik Petersen
DEPART MENTS
42 RU R A L R O U T E 69 O D D C O R N ER S
With a history steeped in the whiskey Native trout once flouished across most
trade and murder, little Loma tries to of Montana, but industry and invasive
buck the odds. Scott McMillion stops by. species nearly wiped them out.
Scott McMillion wades in.
48 A R T
The Tippet Rise Art Center offers fine art 70 B O O KS
and classical music to whoever wants it. Interview—Billings novelist Blythe
Alexis Marie Adams lends an ear. Woolston mines her vast imagination for
her young-adult books. Kris King chats
54 H I S TO RY with the author of MARTians.
Robert G. Ingersoll— “The Great Reviews—New books by Russell
Agnostic”—once mesmerized audiences Rowland, Pete Fromm and Sid Gustafson
and confounded clergy in Montana. show the many faces of Montana.
M. Mark Miller goes to the archives. Elise Atchison turns the pages.

60 S C I EN C E 76 F I C T I O N
The Flathead Lake Biological Station Off Side
tends to one of America’s most pristine By Laura Jean Schneider
major lakes. Butch Larcombe dives in. Illustrations by Monte L. Hurlbert

“The ‘War on Drugs’ is a really unfortunate phrase. For one thing,
you will never arrest your way out of this problem. It’s not a war
you can win. It would be more accurate to call it a war on money.”
— From “The Monster in Our Midst,” by Alan Kesselheim, page 24
Bob Sheppard, 65,
returns to his vehicle
with a beaver slung
over his shoulder
after checking his
trapline on private
property outside
Helmville, Montana.

8
Trapping is an ancient tradition
in Montana. Voters will decide
whether to pare it back.

Running Out
of Time?
BY GABRIEL FURSHONG

PHOTOGRAPHY BY LIDO VIZZUT TI

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 9
W
hen Bob Sheppard
returned home from
Vietnam, he did not
tarry in cities and
towns. He walked into
the Bob Marshall Wilderness and spent
four straight winters in the Danaher
Basin, where orders from anyone other
than his higher power could not be
heard. And he lived, as many had
before him, by laying traps for furbear-
ing animals of astonishing variety and
number.
Bob is still trapping 40 years later,
though mostly on private ground at the
request of Blackfoot Valley ranchers who
pay him to kill wolves, coyotes, muskrat
and beaver, which can cause stock grow-
ers a wide range of problems.
A short, fit fellow, as Bob walks
through 15-foot stands of alder on
a ranch southwest of Helmville, he
appears younger than his 65 years
despite a pair of shock-white sideburns
visible beneath his red-and-black check-
ered hunting cap. Pacing a trapline
along the banks of Douglas Creek, he
exudes a giddiness uncharacteristic of
men with a rural twang in their voices—
men who spice regular conversation with
words like “ain’t” or “elsewise” and refer
to thermal underwear as “longhandles.”
“God put ’em here for us to use, not
abuse and not to waste,” he says of wild-
life while pulling a Conibear body-grip
trap from a bend in the stream. A beaver
in the trap has been dead since it trig-
gered the wire jaws of the device, which
broke its back that morning or some-
time the prior day. Bob, in camouflage
hip waders and shoulder-length rubber
gloves, looks up smiling from the creek.
“It’d be a crying-ass shame,” he says,
“to walk down any of these creeks and
not be able to see peeled sticks where
they been cuttin’.”

Sheppard adds an old mustard jar filled with
beaver castor lure to his equipment bag before
heading out to inspect his traps.

10
A growing contingent of people
concerned about Montana’s trapping
laws agree with Sheppard—beaver and
all furbearing species should be entitled
to a long future here. However, many
also feel that trapping should be at least
partially banned. Critics argue that the
sport is prone to cruelty and that a lack
of regulatory rigor leaves too much room
for outcomes such as the killing of sensi-
tive species like wolverine or fisher.
Proponents counter that trapping is a
well-managed outdoor tradition and an
important wildlife management tool.
This fall, Montana voters will serve
as powerful arbiters in this debate when
they cast their ballots on Initiative 177,
which would ban recreational trap-
ping on all public lands in the state.
On Wednesday November 9th, the day
after the general election, a centuries-
long tradition will either be significantly
curtailed or more firmly entrenched.
But even then, one wonders whether the
moral questions dogging trappers will be
fully settled.

I
n 2010, Montanans volunteer-
ing for a brand new organiza-
tion called Footloose Montana
spread out across the 559-mile-
wide state to collect signatures
from eligible voters who wanted to ban
all recreational trapping on public and
private lands. The measure fell roughly
1,800 qualified signatures short of the
24,300 required to make the general
election ballot.
Over the next few winters, trappers
celebrated banner returns, partly at the
expense of a solitary furbearer named
Mustilidae Martes. The omnivorous
marten is the size of a house cat and its
fur helps fuel the fashion industries of
Russia and China, where rising afflu-
ence and demand boosted prices to $85
per pelt in 2013, more than double the
2009 price.
In the 2012-13 season, the Montana

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 11
“That’s the biggest criticism you have of trapping,
the inability to dictate what you catch.”

Standing on his property west of Lolo, longtime trapper Cole MacPherson describes how his connection with trapping is about sustaining a natural
ecology. At right, assorted hides are on display, draped over the railing of a small walkway in MacPherson’s home.

Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks sold 6,299 trapping him by his first name. At 80 years old, he admits to becoming
licenses, 37 percent more than the 10-year average. The resulting a bit of a “bunny-hugger” and considers the fall in fur prices
revenue was welcomed by an agency that survives primarily on since 2013 a “godsend.” He also expresses discomfort with the
license fees from people who hunt, fish, or trap. The result for the indiscriminate nature of trapping.
marten community however, was rather grim. Over 1,721 were “That’s the biggest criticism you have of trapping, the
harvested, 638 more than the previous year. inability to dictate what you catch,” he says. “I’ll tell ya, a good
“I had a friend who got a $20,000 check,” remembers Cole marten set, I’ve caught several fishers in ’em.”
MacPherson, a retired dentist and longtime trapper from Lolo He takes a sip of coffee. “It’s not talked about,” he contin-
who keeps a bobcat caged in his backyard. “Marten is prob- ues. “It troubles me. That’s why I try desperately to catch what
ably my favorite animal but any trained monkey can catch one. I set for.”
When fur prices are up, every Tom, Dick and Harry is putting Still, despite his misgivings, he thinks a ban on recreational
out a trap line, and they can decimate populations.” trapping on public lands is a solution searching for a problem.
He sits at a booth in the window of KT’s Hayloft Saloon, “It’s so restrictive now,” he says, that even the dimensions of
a café with a view of the junction of highways 12 and 93. He cubbyholes, or small dens for laying bobcat traps, are spelled
waves at people as they take their seats, and the waiters call out in the rules. To underscore his point he gestures toward a

12
copy of the 16-page regulation book that he brought with him. pelt over the treatment of the animal” that wears it.
He argues that the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks “Montana has a 48-hour suggested trap check,” he says.
already prevents trappers from doing long-term harm to sensi- Animals might suffer in a leg hold for days and trappers,
tive species, and if the state’s wildlife managers fail to effec- according to Justice, will often strangle or beat trapped animals
tively protect a particular species, then the U.S. Fish and to death to ensure a pelt isn’t damaged.
Wildlife Service can intervene. Macpherson uses wolverines as “I think the cruelty of it is a very unfortunate thing and it
an example. makes me sick,” he continues. He acknowledges than many
The largest member of the weasel family, wolverines were anti-trapping advocates are primarily concerned about acci-
nearly wiped out by hunters and trappers in the early 1900s. dental trapping of domestic pets. “But personally, the wildlife
The species has recovered slowly, and breeding populations concern is the most important,” he says.
in the United States currently exist in the North Cascades of
Washington and the Northern Rockies of Montana, Idaho,
Wyoming, and Oregon. They live in rough country partly
because females require around five feet of snowpack for birth-
ing dens. In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided
not to list wolverine as a threatened or endangered species
despite the rarity of the animal. Montana wildlife managers,
however, opted to close the state’s trapping season that year and
it has remained closed since then.
Macpherson has trapped and killed five wolverines in his
lifetime, including three in Montana, but supports the state’s
decision. “I think the limitation now is good,” he says. “I iden-
tify with protection of ’em.” The best trappers are “custodians
of habitat,” he concludes, with a vested interest in the viability
of species at both ends of the food chain.
Besides, Macpherson says, citing concerns about access to
public lands and the subdivision of ranchlands in the Bitterroot
Valley, “We have so many bigger problems than trapping on
public lands.”

O
thers equally ardent about the great outdoors In addition to the lack of a mandatory trap check period,
feel differently, and their argument—that Justice points out that the state of Montana has no harvest
trapping is cruel and can be a threat to key quota for several species, such as beaver, marten and mink.
species—has now resonated with enough Other animals, like badger, red fox and coyotes, are considered
Montanans to secure placement of their agenda “non-game” species and may be killed year round.
squarely in front of more than 670,000 registered voters But what really keeps Justice up at night is the possibil-
statewide. ity that sensitive species could be unintentionally or illegally
Chris Justice took a 25 percent pay cut from his job at trapped at unsustainable rates.
KGBA Radio at the University of Montana to become execu- The question is a difficult one to answer definitively
tive director of Footloose Montana in June of 2014, after the because it’s impossible to know how many trappers report inci-
second attempt to qualify for a ballot initiative failed. Footloose dental take as required by law. But the Department of Fish,
Montana serves as the umbrella organization for the anti-trap- Wildlife and Parks does keep a record of the reports they do
ping community and has supported Montanans for Trap-Free receive, and the numbers vary greatly between species. During
Public Lands, which is the ballot-issue committee leading the 2014 and 2015, three wolverines and one fisher were killed and
campaign to pass I-177. reported. Over the same time period, 31 mountain lions were
A fifth-generation Montanan and the offspring of Cascade killed and reported, while 44 domestic dogs were accidentally
County ranchers, Justice enjoys hunting and fishing but says trapped, two of which were killed.
trapping is different. He argues that state wildlife managers are “We’re sensitive to [unintentional trapping] and we’re aware
only loosely regulating the activity of trappers who “prioritize a of that,” explains department spokesman, Ron Aasheim. But,

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 13
Bob Sheppard pulls
a trap holding a
muskrat from a
small creek outside
Helmville.

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he says, “We have no evidence that incidental take is impacting sensitive or
threatened species.”
To the contrary, Aasheim believes that recreational trapping and hunting are
important management tools for department staff who need to monitor popula-
tion trends and locations of certain species. Trapping also helps the department
control certain animals, and Aasheim points to wolves as an example. “Last year,
73 of 210 wolves taken were taken by trappers,” he says. He contends that check-
ing the population growth of wolves, and thereby minimizing livestock-preda-
tor conflicts, is critical to their long-term viability. “We think we’re achieving a
better balance. We have fewer reports of depredation and fewer complaints from
hunters.” LOOK FOR THE HORSE ON THE ROOF!
Chris Justice has heard this argument before and, when it comes up, he likes
to remind listeners, “We’re not trying to ban trapping.” I-177 would only ban Bozeman’s Premier
recreational trapping on public lands while allowing all trapping on private lands,
as well as all government trapping, to continue. Boutique &
“That’s not a radical opinion to me,” he says. Tack Store

B
Where Equine Gear Meets Fashion
ob Sheppard laughs to himself as lazy waters glide by at thigh
depth, making the observation that tall waders only lead you into l 10 Minutes West of Bozeman on the
Way to Big Sky
deeper water. He is busy retrieving a dead muskrat from a smaller
Conibear trap at a stream bank draped with straw-colored grass.
l Full-Service Boutique & Tack Store for
After setting two new beaver traps on Douglas Creek that morning, Cowboys, Cowgirls & Equestrians
he drove across the valley to a conservation property, where owners had restored
native foliage along a stretch of Nevada Creek. Muskrat burrows can cause stream LET US OUTFIT
bank destabilization, Bob explains, and the owners were keen to protect their YOU FOR FALL
investment.
It’s early afternoon, and dark clouds gather forces a few miles northwest. The l Dubarry of Ireland l Goode Rider
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energy charge seems to transfer to Sheppard, who shows no sign of fatigue.
l Barn Fly Trading l Boulet Boots
“You’re making a commitment if you put a trap out there,” he says, while l Miller Ranch l Kerrits
pacing toward a distant stake at the edge of the creek, marking the next trap in his l Johnny Was l MT-Made Gifts
line. He stops to gather his thoughts, palms open to the first spits of rain. “It don’t l Ryan Michael l Ariat
matter what the weather is, you gotta get out there.” l Horsewear Ireland l Serratelli Hats
Bob spends several weekends of the year teaching workshops for novice trap-
English, Western & Out on the Town
pers, and his folksy flare is catching. He understands the arguments of anti-
trappers and is sensitive to accusations of unethical activity but tends to offer a
broader view of the debate when pressed on the nuances of any one argument.
“Nature is crueler than we are,” he says.
When asked whether he could accept a ban on public land recreational trap-
ping, on the grounds that most of his work is done on private land, he admits that
“[A ban] would make very little direct impact on me.” But, he adds, “It would
impact a lot of other people.”
Then, he offers another philosophical response. “We push strongly in our trap-
ping education that we’re sharing the woods with other people,” he says. “But the
animal rights people are not sharing. They’re trying to force me to follow what
they believe.”
A cold wind hurls rain sharply against him as he begins to march toward his FOUR CORNERS SADDLERY
pickup truck, a dead muskrat dripping water from his right hand. & BOUTIQUE
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MON.-SAT. 10 TO 6; SUN. 11 TO 4

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 15
STILL PUMPING

Fairview, on the Montana-North Dakota border, remains a crossroads for oil field traffic even as production has slowed. At
right, Sidney’s blue water tower stands over a growing city that has seen its budget strained by increased service demands.

Bloodlines and water still flow in Montana’s battered oil patch
BY ADAM BOEHLER muddy river. But soon it makes sense. To them this
probably looked like home.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALLEN RUSSELL
Everything is air and ground. Angus cattle

T
fatten on the kaleidoscopic greens blanketing
he openness of eastern Montana is the hillsides. Popcorn clouds sail across a blue
mesmerizing. If you’ve never been, or if sky that seems to bulge outward somehow, and
it’s been a while, driving through those the fragrance on the wind reminds you of your
verdant plains in early spring feels childhood.
like traveling through a foreign land. You can lose yourself in a place like this. With
Interior Norway, maybe, or the Russian steppe. roads so straight and empty the mind begins to
It’s only a matter of time before you start think- wander. Maybe you’re in no country at all. Maybe,
ing about the immigrants who settled here. You after a hundred miles or so, the highway seems
realize many of them came from those areas, that more like a floating bridge and the emerald fields
they crossed an ocean and most of a continent, only rolling out in all directions are actually waves.
to settle on a patch of grass near the banks of a Maybe you even feel the subtle pull of unseen

16
M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 17
An oil pump, still active
after the development tides, as if the collective memories of ocean-crossing emigrants
bust, churns away west of are now trapped in the land.
Cartwright, North Dakota, Then, a few hours down the road, as dusk settles, you crest
near the border with
Montana.
a hill to find a half-dozen pumpjacks bobbing black against
the purple horizon. Vertical metronomes set to the tempo of
the petrodollar. Suddenly you’re washed ashore. You remem-
ber where you are—closing in on the lights of Sidney, seat of
Richland County. The pumping heart of Montana’s oil patch.
There certainly are tides at work out here in this windswept
sea of grass. But it’s not the moon that moves them. It’s the one
entity on earth that might have equal pull: the global oil market.
The sheer scope of it makes it a difficult concept to grasp.
But the people of eastern Montana live with it every day. They
see it in their paychecks and in their police blotters. They
recognize it in spanking new apartment buildings and shuttered
downtown businesses. They feel it in last year’s pickup truck
and this year’s loan payments. The busy bars and busted streets.
They’ve known this cycle for generations.
I’ve heard these stories so many times before. My father
and his siblings were raised in the Sidney area, descendants of
German immigrants. Most of them left around the time the first
boom came in the 1970s, but they still tell of friends and neigh-
bors who made a killing during that initial swell of oil money.
They also remember that many of those people could barely
make a living when it was gone. Some of my family is still out
there. And they’re seeing it happen all over again.
Because if you’ve paid attention to the media regarding the
Bakken oil fields over the past year, what you’ve been hearing is
a death knell. Ashes to ashes, the headlines read. Boom to bust.
In reality, though, this one’s not dead. It’s just dormant.

T
here’s still oil locked beneath this prairie.
However, despite all the numbers flying around,
just how much is left and how long it will last is
hard to determine.
Back in 2008 the U.S. Geological Survey esti-
mated there to be 3.6 billion recoverable barrels in the Bakken,
enough to fuel every car in America for a full year. Continental
Resources, one of the largest oil companies operating there,
says it’s closer to 30 billion barrels. After 10 years of drilling,
just over a billion barrels have been pumped out. So regardless
of which estimate is closer, there’s still a lot of oil down there.
When it comes to estimates, though, Jim Halvorson plays it
closer to the vest. He’s an administrator and petroleum geologist
with the Montana Board of Oil and Gas (MBOG), a regulatory
body that oversees oil and gas extraction statewide. I asked him
how many years of oil production are left in the Bakken.
“We don’t estimate reserves,” he said, because “the
number of years, like reserves, can be oil-price dependent.

18
“Our way of life did change in Sidney. And I think people got wise
to it right away. And we’re a community that sticks together.”

In other words, out here on this sea of grass and crude, the benefits,” city jobs were hard to fill because people could
price of oil pushes and pulls like the moon. almost always make more in the oil fields, where there were
Consider these numbers. enough jobs that Sidney’s population doubled from around
Between May 2011 and November 2014, the price for a 5,000 to 10,000 in just five years. Housing and commercial
barrel of oil vacillated between $75 and $113. These were developments sprouted in and around the city, demanding more
high times on the Bakken, when roughnecks and truck driv- services. For the new mayor it was a tough pace to keep.
ers, engineers and accountants worked around the clock to the Then oil prices tanked. New drilling stopped. Those
tempo of those pumpjacks bringing money out of the earth. Even construction projects halted. People left. The state quit sending
McDonald’s offered competitive wages. as much oil money, but the city’s costs remained the same.
Rigs were erected and crews poured in to man them. They So now Norby and the city commission are facing a whole
perforated the prairie and laid the necessary infrastructure. new set of problems, a rise in domestic violence just one among
Tens of millions of dollars were shoved into the ground daily them. “We’ve walked into a lot of landmines,” Norby told me
and those oil prices made the investment worthwhile. Dollars when I sat down with him and City Clerk Jessica Redfield at his
poured in. office. “We’re starting to read where they’re at though, now.”
But as 2015 came around, oil prices fell with the winter The city budget is the biggest challenge. When the oil reve-
snow. By late January of that year a barrel of oil clunked in at nue evaporated, Sidney was forced to eliminate $300,000 from
$44. By June the price had rebounded to a more robust $60, its budget. Bonuses disappeared. Belts tightened citywide. Even
but it was a short-lived rise. This past February a single barrel so, the city still faces a $700,000 shortfall.
fetched just $26. Officials have taken their case to Helena on a number of
What was a boon for millions of Americans at the gas pump occasions, hoping for more money. But this state is big and has
spelled tough times for many of the thousands of honest, hard- many other problems competing for those dollars. This isn’t lost
working people who’d set out to build new lives in the Bakken. on Norby.
According to Halvorson, since early 2015 not a single new well “I don’t have a problem with helping infrastructure across
has been sunk in Montana. And when drilling stops, production the whole state of Montana,” he said. “It’d be selfish of us to
falls. So jobs have disappeared across the patch. whine when there’s more problems out there.”
While prices have risen since the winter, it’s not enough to Until something changes, Norby and his administration are
persuade the apparatus to churn back into motion. So now it’s a seeking other solutions. Right now that means the unpopular
kind of slackwater time in eastern Montana. The city of Sidney decision to raise rates on everyday city services like trash, sewer
and the people of Richland County are left with their oars in and water. And though towns in eastern Montana have tradition-
their hands, as it were, waiting for the tide to rise again. Most of ally enjoyed comparatively low utility rates, it doesn’t make this
them anyway. an easy sell. But Norby is convinced that the community as a
whole understands the circumstances.

S
“Our way of life did change in Sidney,” he said of life during
idney Mayor Rick Norby is one of those people. the boom. “And I think people got wise to it right away. And
When he took office in 2014 the Bakken was we’re a community that sticks together.”
still booming. But most of the tax money the oil Norby attributes much of that cohesion to the fact that the
generated just flowed past Sidney and straight city of Sidney and Richland County are agriculturally based.
into the state of Montana’s coffers. Then, through “We’re always going to be an ag community,” the mayor said.
the MBOG, the state allocated lump sums to impacted towns. In “When the oil boom was in here in the late 70s, early 80s, a lot
Sidney this translated into 10 percent of the city budget. of people forgot about the ag until that [boom] was gone. And I
City workers got bonuses. City services operated with a know in … Richland County as a whole they’ve strived to keep
surplus. The police and fire departments were able to replace agriculture up. That is our backbone.”
old equipment. But while the Sunrise City was flush with cash, He’s well positioned to understand this struggle.
it wasn’t without its problems. Norby grew up raising sugar beets, wheat and corn on the
Despite the higher pay and what Norby calls “lifestyle family farm outside of Sidney. When he graduated high school

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 19
in 1981 the last oil boom was at its peak, but he continued to
farm for nearly 20 years after it went bust. In that time, and for
so many others so many times before, it was what came out of
the dirt, not what was beneath it, that saw him through.
“You can do what you want with the oil,” he said. “But with-
out [agriculture] you’re not going to have these little communi-
ties to get it out. It’s still going to be in the ground, yeah. But
without [agriculture] you have nothing to equalize everything
that’s going on around you. Can you imagine living in an area
where the only industry you have around you is oil?”
Dusty thoughts arose. I didn’t respond.
“It’d be a wasteland out here,” he said, cocking his ball cap
back on his head. “That’s just my two bits on it.”
Moving forward, though, Norby knows that a balance
between oil and ag must be struck. That’s why he’ll run for
a second term. He and his administration, and the people
of Sidney, are doing what they can to make the necessary
adjustments.
“I’d just like to see us as a city be able to meet the needs that
are there, to expand and to grow, and take care of the people
that are here,” he said. “And to do so at a healthy rate.”
And he’s not alone in a search for balance. The business
owners, the farmers, the citizens of Richland County—they
have to find stability here, too. “The reason we
bought the place was

T
to get a little removed
en miles up the road from Sidney is the small
border town of Fairview. It’s where my father grew from activity. Some
up, because his father published the Fairview isolation, you know.”
News. He and my aunts and uncles still tell the
same stories of hot days at the city pool, lazy week-
ends with the family along the nearby Yellowstone River, and
Above, Kevin and Karen Boehler take an
wild nights down by the old railroad bridge at Sundheim Park. evening walk with their dog Zac on their farm
These are the things I think about when I hear the words “east- along the Yellowstone River, east of Fairview.
ern Montana.” During the Bakken boom, the couple fought
mightily against oil companies that wanted to
At first glance this little burg doesn’t look like much. The exercise mineral rights on their land. So far, no
big water tower stands over the main drag, which is lined for a drilling has been done.
few blocks by old brick-and-mortar businesses. Spreading out on
At right, Jeff Ketterling stands outside his
either side is one big quiet neighborhood, really. The lawns are
Discount Tobacco & Food Store in Fairview.
well-manicured, lined with lilacs. And at the edges of town the He also has an RV court behind the business.
houses stop abruptly, as if in deference to the swaying prairie. Both ventures are seeing a slowdown. “Damn
But from here, Williston, North Dakota—the true heart of near everyone who walks through my door is
paying in change,” Ketterling says.
the Bakken—is just a short drive up the road. So while there
might not be much heavy oil activity in Fairview, a large portion
of the workings going into or out of Williston has to go through concerns Jeff Ketterling. Because traffic means people. And
Fairview first. people mean he stays in business.
And the impact is evident. Seven years of almost constant I found his discount tobacco shop on the east side of town
truck traffic has pounded the four lanes running through town. and bought the cheapest pack of American Spirits I’d seen in a
They look and feel corrugated. while. I asked him how business was.
For the past year, though, that traffic has subsided. That “Damn near everyone who walks through my door is paying

20
Without it, he’s down to one occupied space. And, he says,
that’s probably only because he came down to $550.
“Even if I’d [come down in price] sooner it wouldn’t have
mattered,” he said. “Everybody just up and left.”
Pat Knaff sees it differently.
“Almost everybody that was here before the boom is still
here now,” he said. “And they’re the main reason I’m still
here, too.”
Pat Knaff is my uncle. He owns and operates a bar here
called Water Hole #3. I hadn’t been there since before the boom
hit but word had traveled that his place had become the quintes-
sential oil-patch bar—a loud and often rowdy joint full of neon
signs and roughnecks with money to burn. According to Pat,
though, this was never his plan.
A Fairview native, Pat had moved back after living in the
Bozeman area. He bought the place with his brother in 2000 in
the hopes of a quiet life back home and maybe someday having
enough to retire on.
“We figured we needed to make $500 dollars a day to make
it,” he said.
And for the first few years Pat and three other employees
scratched it out.
Then the boom came. From 2007 to 2011, that $500 a day
turned into $1,000. Two tattered pool tables turned into 14 new
ones, with league play every week. He bought the space next
door and turned it into a casino, which, because North Dakota
doesn’t allow video gambling, became the first stop for so many
of the workers coming off the patch. And that, he said, is when
the money really started coming in.
For almost 10 years Water Hole #3 enjoyed 30 percent
increases in business. “We never could have planned it that
way,” he told me one morning in his office. “We were in the
right place at the right time.”
But like so many other folks around here, he’d seen this
before. And he knew it wasn’t forever. So he invested in the
community that invested in him.
He opened the adjoining dance hall, at first only for live
music on the weekends, for weddings, birthdays, whatever.
All free of charge. In the basement below that space is an old
boxing ring, which he opens to anybody who wants a workout:
usually grade-schoolers and teenagers looking for something
to do after school. On Wednesdays he puts out free food—
usually homemade soup and sandwiches. And if you look like
you need it, he’ll buy you a cold beer. You don’t even have to
in change,” he told me. “Last year they were coming in with be his nephew.
$100 dollar bills.” Has he felt a hit this past year? Yes. That 30 percent bump
It’s the same with the RV court behind his shop. At the in business has snapped back. The biggest hit, he says, came in
peak of the boom all nine of his spaces were rented year round. gambling. According to the Montana Department of Revenue,
And at $675 per space per month it’s no wonder he was cheer- poker machine income in Richland County dropped 20 percent
ing for oil. between the springs of ’15 and ’16. Compare that to a 14 percent

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 21
rise in Park County in the same period and you get a glimpse
of the economic impact oil workers have.
Pat is a local, though. He can read the tides.
“The oil field is going to come back,” he said. “It’s too
rich. There’s too much oil here.” He leaned forward on
his desk and continued in his raspy voice. “But the local
people, they’re ag-based. They’re from sturdy Norwegian and
German stock. [The extra oil money is] not something they
can’t live without. They’ll carry on the way they always have.
They’ll keep having their community barbecues. They’ll keep
supporting each other.”

T
he following afternoon I found myself back at
the Water Hole. While having a beer and orga-
nizing notes I looked up to see my Norwegian
aunt Karen and German uncle Kevin walk in.
They’ve both been in the area all their lives and
it seemed like they stopped and talked to every person in the
bar before they sat down next to me.
They own and operate Elk River Printing in Sidney—
call it the family business. But they live on a farm along the
Yellowstone east of Fairview. They sold their house in Sidney
during the boom and were able to snap up the farm for their
retirement. It’s on a peninsula jutting into the Yellowstone
River, really. Their eastern property line is the North Dakota
border. It’s a dream spot.
I’d already agreed to have dinner out there and spend the
night, but Pat brought us another round and we talked about
running a printing business during an oil boom.
“There were so many new businesses that sprang up,”
Karen told me. “People were at our door day and night. It
was just so overwhelming. We appreciated the work, obvi-
ously. But if you can’t run your place right you’re not going to
make a lot of money off it anyway. You’re just going to work
all the time.”
In other words, when you buy a place for retirement but
still spend the majority of your days in an office, something

Friendlier Fires
has to give. And as they explained, they were glad it was the
price of oil.
For over 20 years WarmStone Fireplaces and Designs has been hand- “It’s better now than right after the boom,” Karen contin-
crafting some of the finest fireplaces in the world. Using only the highest ued, stirring her gin and tonic. “But one good thing about the
quality Finnish soapstone from Tulikivi, each fireplace is built on site by
boom is we did pick up some good customers. That’s what’s
trained craftsmen to perfectly harness the power of fire. Experience the
warmth, appreciate the value! keeping us running now, through the bust.”
So they’re happier now. For the first time in years they
can take real time for themselves. They get more time in
their riverfront cottonwoods. They’re planning a guesthouse
on the farm where their children and grandchildren can stay.
Later that evening after dinner we drove to the river in
WarmStone Fireplaces and Designs their off-road vehicle, their dog Zac trotting beside us. Along
406-333-4383 • www.warmstone.com
116 N. B Street, Livingston, Montana

22
the way Kevin explained to me that while they owned the
ground, someone else owned the mineral rights beneath it,
and that the mineral owners had given permission to Whiting
Oil to drill. He pointed out into the beet fields to the spots
where the drill pads would have gone. The oilmen wanted
to drill from their field, horizontally, under the Yellowstone
River. Then he told me about the day a truckload of Whiting
a fun ❆ little
representatives showed up.
“We realized there was nothing we could do legally to
Outdoor ❀ store
stop them,” Kevin said. “But we were going to make it as
hard as could be for them. We had to try and persuade them in ✴ downtown
by telling them about the recent floods. But they told us
they’d looked into it and they’re only hundred-year floods.” livingston.
He tried to explain to these men that in the 40 years
he’s lived along the Yellowstone he’s seen approximately six
100-year floods. But the math didn’t translate. The drillers
thought it was a bargaining tactic. So the company offered
them $20,000 for each of the four holes they wanted to drill.
They knew they didn’t have much leverage but they’d
agreed that if they lost the battle they’d sell the whole place
rather than wake up every morning to the sound of a grind-
ing rig 100 yards from their front door.
“The reason we bought the place was to get a little
removed from activity,” Kevin said, waving a hand over the 309 W. Park St. Livingston, Montana • 222-9550
river. “Some isolation, you know. And they were just going to
destroy every reason why we moved out here.”
In the end no drilling occurred. The following spring
the Yellowstone flooded, as it will, and washed away
enough riverbank to make the oilmen reconsider. So for (323) 813-6689
now their solitude is intact. And they’re glad. Because www.knovia.com
after a life of hard work out here they’re pretty sure they’ve
earned it.

Psychotherapy for Women

W
e walked through the high grass along
Sarah Michael Novia,
the river awhile before heading back for M.S., Ed.S., LCPC, DCC,
the night. Kevin and Karen pointed out helps women ages 20 to 40
the changes wrought by the recent high manage and overcome anxiety,
water, while the bald eagles that nest depression, trauma and grief
with present-centered/
in their cottonwoods flew graceful arcs through the canopy future-forward psychotherapy
overhead. for optimal self-care.
I stopped at the edge of a cut bank to watch the sun set
and remembered that the sun sinks deeper out here. With She can also be seen treating
celebrities and discussing
not much topography to obscure the horizon, everything is pop culture psychological
air and ground. In the right light it looks like an ocean. issues on CNN, CBS, VH1
But we’re people of the land in Montana. Our sea is made and E! and heard on many
radio shows and podcasts.
of grass and dirt. From bison to sugar beets, that ground,
cut by rivers, has always provided. Like it or not, though, as Sarah is available remotely
long as there’s oil beneath it, someone will plumb the depths, by phone or video conference.
when the price is right. Even on solid grounds, the tides shift. Licensed in Montana,
California and Connecticut.

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 23
THE MONSTER
IN OUR MIDST
Overdose, undone lives, rampant crime, and the
pharmaceutical juggernaut at the heart of it all

THERESA SMITH, 54
“I love my son,” Smith says with a sigh. “I want things—alcohol, pot, the kinds of things we all
to be with him and enjoy his company, but I experiment with when we’re young.
may not have that luxury.” “I knew some of it was going on. I chalked
Smith’s son, now in his 20s, is undergoing it up to teenage risk-taking. We talked about it,
his fourth stint in a rehab facility, this time in the dangers and temptations and consequences.
Colorado. The program lasts an entire year, is He was still a good student, an athlete, fun to
based on the 12-step approach, and focuses on be around.
developing outside passions, exercise, activi- “Drugs were so very available at Bozeman
ties, in the hope that some spark will catch High School. His group of friends all experi-
hold, that something will trigger the personality mented with them. Many of them have also
shift essential to transform his relationship with ended up in some sort of treatment. I didn’t
drugs. It is, according to Smith, the last thing know what to look for, or that he had progressed
she can do for him. to opioids. It kind of snowballed. By the time I
“As a parent of an addict,” Smith says, “you realized he was in trouble, it was too late.”
have to face the reality that there are only a few Her son got kicked off his sports team. “I’m
ways this can go. You can get sober. You can go not blaming the school but why couldn’t they
to jail. You can die. That’s pretty much it.” make him do push-ups or something?” she
Smith has had years to analyze the cause asks. “Why take away one of the things that
and progression of her son’s addiction. “Maybe could help him escape his addiction? All we
the simplest way to put it is that as a teen- know how to do is punish people. We need to
ager, he was not comfortable in his skin,” she hold them up, be honest about what is happen-
says. “At the end of middle school, and on into ing, give them some wholesome options.”
high school, he started experimenting with Smith pauses, looks into the distance. Her

BY AL AN KESSELHEIM

PHOTOGRAPHY BY THOMAS LEE

24
Opioids, routinely prescribed as
painkillers, can also reduce anxiety and
produce a feeling of euphoria. In 2014,
more than 28,000 Americans died from
opioid overdose.

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 25
"
i'm dumbfounded by the doctors and drug companies that keep pumping
these drugs out there when they are so clearly bad for us."
Her son graduated, went to college in California, but lapsed
into using, got caught stealing, briefly went to jail. The first time
Smith sent her son to rehab she thought, “OK, we can fix this.
They know what they’re doing.” It cost $50,000 for a month of
rehab. He relapsed and was kicked out of the program.
The second time they enrolled him in a Utah program that
relied heavily on what’s become known as “medical manage-
ment.” In this case it involved using another drug, Suboxone,
and counseling to ease withdrawal and start down the path to
sobriety.
Smith is skeptical. “We always want a pill for the prob-
lem,” she says. “But it’s just another opioid, another thing you
get addicted to. It is a really short-sighted strategy. It’s more of
what got us here.” And, in her son’s case, it didn’t work.
Smith is convinced that achieving sobriety is a spiritual
process. Not religious, necessarily, but a personal shift that
allows for transformation. It might be an epiphany, or it could
happen incrementally. In some cases, it might even be the
gradual process of developmental maturity.
“Drug use is really selfish,” she says. “Getting out of it has
to involve embracing something bigger than yourself. Nature,
religion, art, relationships, something.”
“I’ve watched my son go through withdrawal so many
times,” she says. “It isn’t pretty. The sweats, the agitation, not
eyes glisten with emotion. Outside, evening is coming on. Over being able to sleep for days, pain, the feeling that you are going
the past decade, her life has gone places she could never have to die.”
imagined. “I never, ever thought I would be where I am now,” she says.
“It’s just so insane,” she says, her face contorting. “You “It is a really lonely place. You just get hammered.”
can’t even get to that space, to get what addiction is all about. Between stints of rehab, her son has held down jobs, gone to
It’s like a monster has taken over your child. They lie, they school, seems to improve, but then some event triggers another
steal, they manipulate. All the time I know he’s in there, relapse. He becomes homeless, steals to support his habit, lives
behind all that. He’s in there.” on the street, truly bottoms out.
For Smith, there was denial, rationalization, there were nego- “I do still have hope,” Smith says. “People do recover from
tiations with her husband who wasn’t on the same page. There this. It happens all the time. But this is our fourth round....”
was, eventually, divorce. Parents of addicts deal with crushing “There is a point you reach, and that I have reached,” she
guilt, relentless self-examination, the unspoken judgment of says, “where you have to surrender. It’s all you can do. I’ve
acquaintances. You were too lenient, too strict. You didn’t draw fought this really hard, maybe I’ve even saved his life, but I
lines. You weren’t paying attention. You gave too much. can’t fight anymore.”
“The need to escape, that’s a human condition,” she says.
“The need to check out periodically—but now there are these
incredibly powerful drugs available. It’s not like going out with “The ‘War on Drugs’ is a really unfortunate phrase,” says Joe
your buddies and drinking malt liquor.” Kirkland, an agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration

Above, Theresa Smith reflects on the ordeal of her son’s opioid addiction. “I never, ever thought I would be where I am now,” she says. At right, agent Joe
Kirkland stands in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Billings office. He’s critical of doctors who continue to prescribe the drugs.

26
M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 27
in Billings. “For one thing, you will never arrest your way out
of this problem. It is not a war you can win. It would be more
accurate to call it a war on money. If there is an opportu-
nity to make profits, people will find a way, and that is what’s
happening.”
“If people knew the truth of this problem, they’d be
shocked,” continues Kirkland. “I’m dumbfounded by the
doctors and drug companies that keep pumping these drugs out
there when they are so clearly bad for us.”
When you view drug abuse through that lens, the medical
bureaucracy and the criminal rings profiting from it, things fall
into different perspective. Then, it is less about depraved, self-
ish addicts and more about societal and market forces in play.
Opioids are drugs derived from opium, some synthetic,
others natural—think morphine, heroin, and the more current In 2010
slew of Hydrocodone, OxyContin, Fentanyl. Nearly all of the
drugs we think of as painkilling or narcotic, including the more than
drugs used to wean people from addiction (Methadone and
Suboxone) fall into this category. They are drugs that bind to 12 million
opioid receptors in the nervous system to blunt pain, reduce
anxiety, and produce a measure of euphoria. Americans
In 2010 more than 12 million Americans reported using
prescription pain medicines for non-medical purposes, and that
reported
number has kept rising; 80 percent of the world’s legal opioid
use takes place in the United States, where drug overdose is
using
the leading cause of accidental death. In 2014 alone, more than
28,000 deaths were attributed to opioid overdose, and that esti-
prescription
mate is certainly low. pain
Medical and pharmaceutical interests are partly to blame:
some would say largely to blame for the current epidemic of medicines for
use and addiction. In the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies
began touting drugs such as Hydrocodone and OxyContin for non-medical
pain relief. At the same time, using a now-debunked 1988
clinical study, they downplayed the addictive risks. In 2007, purposes.
drug giant Purdue Pharma paid a $600 million settlement
after pleading guilty to misrepresenting the addictive powers
of opioids. Most of the money went to government agencies
and some went to patients. But by then, the damage had Partners. “There was some merit to the claim that we had been
been done. under-treating the pain of terminal cancer patients, for exam-
For more than a decade before that, the medical establish- ple. We were urged to make up for that, and it’s natural for a
ment and drug companies had been busily marketing the use doctor to want to relieve the suffering of patients.”
of opioids for the treatment of pain, while misrepresenting the "
addictive dangers. Part of that campaign involved a vigorous
lobbying effort to include pain as one of the vital signs medical
professionals routinely “measure” and treat, hence the ubiqui-
RICK," 63
tous 1 to 10 pain scale charts in medical offices. Doctors were
counseled that they had been undertreating patient pain and “I was born with two club feet,” he says. “I lived with it,
needed to correct that practice. dealt with it, until I was in my 40s. I was a furniture maker
“We bought that marketing message hook, line and sinker,” and contractor, always standing, moving around. I had to do
admits Dr. Mark Schulein of Livingston Community Health something.”

28
Rick endured major surgery, fusing treatment of last resort, he also acknowledges the efficacy of the
bones, reattaching tendons, followed by drugs. “I have them for when I really need them,” he says.
six months of recovery and rehab. One of “Mostly I medicate with alcohol,” he goes on. “It’s legal, it’s
the bone fuses didn’t take, and he walked cheap, and I can manage the dose. I have strict rules when it
on a broken bone for months, thinking it comes to drinking. Unless it’s some sort of special day, I can’t
was part of the normal recovery pain. drink before 6, and I stop when we finish dinner. I usually go
“I was prescribed opioids, used them horizontal around 4 in the afternoon, take a nap, then have a
sporadically. Eventually I started a couple of drinks to get me through the night.”
Methadone program,” Rick remembers. His injuries and tribulations with drug treatments have
“Basically I signed on to be an addict. I forced him to retire. Fortunately his wife has a good job and
was not happy about that, but it was the they built a house when he was still able to work, but Rick is,
only way I could deal with the pain. I for all purposes, housebound.
was walking on bleeding feet. On a really “I can walk about 3 miles now,” he says. “but I’m on the
good day, on drugs, I could make maybe couch all the next day.”
a quarter-mile.
“The problem was that every month or
so I had to up the dose to keep the pain In recent years, pain became one of the vital signs every
at bay. That’s the problem, there’s no doctor measured with each patient. Putting pain on the medi-
ceiling on the dosage, and it just makes cal radar, and treating that pain with opioids, became standard
you number and number, until you really practice adopted by entities like the Veterans Administration
aren’t in the world. To tell the truth, I and the Joint Commission, a national organization that accred-
was very near to ending my own life, its health care organizations. Pharmaceutical companies made
both over the unending pain and over the billions on opioid pills and continued to publicly deny the prob-
escalating effects of the drugs.” lems with addiction and abuse. In 2010, Purdue made $3.1
“I finally went to another doc,” Rick billion on OxyContin alone. In fact, it wasn’t until 2016 that the
says. “He told me he could fix my foot, Joint Commission addressed misconceptions regarding pain
but that I had to get off the Methadone.” control and the use of opioids.
He pauses, remembering, “I’m not In the interim, abuse and overdose and addiction
an addictive personality,” he says, “but burgeoned, as did the criminal underworld feeding on the
the withdrawal from Methadone was out opioid trade. According to the Montana Department of Justice,
of this world. It was bugs crawling on my opioid overdoses in the state killed at least 369 people and sent
skin, night sweats, huge anxiety. I went 7,200 to emergency room between 2011 and 2013.
three months without a good night’s sleep. Too late, the medical and pharmaceutical powers began
If I got four hours of sleep in a week, I to admit the ripple effects of their products and dial back the
was doing well. Knowing what I know marketing push. Doctors like Schulein were by then deal-
now, I never would have signed up for that ing with patients with opioid dependence or outright addic-
program.” tion. Prescriptions became harder to get. Montana established a
Then Rick had ankle replacement surgery, which helped Medical Drug Registry, by which doctors and pharmacists can
but didn’t eliminate the pain. He tried other pain management track patient prescription records. But as opioid pills grew harder
techniques—acupuncture, meditation, even Native American to obtain, they gained street value, and addicts turned to less
ceremony. He went back on opioids when the pain was intoler- expensive heroin and other substances to assuage their cravings.
able. “I really want to take the pain away,” he says. “But once “On the street, opioid pills in Billings go for roughly $1
that happens, I’m good. I don’t need more pills.” a milligram, or $50 to $60 a pill, depending on the dose,”
“Without drugs, or 50 years ago, I’d be in a wheelchair,” he reports the DEA’s Kirkland. “There are people making house
says. “There are different kinds and levels of pain. The dull, payments selling pills, and now heroin is coming on as the
throbbing, constant pain is what opioids are good for. They numb drug of choice because it’s relatively cheap. And this isn’t some
you. But then there’s what I call ‘electric pain’. Opioids don’t do shady underworld of users. It is doctors, plumbers, soccer
much for that. Nothing does.” moms, honor students.”
Rick admits to hoarding a stash of opioid pills. While he One problem is that you can’t really measure pain, not the
understands the risks and is committed to keeping opioids his way you measure blood pressure or body temperature. One

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 29
person’s 4 on the scale is another’s 10. Someone wanting a through medicine cabinets in search of prescription drugs.
prescription refill can complain of excruciating pain in a doctor’s In most cases, addiction sneaks up on its victims. No one
office and there is no way to test it. Valid pain relief for the sets out to be an addict, but at some point the line from want to
terminally ill or in response to a short-term health crisis often need gets crossed. From that point on, users become more and
shades into long-term pain management or prescription abuse. more possessed by the drug and the craving it produces. In that
“We need to be very specific about our use of opioids for state, it doesn’t matter who you lie to, who you hurt, what crime
short-term pain relief or for patients where the benefits clearly you have to commit. The only thing that matters is the next fix.
outweigh the consequences,” says Dr. Schulein. “And we "
should develop other treatments for pain—things like stretch-
ing, acupuncture, massage, exercise, mindfulness.”
And how do you measure or pinpoint the cause of addic-
JEREMY," 29
tion or unravel the physical mechanism involved in addictive
behavior, any more than you can parse out the dimensions of “I don’t have much advice,” admits Jeremy. “What has helped
depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or suicidal tenden- me is counseling, going cold turkey, not getting sucked in to
cies? Beyond that, how do we think about addicts and deal in Methadone or Suboxone treatment, but that’s just me.”
a constructive way with them in our culture? To make things Jeremy started young. He was part of the music scene in
more inscrutable, when it comes to pain, evidence supports Billings, played in bands with older guys. By the age of 15 he
the conclusion that emotional pain and trauma light up the was using heroin, mixing it with pills. It was what everyone did.
same centers of the brain as acute physical pain, and that, as “There’s something romantic about that scene, that ‘I’m-a-
with PTSD or victims of emotional abuse, unseen factors, what rock-star’ feeling,” he says.
you might call people’s demons, are driving the compulsion to Predictably, he got addicted. He sold heroin to support
escape pain and anguish. his habit. “There is no stereotypical user,” he says. “I sold to
Culturally, the stigma of drug addiction is fraught with lawyers, school teachers, middle-aged women in nice homes.”
preconceived notions about users, that addicts are a depraved Again, predictably, he got caught. At age 20 he served
class of criminal. But there is a growing consensus that addiction a year in prison for selling. When he came out he took up
in general, and particularly when it comes to opioids and their fighting in bar-sponsored tournaments. He got hurt. Doctors
ilk, is a brain disease, or at the very least, a learning disability. prescribed him opioids for the pain. His addiction deepened.
Simply put, opioid drugs trigger an exceptional surge of “I was popping eight pills at a time,” he admits. He went for
dopamine from the pleasure centers of the brain. That spring- refills early, got prescriptions from other docs, changed his
boards users into a state of euphoria where pain and suffering birthdate to avoid detection by drug regulators, all the ploys
vanish and a kind of numb bliss takes over. It isn’t uncommon that have become so commonplace.
for reformed addicts to bemoan the loss of years of their lives to He has done some rehab, but calls the rehab situation in
the numbing effects of opioid addiction. America archaic. “Every day in rehab someone else would talk
At the same time, messages from the prefrontal cortex of the about their relapse. And Methadone or Suboxone doesn’t work,”
brain overwhelm normal reasoning and any perspective on prior- he says.
ities. This feedback loop is what prompts addicts into behavior He was married for a time to a woman who was also deep
that flies in the face of common sense, rational weighing of risks, into addiction. She is now in jail, serving time on several
or any contemplation of consequence. The only thing that matters burglary counts, and they are divorced. He has moved out of
is getting hold of the drug and regaining that state of bliss. Billings, where his troubles centered.
There is no stereotypical addict or criminal in this realm. “If I go back, that’s the trigger. If I go back, everyone I see
Some victims, and it could truly be anyone, go from pain is part of that scene. Drugs are everywhere. I’d relapse for
medication to addiction. Others escalate from recreational use sure,” he says.
to addict. Some are responding to what one counselor called “Drugs were my safe place. It’s like taking a vacation,” he
“shitty life syndrome.” goes on. “Pop a couple of pills and everything is just fine. No
There are grandmothers supporting themselves by sell- hassles, no problems.”
ing their prescription opioids; experimenting teenagers who He has married again, to a woman who has little tolerance
unwittingly cross the line into dependence; doctors and phar- for his drug habit, and he is devoted to his two young children.
macists pulled into the criminal underworld by the lure of He works at a restaurant job he likes, doesn’t associate with
easy money. In some parts of the country real estate agents drug users, but knows how tenuous it all is.
have curtailed open houses because people were rifling “I have an addictive personality,” he says. “I probably drink

30
too much. I will always have a bad back. When I come home “I was once a bright, multi-faceted, phenomenally talented,
from work I have a couple of drinks to relax and numb the pain. articulate, beautiful young woman with a promising future. ...
But then I relapsed just a month ago at a wedding we went to. I was married, owned a home, cared for my disabled parent,
My wife brought me out of it. She keeps me sane. held down a job, put myself through college—where I gradu-
“I have eight or 10 friends doing time in jail for drugs right ated with honors—and volunteered in the community. ... As my
now,” he says. “It’s gotten really crazy. This year already I’ve addiction progressed I found myself confined in a world wrought
had four friends die from overdose. It is everywhere on the with misery, sickness, and desperation. ... To addiction, I lost
street. That’s not my life anymore. the desire to live. I lost the essence of my very soul. And what’s
“Five years from now,” Jeremy says, “I’d like to have a degree worse is that I could not have cared less.”
from a mechanic school, have a good job, be somewhere with my Recovery from that hopeless state is a dicey, uncertain pros-
family. I’m 29 already. I need to move on.” pect. The odds are daunting. Some 90 percent of opioid addicts
relapse. Many users die young, or end up in prison. Others,
however, find their way to sobriety through counseling, through
In Montana, Kirkland’s conclusion that we can’t arrest our transformative experience, through enlightened rehabilitation
way out of this problem is being backed up with educational programs, and some, simply by getting older and progressing
programs, ad campaigns, art shows. Whether it’s too little, too past the disability that brought them low, much as a teenager
late, is a matter of debate, but it represents a more holistic, crosses a developmental threshold to a life of better decisions.
nuanced response to the problem than the one-dimensional, There is no certainty in any of this. There is, most certainly,
blunt hammer of punishment. heartbreak, tragedy, struggle, depravity, heroism, compassion,
“Bitter Pill,” for example, was an art show sponsored by triumph, and at some primal level, simply learning to cope.
Montana drug enforcement agencies featuring art and personal
testimony from those affected by prescription abuse. One Note: Some names and locations were changed to protect the
participant echoed a theme heard often in these circles: anonymity of interview subjects.

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M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 31
the TRAIL crew
As the federal government diverts money from its trails
budget, volunteers are increasingly taking up the slack

Corey Biggers of Montana
Mountain Bike Alliance cuts out
a fallen tree on the Continental
Divide Trail near Targhee Pass while
Dave Clevidence clears debris.

32
BY MARSHALL SWEARINGEN

PHOTOGRAPHY BY LOUISE JOHNS

T
he wind that rattled the tents all night is still howling down the canyon

as the crew heads out of camp. On a day off they might’ve slept in, waited
for the clouds to stop spitting rain. But miles of trail in “the Bob”—the 1.5
million-acre wilderness complex that includes the Bob Marshall, Great
Bear, and Scapegoat wildernesses—depend on them. Carrying Pulaskis, saws, and big
pruning loppers, they hop the North Fork of Dupuyer Creek and head up the drainage, the
limestone uplift of the Rocky Mountain Front towering overhead.

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 33
Trail crews, by the numbers
A sampling of Montana trail work in 2015:
Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation
35 projects
300 volunteers
130 miles of trail maintained
2,230 trees cleared

Montana Wilderness Association
18 projects
160 volunteers
40 miles of trail maintained
290 water drains cleaned

Back Country Horsemen of Montana
1,640 horses and mules used
3,900 miles of trail maintained
13,120 hours of trail work

Montana Conservation Corps
465 members (300 AmeriCorps members
and 165 youth volunteers)
740 miles of trail maintained
317,000 member/volunteer-hours of trail work

Bitterroot Backcountry Cyclists
110 miles of trail maintained
910 trees cleared
300 volunteer-hours of trail work

Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation
Meg Killen is a Montana 140 volunteers
Wilderness Association 160 miles of trail maintained
trail crew leader for the 2,660 trees cleared
Continental Divide Trail.
45 drains built

None of them works for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Where the trail forks, half the crew follows Scharfe and
traditional custodian of most Montana trails. Instead, they’re leapfrogs up the high route, cutting out a couple of downed
volunteers. From Kalispell, there’s a high school counselor lodgepole pines, pruning back branches and small trees,
and a guy retired from the Coast Guard; from Missoula, a digging out the path where scree has sloughed. Before long,
retired teacher and a couple of younger gals. In all, eight of we’re topping out on the pass, breathing hard.
them are out here for four days, on their own dime. Only food, There, Scharfe finds a couple of old Forest Service trail
tools, safety gear, and a crew leader are provided by the Bob signs in the dirt, their painted lettering and neat little arrows
Marshall Wilderness Foundation. barely legible, remnants of another era. “That was how it used
Don Scharfe may be the only one with any professional trail to be out here,” he says. “There were larger trail crews. The
crew credentials. Before he moved to Kalispell and started an government spent money maintaining these areas.”
outdoor gear shop, he worked for the Forest Service in Idaho, He’s clearly enjoying the views, the camaraderie, the sense
back in the ’70s. He still has a sure swing with a Pulaski, of doing necessary work. But like others who travel Montana’s
which comes in handy when we come to a big fir dropped on backcountry, he can’t help but be occasionally frustrated with
the trail. He chops arm-thick branches with the tool’s axe the condition of the trails. Erosion, overgrowth, and tree-
blade, and others help with a heaving log-roll. toppling aren’t letting up, but the Forest Service is losing

34
money and manpower for trail maintenance. And volunteers are
increasingly expected to take up the slack.
“We go in and do what the Forest Service should be doing,”
says Scharfe.
Sometimes, when the clouds are skimming the peaks and
the Pulaski is in your hands, that’s just the way it is.

A
sk a few old-timers and you’re likely to hear
versions of a similar tale: the Forest Service can’t
maintain trails like it used to. Budgets have had
their ups and downs, and some national forests
have had it better than others. But by and large,
the trail network—built or improved mostly in the first half
of the 20th century by the agency and by the Depression-era
Civilian Conservation Corps—is suffering from a decades-long
belt-tightening.
Take a statistic from the Bob Marshall Wilderness
Foundation’s creation story: in the mid-’90s, when a small group
in the Kalispell area raised a stink about deteriorating trails and
40 percent trail budget cuts, only 1,900 miles of tread remained
of the 2,500 miles that once crisscrossed the Bob.
Since then, the amount of money the Forest Service spends
fighting wildfire has gone from less than a fifth of its budget
to more than half, diverting money from other programs.
This Montana Wilderness Assocation volunteer trail crew is made up of
Meanwhile, the agency has arguably grown top-heavy, with nine volunteers, mostly retired folks, and two leaders.
more D.C.-based paper-shufflers and fewer woods workers. In
the past decade, the number of full-time USFS employees doing
trail work has declined around 20 percent. Association, a group whose members rack up a lot of trail miles
In 2013, when Congress’s investigative research wing, the every year.
Government Accountability Office, audited the Forest Service Karen Hooker, of Ovando, outfitted in the Bob for 44 years
trails program, it put a roughly $280 million price tag on and has been traveling local backcountry for as long as she can
“deferred maintenance”—the trail upkeep the agency should remember. “I’ve seen a lot of changes in the trail maintenance,”
be doing each year but can’t, because its annual trail mainte- she says. These days, “The Forest Service has only been keep-
nance funding is only around $80 million. You can’t help but ing the main-line trails open, and they might hit the second-
be a little amused by it, one Forest Service staffer told me—a ary trails every five years. Well ... if you wait five years, you’ve
budget that’s a fraction of the workload. almost lost a trail.”
For USFS Region 1, which covers Montana, North Dakota Last spring, Montana’s Senator Jon Tester helped nix a
and portions of Idaho, South Dakota, and Washington, the proposed 30 percent cut to the Region 1 trail budget. That was
trail budget has dropped 15 percent in 5 years, to around $9 good news, but it was also a sign that funding isn’t likely to
million. Trail crews have certainly shrunk, though numbers are increase anytime soon.
harder to pin down. Officials estimate that a growing main- Instead, the Forest Service is positioning itself for greater
tenance backlog exists on at least two-thirds of the region’s reliance on volunteers. In what it calls its National Strategy
23,000 miles of dirt trails. for a Sustainable Trail System, a long-awaited document in
“Over the past decade, the ability of the Forest Service to draft form as of press time and expected to be released any
get trails cleared has consistently declined,” says Mac Minard, week, the agency is confronting its backlog and its dwindling
executive director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides trail crew capacity in large part by envisioning an expanding

“We go in and do what the Forest Service should be doing.”

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 35
Meg Killen leads a group of volunteers to their section of the Continental Divide Trail for the day’s work in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

maintenance role by trail users and non-profit partners. burn, “What we’re looking at is a fire regime that’s catching up
It’s a practical idea. After all, it’s been helping in the Bob to us,” Bardwell says. Although major fires bring in trail dollars
for years. through a USFS program called Burned Area Emergency
Response, the decades-long additional workload tends to exceed

A
the extra funding, which is available for only one year.
t the Forest Service station on the outskirts of Bardwell’s crew of 11 men and women, plus 50 head of
Choteau, trail crew leader Ian Bardwell spreads a horses and mules, works May through September, 10 days on
map on the hood of a green government pickup and and 4 days off. A pair of them will head out with a pack string,
traces out his district in the eastern half of the Bob, moving camp as they go and sometimes working 30 miles
a roughly 30-by-70-mile area that contains about or more from the nearest trailhead, in areas that volunteers
1,000 miles of trail. seldom reach.
“Downfall gets ahead of us,” he says. “We can’t keep up Most of them have worked multiple summers here, and they
with it.” Especially on the hundreds of miles of trail through can read the trail, re-route it, build bridges, blast refrigerator-
burned areas, where dead trees drop for years after a fire, the sized rocks with dynamite, and generally bust ass in ways that
cut-out alone can be overwhelming. This spring, one of his volunteers can’t. They’ll spend a lot of time just sawing through
crews cleared 400 newly downed trees on a 3-mile stretch deadfall. They won’t have the time to maintain the trail the way
of trail that burned in 2007; before that fire, a typical winter they’d like to.
might have toppled 20 trees on that stretch, he says. “Trail triage is a better term,” Bardwell says. “We’re being
After decades of suppressing wildfires and now letting them reactive.”

36
Local crew leaders can’t control the national budgeting poli- the trail clearing on their respective national forests. Members
tics, but they can partner with groups like the Bob Marshall pack crosscuts or chainsaws on their stock, and often work
Wilderness Foundation, which is what Bardwell does. They many miles of trail in a single outing. At least four local chap-
meet while the snow is still on the ground, and together figure ters are active in the Bob, clearing trail as well as packing in
out where to send the volunteers and what work they’ll do. food and supplies for the other volunteer groups.
Bardwell estimates that volunteers in this district do at least On the map, Bardwell points out where the groups are
25 percent of the trail work, or around 8,000 to 10,000 hours camped. The Back Country Horsemen out of Conrad were
per year. “We couldn’t get done what we do without them,” he scheduled for a weekend at Elk Creek, but injuries sidelined
says. “We appreciate the hell out of them.” a couple of key members and that was cancelled. A few miles
The Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation has maintained west of there, at Welcome Creek, the Montana Wilderness
an estimated 5,000 miles of trail since it started organiz- Association (MWA) has a crew of 11 working a 5-mile stretch
ing work projects 20 years ago. The group’s model of grass- of the Continental Divide Trail. Closer to Choteau, the Bob
roots partnership with the Forest Service has set an example Marshall folks at Dupuyer Creek are working portions of three
for other Montana groups, including the Montana Wilderness trails, and in a couple days a Montana Conservation Corps
Association, which began organizing trail projects in 2012. (MCC) crew will head into Headquarters Pass.
The Montana Wilderness Association works exclusively Statewide, MCC is probably the biggest force for non-agency
on the Montana stretch of the 3,100-mile Continental Divide trails work, and each summer they have two or three crews
Trail, which runs from Canada to Mexico and has its biggest in the Bob full-time. They’re not exactly volunteers, though,
wilderness stretch through the heart of the Bob. Like the Bob because the organization is paid by the Forest Service on a
Marshall Wilderness Foundation, they do a variety of trail work: per-project basis, covering 80 percent of their project costs,
in 2015 their volunteers cleared out water bars, built retaining and MCC workers—the majority of whom enlisted through the
walls, and installed trailhead kiosks, among other tasks. national AmeriCorps service program—receive a small stipend
The Back Country Horsemen, another major partner, started plus a $1,100-per-month AmeriCorps credit toward educational
in the ’70s in the Kalispell area to promote responsible horse costs, such as student loans. Many of them go on to lead volun-
use in wilderness. Since then, the organization has spread to 31 teer trips or work on Forest Service trail crews.
states, with trail maintenance an increasing part of its mission. Outfitters, another major presence in the Bob, clear select
Some of the group’s 17 Montana chapters now do the majority of routes because their business depends on it. They don’t tally

Montana Wilderness
Association trail crew
leaders and volunteers
sit around a campfire at
Welcome Creek Guard
Station in the Bob
Marshall Wilderness. The
crew of nine volunteers
is camped out here for a
week while working on
a 5-mile section of the
Continental Divide Trail.

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 37
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miles like the volunteer groups do, so it’s hard to know their
contribution. But their cut-out is a factor when Bardwell is
planning his triage. The fees the outfitters pay in order to
guide paying clients on public land are channeled directly
back to the national forest, and constitute half or more of
Bardwell’s regular funding.
The Bob is wilderness, where mountain bikes and other
mechanical forms of recreation are prohibited. But in other
areas of the state, groups including the Montana Mountain
Bike Alliance and the Bitterroot Backcountry Cyclists part-
ner with the Forest Service. Some riders even rig chain-
saw holsters to their bicycles. Each year, the Great Falls
Trail Bike Riders Association, a motorized group, rounds

38
Above, Montana Wilderness Association volunteers
clear a section of willows near a stream crossing.

At left, Cole Hendrickson cuts and clears branches from
the Continental Divide Trail. Hendrickson, an 18-year-
old from Great Falls, plans to attend the University of
Montana’s forestry school in the fall.

up enough grant money to pay two people full-time through the some basic guidelines are followed, like cutting out full 8-foot-
summer to clear trails in the Little Belt, Highwood, and Castle wide sections from logs across the trail.
mountains, in coordination with the Forest Service. With a bit more guidance and some liability issues worked
Individuals chip in, too. Bardwell keeps a list of folks, out, there could be more of that going on, Bardwell says. As it
mostly former USFS employees, that he occasionally calls on to is, he’ll take anything he can get.
clear a drainage or two. They’ve been through a first-aid certi-

T
fication and two-day saw training, which gets them coverage
under the Forest Service’s workers’ compensation insurance for he campfire is crackling and the creek is rushing
any injuries. by as another day in the Bob tapers to dusk. In
And there’s always a bit of trail work happening under the front of the Forest Service’s one-room, log-cabin-
radar, by the hiker or horse packer who takes along a fold- style Welcome Creek Guard Station, the Montana
ing saw or saddle axe. Bardwell says the Forest Service has no Wilderness Association volunteers are circled
problem thanking people for this kind of work, especially if around, trading jokes and plotting backpacking trips.

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 39
“We couldn’t get done what we do without them.
We appreciate the hell out of them.”

The only Forest Service folks around are a couple of You could say that’s a good thing. It means the trails in this
radio techs who packed in to fix the antenna. “They made area, and in much of Montana, are better off than those in a lot
a nice path for us to come through,” one of them says of the of other places.
volunteers, who are on their third day of “brushing out” the But as Bardwell and others will tell you, much work isn’t
Continental Divide Trail. getting done. And that raises concerns about a future that likely
Brushing out entails cutting back branches, shrubs and includes more fires, more deadfall, and stagnant or declining
other encroaching vegetation. Around here that means pitchy trail budgets.
gloves and tedious hours battling a lot of dense-packed lodge- Bardwell says he has a hard time thinking he can do any
pole re-growth in a burned area. It’s the kind of work that could more with volunteers. It’s a concern backed up by USFS
easily overwhelm a Forest Service crew, but it makes a long- Region 1’s official vision for 2015 to 2020, which cites
term difference, especially for horse packers. “inadequate capacity” for expanding volunteer partnerships.
“I didn’t know those muscles between my shoulders could Volunteers aren’t exactly free—the logistics pile on top of
get so sore,” says Rick Gilsoul, a grey-haired carpenter from Bardwell’s job of managing his own crew. A dedicated volunteer
Helena. coordinator for the district would go a long way, but again the
It’s mostly an older crowd, retired folks from Fort Benton, question is money. Another bottleneck is finding people with
Bozeman, Kalispell and beyond. But there’s also 18-year-old the pack animals, time, gas money, and willingness to pack
Cole Hendrickson, who grew up on a ranch 30 miles southeast supplies to the volunteer camps.
of Great Falls. Last year, on another MWA project just north of The volunteer groups feel the pinch, too. The Bob Marshall
here, he helped clear rockfall and smooth out miles of tread. Wilderness Foundation manages to do a lot with a small staff,
He’s heading to the University of Montana in Missoula to study and they’re generally able to fill their projects with volunteers.
forestry, hoping to land a job working trail crew for the Forest But looking ahead, they wonder how much their effort can grow.
Service. They compete with the other volunteer groups for the same
For some of the volunteers, including Doug and Patty small grants, and, “There are only so many people in the coun-
Bartholomew, a retired couple from Bozeman, it’s their fourth try who want to take their vacation swinging a Pulaski,” says
work trip. “It keeps us strong,” Patty says. executive director Carol Treadwell.
Tomorrow they’ll all be up by 7:00 a.m. for coffee and The Back Country Horsemen are already feeling stretched
scrambled eggs cooked on a big propane stove on the guard as they try and recruit new members, says Montana chair-
station porch. The sun will beam onto the limestone face of man Brad Pollman. “I don’t see how we can catch up with the
Scapegoat Mountain under dark clouds rolling in from the west. maintenance backlog without some funding changes [from
They’ll divvy out the loppers and saws and hit the trail, spot Congress],” he says. “It’s just not going to happen.”
a moose as they drop into a meadow. The tools come out where It’s a growing worry—will we have what it takes to keep the
the trail threads along a fine little creek. trails in shape?
“What I love most about this job is getting folks out here You get a sense of it when you drop over the pass with a
and connecting them to these wild places,” says Meg Killen, couple of the Kalispell guys up Dupuyer Creek. The trail basi-
now on her fifth season of leading these trips. “It’s not just cally disappears, and one of them says, “Geez, there’s a whole
about the trail work. It’s about a lot more.” week’s worth of work here.”
Then they stop to take it all in—an amphitheater of green,

T
seemingly endless mountains beyond, bear sign underfoot.
rail maintenance right now in The Bob is For a lot of people that’s what the Bob is all about, and here
something of a blueprint. It has the basic outline it adds up to something of a conundrum: for all but the hardi-
of the trail program the Forest Service envisions est and most adventuresome, it takes a decent trail to get here.
for a future of doing more with less: a core of But sometimes, it takes a trail that needs work to get a group of
agency crews doing as much of the essential work people to carve out a few days to enjoy it together.
as they can, plus an array of volunteers taking an active role in Luckily for them, one thing is for sure: there’ll be enough
the upkeep of the trails that they use. work to go around.

40
RU R A L ROU T E

Crossroads of History
Born into the whiskey trade and stymied by bloody
murder, sleepy little Loma tries to buck the trends
BY SCOT T McMILLION

PHOTOGRAPHY BY THOMAS LEE

42
G
ar Wood’s property, just a short hop Assiniboine didn’t have much left to swap. So
from where the Marias River meets the moving to Loma might have been his quest for a
Missouri, has been hosting travelers for quieter life. He was getting older and he’d been
130 years. Today, the Rose River Inn—an working a rough trade for at least 20 years.
RV park and a clutch of rental cabins—stands there, “Loma has always been a quiet little town,” says
but in the 1880s, Mose Solomon built a trading post Wood, 66, whose family has been here since 1916.
on the same spot, waiting for people to show up to But Solomon’s fort wasn’t the first business here.
buy or sell something. Earlier, he had run a notori- Somewhere within a mile or so—despite extensive
ous saloon called the Medicine Lodge in Fort Benton, searches, nobody is quite sure exactly where—
a dozen miles upriver, then helped perpetuate the James Kipp in 1831 built Fort Piegan, the first post
bloody whiskey trade with the Indians in Alberta. dedicated to trade with the Blackfeet. It didn’t last
By the time Solomon set up shop on the Marias, long; the Blackfeet put it to the torch after one
the bison were nearly gone and the Blackfeet and trading season.

Travelers have been passing the site of present-day Loma for thousands of years.
It sits near the confluence of the Marias and Missouri Rivers. In 1805, the party led
by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark camped here for 10 days, deciding which
channel was the true Missouri. The other channel was named for Lewis’ cousin,
Maria Wood, and the party moved on toward the Great Falls of the Missouri.

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 43
More than a generation later, as the civil war was wind-
ing down and the business in buffalo robes was booming,
traders concocted a scheme to build a small city here, to
be named Ophir. They measured out 400 lots, put in some
foundations, and made grand plans for river ferries and
freight roads, docks and wharves where steamships could
discharge trade goods and load up with buffalo robes. But
on May 25, 1865, somebody attacked a nearby crew of 10
woodcutters and murdered every last one of them. Most
people blamed the Blood Indians, part of the Blackfeet
Nation, but some maintained it was “jealous traders” from
Fort Benton who didn’t want the competition.
Either way the gruesome deaths quelled all hope for
Ophir. The handful of buildings the men had built later
wound up fueling the boilers in the steamboats headed to
or from Benton.
“The steamboats took every stick of wood for miles
around,” Wood explains, overlooking the spot where the
woodcutters died. It’s farmland now, marked by a single
ancient cottonwood. No other monument stands there, but
some descendants of the victims later bought a headstone,
now part of an historical display alongside U.S. Highway
87 in Loma.
The town—or at least the land where it sits—has long bluffs and in the bottoms. They were still here just a few
played a role in Montana history. Before the whiskey forts, generations ago.
before the boosterism and murders, Meriwether Lewis and Assiniboine from the reservations to the north and east
William Clark rested their men at the mouth of the Marias often stop in Loma to gas up at Pa’s convenience store or
while they wrestled with a big question: which of these grab a meal at Ma’s Café across the street, the only estab-
streams was the Missouri? They dallied and explored, lishments in town you could describe as bustling.
then made the right decision and eventually wound up Some of the elders say “their parents or grandparents
on the Pacific Ocean, but without finding the fabled were born right here,” says Greg Bouchard, who owns both
Northwest Passage. businesses with his wife, Maria.
And for millennia before that, Plains Indians lived Bouchard grew up in a tiny town in California’s north-
here, leaving evidence in the abundant tepee rings on the eastern dry corner, up where it joins Oregon and Nevada.

44
“This was the
Wild West,”
Gar Wood
says of Loma.
Wood is
standing near
the confluence
of the Marias
River and
the Teton
River, where
Solomon’s
Trading Post
stood in the
latter part
of the 19th
century.
The site just
outside of
Loma is now
Wood’s motel
and RV park.

“My dad had the gas station and my mom had the and the Bouchards will make you welcome. The air condi-
café,” he said, noting the irony. “And this looks exactly tioning feels good, too.
like the town I grew up in.” With only 80 people in town, there aren’t enough
And how does Loma look? If you’re driving in from hungry mouths to keep the doors open, Bouchard says,
almost any direction, you’re passing through mile after so the business relies on travelers. To keep them coming
mile of empty. Lots of wheat fields and sagebrush, barbed back, he tries to make sure they don’t leave hungry. He
wire and antelope and all that great big sky. It can be serves big steaks, huge breakfasts all day long, and pie
glorious, but everything is a long way from everything out in giant slabs. Wednesday is Italian night, Thursday is
there, so dropping into the lush and shady cottonwood Maria’s Mexicana (she’s a native of Hermosillo, Sonora
groves along the Marias can seem pretty inviting after a and a trained chef), Friday offers seafood, Greg fires up
few hours of dun steppes and asphalt. Step into Ma’s Café the charbroiler on Saturdays, Sundays mean baby back

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 45
Greg Bouchard, right, owns Ma’s Cafe with his wife, Maria, and
keeps collages of family photos above the space dedicated to
cutting meat. “We get people every day who travel hundreds of
miles just to eat here,” Bouchard says.

Above, Highway 87 has become Loma’s main drag, sending
vacationers, oil field workers, truckers and farmers through town
toward Great Falls or Havre and North Dakota.

ribs, and holidays bring prime rib.
With so many tasty options, regular travelers on the
long drives make it a point to choose Loma instead of
pushing on to Great Falls or Havre, both a little more than
an hour away.
And the food is popular enough that people make
Loma a destination. In central Montana, where people live
in widely spaced small towns but still want some face time
with loved ones, folks can split the difference and meet in
Loma. And get a good meal, too.
“This is a meeting place,” Bouchard says. “Families
from Chinook will meet friends from Great Falls here.”
Sometimes, people break up an even longer jour-
ney. For oilfield workers in the Bakken, Loma is halfway
between Boise, Idaho, and Williston, North Dakota. Crews
can pull in, have a steak and a beer, then rack out in the
cabins behind the café. If they gas up in the morning,
that’s more money in the bank for the Bouchards.
Still, nothing comes easy. Bouchard’s initial plan was
to retire in Loma after a 22-year career as an outfitter in
Mexico, to fish and hunt birds, but that didn’t work out.

46
Loma was never big. Wood said the
town got started about 1910 and might
have hit 350 during the homesteading
boom in the early 1920s.

He says that last year he worked 17-hour days for five months
without a break and Maria worked 15-hour days. Plus, help is
hard to find in a town this small.
And Loma was never big. Wood said the town got started
about 1910 and might have hit 350 during the homesteading
boom in the early 1920s. Stories from that era sprouted like
weeds. When the Women’s Christian Temperance Union had a
convention up the road in Havre, somebody decided to empty
out the red light district for the duration, Wood said.
“Some of the ladies moved to Loma, upstairs in the hotel,”
he said. “They were very popular.” Mary Yona Cornell, 85, operates an antique store on the
There were schools, an implement dealer, a railroad depot northern edge of Loma. Her husband, also 85, still works the
and grain elevators, four of which still stand, though some look fields during harvest, she says.

like they might tip over in the next prairie storm.
“And the sheriff had a still over here in the river bottom,”
Wood adds.
An archeologist who travels widely for his work, Wood
tends to take a long view and says he doesn’t see much chance
for growth in Loma. A generation ago, a family could earn a
living on 800 acres or so. Today, “it’s just enough to starve
on,” he says, so that means fewer people on the surrounding
farms. Most of the people in town are getting old and kids in
the area go to Fort Benton or Big Sandy for school.
“All the business in town comes in off the highway,” he
says, and he’s probably right. Aside from Bouchard’s places,
there is a museum that houses an impressive rock and mineral
collection, and an antique business that fills three very quiet
buildings: an old schoolhouse, the old depot, and a family
home. It’s sleepy enough that owner Mary Yona Cornell (Mary
Yona is her first name, she stresses: “As far as I know, I have
no middle name.”) has time to spend much of the day reading
DESIGN and ART for DAILY LIVING
or working on her garden.
“I can’t run the roto-tiller anymore,” says the chipper
85-year-old. “But I still mow the lawn.” Gallery Design Services
Still, there are signs of life sprouting. The commu- l modern art & gifts l homes
nity center is in good shape and attracts a lot of events, and l unique jewelry l interiors
Bouchard points out there are now two general contractors, a l fine fiber clothing l furniture
roofing contractor and a tire shop in town. Highway traffic is
good, even in the winter, adding months to his busy season. exquisite quality of handcrafted items
“Little Loma is coming around,” he says. 406.522.9999 Corner of Main and Tracy
www.cellobozeman.com Downtown Bozeman

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 47
A RT

On an expanse of land near Fishtail,
an audacious dream takes shape: sharing
world-class art with anyone who wants it

On the Rise
BY ALEXIS MARIE ADAMS

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIK PETERSEN

48
Children use rubber mallets to
experience Beethoven’s Quartet, by
Mark di Suvero, as the sun sets at
Tippet Rise Art Center.

I
n the Olivier Music Barn at the new
Tippet Rise Art Center near Fishtail, notes
from Matt Haimovitz’s 300-year-old cello
float through the air as he accompanies the
Dover String Quartet in a performance of
Schubert. Behind them, an expansive picture window
reveals storm clouds rolling down from the Beartooth-
Absaroka front. Eventually, the clouds descend on
the concert hall, unleashing rain, wind and thun-
der, which rumbles around the building like pins in
an immense bowling alley. Haimovitz and the Dover
String Quartet carry on. The sounds of violin, viola,
two cellos and thunderstorm intertwine.

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 49
Tippet Rise is dedicated to “creat-
ing connections between music, art
and nature.” What that looks like,
in this case, is nothing short of awe-
inspiring. To begin with, there’s the
Center’s property, all 11,500 acres
of it. Vast and uncluttered, it rolls
like grassy waves in all directions.
And then there is the art: mammoth
outdoor sculptures scattered across
the ranch, exposed to rain, sun and
snow and the rushing winds. So
describing Tippet Rise, you could
call it the world’s largest sculpture
park, and you would be right, but
then there is the music. Three perfor-
mance spaces also occupy the land,
including the Olivier Music Barn, a
world-class concert hall that hosts
some of today’s best classical musi-
cians: performers like Haimovitz,
whose tours normally take them to
Paris, Moscow, London. Performers
who’d never been to Montana before
Tippet Rise.
Married 36 years and friends
since they were 16, Peter and Cathy
Halstead, the founders of Tippet
Rise, were raised to be philanthro-
pists. Cathy’s father, Sidney Frank,
was forced to leave Brown University
when he ran out of money at the end
of his freshman year, but he went on
to earn billions by developing and
marketing liquor. Renowned for his
successes, he was also known for the
large sums of money he gave away.
Peter Halstead comes from a long
line of oil and banking executives;
his family was also generous. Both
Halsteads serve as trustees of the
Sidney E. Frank Foundation, which

Above, from left, Caroline Goulding,
Christopher O’Riley, Matt Haimovitz and
John-Bruce Yeh perform in the Olivier Barn.

At right, Cathy and Peter Halstead are
co-founders of Tippet Rise.

50
If you go
Tippet Rise Art Center is open to the public June through Our Brand Inspires Confidence.
September from Fridays through Sundays, 10am to 4pm.
Admission to tour the sculptures is free, but daily tours are Our Agents Deliver Results.
capped at 100, so reservations should be made. Personal
vehicles are not allowed beyond the parking area near the
visitor center. Electric shuttles tour the sculptures on a regular
schedule. Art Center tours take about two hours. Guests are
welcome to cycle or walk the sculpture trail. Maps are available
on the Tippet Rise website (www.tippetrise.org).
Although the Center will be closed from late September
through May for sculpture tours, special events will occur at
Tippet Rise during those months.
Tippet Rise Art Center is located outside of Fishtail, Montana,
about an hour southwest of Billings. To make reservations for
concerts, films, tours and other events, or to learn more about
the center, visit www.tippetrise.org.
Signe Kim Stacey Darren Lori
Lahren Busby Raney Raney Hamilton
managing broker broker broker, abr, crs, gri sales associate sales assoc., abr, gri
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makes more than 90 grants annually to charities in the United
217 W PARK STREET, SUITE A, LIVINGSTON, MT 59047
States and England. They also serve on the Board of Directors
A member of the franchise system BHH Affiliates, LLC. Equal Housing Opportunity.
of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and created the Cathy
and Peter Halstead Foundation. They’ve spent their lives giving.
They’ve also spent their lives immersed in the arts. Cathy is an
abstract painter who has shown around the world. Peter is a poet
and a classical pianist who collects Steinway pianos.
The Fall Fishing
This combination—a lifelong passion for the arts along
with a sense of philanthropy that comes almost as naturally
is Spectacular
as breathing—has resulted in Tippet Rise’s grand and almost in Montana
unbelievable mission: to make world-class art and music acces-
sible to everyone. And this is also why one cannot dismiss this Book a Guided Trip Today!
shiny new art center—a miracle to those Montanans who hanker
to witness, live, the classical music performances we hear
broadcast on National Public Radio—as vainglorious, a place
for the elite. Admission to tour the sculptures is free. Concert
tickets cost $10, unless you’re under 18, in which case they’re
free. The between-concert barbecues also cost $10. Again, for
kids, food is free (never mind if your 16-year-old son is, like
mine, one and a half times your size and eats twice as much).
Tippet Rise opened its doors to the public in June of this
year. The center’s inaugural season offers seven weeks of
classical music performances as well as tours, by carbon-
neutral electric van, of the nine monumental sculptures l Full service outfitter and
that dot the land, including the temporary installation of fly shop
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M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 51
“The moment we stepped on this land we knew
it was the place. It was magnetic, irresistible.”

“We’ve been dreaming of Tippet Rise most of our lives,” purchased 12,000 acres in rural Montana. Would you like
Cathy tells me. Much of the inspiration for the Center, she to help us?’” He laughs, shaking his head. “To say we were
says, came from the iconic museums and performance intrigued is an understatement.”
spaces she and Peter visited over many years, beginning Now in his 40s, Bassuet grew up in France where he
with an “intense experience” at the Fondation Maeght, a trained as a classical pianist and then studied acoustic
museum and sculpture garden near Nice, France, when engineering. He’s designed concert halls and performance
the two were teenagers. Since then, they’ve traveled the spaces around the world, working with the likes of rock
world looking at art, watching plays and listening to music. star Lou Reed and artist Ai Weiwei to break the traditional
Places like England’s Snape Maltings, the Storm King Art mold for presenting the arts. Today he serves as director of
Center in New York’s Hudson Valley, the Aspen Music Tippet Rise.
Festival during its early days when the performers almost Iconic places and people from the past echo through
outnumbered the audience, and even Walden Pond helped this place, Bassuet tells me. The Olivier Music Barn, for
to shape their aesthetics, values and appreciation. With example, was inspired in part by Joseph Haydn’s Music
time, a vision began to take shape. Thinking of their grand- Room at Esterhazy Palace in Hungary—where Haydn
children’s generation, Cathy and Peter realized that they served as a court musician for the wealthy Esterhazy family
wanted to create a place that celebrated art and music on and where he composed much of his chamber music. Its
a grand scale and on a grand landscape. “We wanted to acoustical design was inspired by the Snape Maltings
grow music out of the concert hall, to take great art out of concert hall in England. Like that hall, Bassuet says, the
the museums,” Peter tells me. “We wanted to create a place Music Barn’s pitched ceiling forges a particular sound
where the audience would feel close to the composer, close signature; timber framing helps to diffuse the sound. An
to the player, immersed in their worlds.” intimate space with room for an audience of just 150, the
They began to look for property. They looked in sound is clear and enveloping on the day I watch Haimovitz
Colorado, Hawaii, up and down the east coast; they even and the Dover String Quartet perform.
went to New Zealand. And then a friend suggested the “I’d much rather be at Tippet Rise than anywhere else
foothills of the Beartooths, between Red Lodge and the in the world,” Christopher O’Riley says over a beer when
Stillwater Valley. I meet him for a beer at the Grizzly Bar in Roscoe, just a
“The moment we stepped on this land,” Peter says, short drive from the Art Center. Apparently he is echoing
“we knew it was the place. It was magnetic, irresistible.” the sentiments of many of the artists who have performed
Peter, who used to climb in the Alps and the Himalaya, felt at Tippet Rise. “Alessandro wants to move here and start a
they’d found “the Switzerland of America. Gothic moun- restaurant,” he says, laughing, about the Italian classical
tains that would inspire more great art,” he says. pianist Alessandro Deljavan, who performed at Tippet Rise
“We fell in love,” adds Cathy. in June.
The couple bought six ranches to create Tippet Rise. “In all seriousness, though, as artists, we have every-
And then they hired staff to help bring shape to their thing we need here: the best pianos on earth, a world-
vision—incredible staff, including Christopher O’Reilly, class concert hall, great food, extraordinarily beautiful
a renowned pianist and host of NPR’s From the Top. To surroundings, appreciative audiences. No one can believe
lead the Center’s design, they hired Arup, a New York it when they arrive. It’s a wonderful artistic environment.
engineering firm that specializes in concert halls. Arup My jaw drops daily.”
assigned acoustician Alban Bassuet to manage the project. And then there’s the intimacy, O’Riley says, and—that
“One day a letter arrived at Arup, out of the blue,” word again—the accessibility. “For the price of a couple of
Bassuet says, as he is showing me about the property. “‘We Starbucks, you can see the best performers in the world.”
traveled the world,’ the letter said, ‘looking for the perfect Anywhere else, he tells me, the same concert will cost you
place to build a world-class music venue and we’ve just upward of a hundred dollars. And that price often gets you

52
A tour group is led toward Beartooth
Portal, a sculpture by Ensamble Studio.

the nosebleed seats. “We don’t care to have audiences of was owned and ranched by the modernist painter Isabelle
2,000. We want to create the best and most intimate musi- Johnson and her two sisters. The Halsteads didn’t know
cal and artistic experiences possible.” this when they decided to purchase the property, but
As Tippet Rise’s music director, O’Riley takes great when they learned about Johnson, Cathy says, it made
pleasure in the creative license afforded him. This perfect sense. So much so that last November they under-
summer, concerts ranged from Deljavan performing wrote the largest-ever exhibition of Johnson’s work, at the
Chopin’s complete Études to a Tippet Rise-commissioned Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings.
vocal work by prominent Spanish composer Antón García After Haimovitz and the Dover String Quartet finish
Abril, originally scheduled to take place at the Domo, one their performance, the storm has passed and we are all
of three sculptural structures designed by the cutting-edge milling about in the sun on the patio outside the Olivier
Spanish architecture firm Ensamble Studio, which is led Music Barn where we’ve gathered to eat an early dinner.
by the composer’s son. (Wind and rain caused the concert Inspired by the performance, we are a lively bunch—
to be moved to the Olivier Music Barn.) At 16 feet high a mix of audience and musicians, Tippet Rise staff and
and 98 feet wide, Domo was cast on site with reinforced volunteers, and the lines between us blur as we eat,
concrete in an impressive feat of engineering. To some, drink and socialize. Halfway through the barbecue, I
Domo looks like an inverted mountain range floating just sidle up to Haimovitz and ask him what he thinks about
above the land. Its series of three caverns were designed this place.
to host many of the Center’s concerts—if the weather “It’s surreal, it’s so beautiful,” he tells me. “It’s so
cooperates. inspirational. And there’s no dumbing down—there are
When you walk this land, the Beartooth-Absaroka very few places where I am asked to play Schubert and
range abutting the southern edge of it, you can’t help but Messiaen in the same day. There are very few places you
wonder what its earlier stewards would think about what can go and play so intimately—and to an audience that’s
has happened here. The fact that it remains a working so appreciative. And then go fishing!” He laughs and then
ranch—3,000 ewes and several hundred cows still graze excuses himself to join his wife and daughters at a picnic
this grass—could please them all, or so you’d imagine. table next to a family from Red Lodge, people I’d sat next
One person in particular might appreciate—and under- to during the recital, who’d watched him perform, slack-
stand—Tippet Rise’s artistic vision. Much of this land jawed, like the rest of us.

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 53
H I S T ORY

THE
GREAT
AGNOSTIC
Robert G. Ingersoll—at one time
so famous that his last name
alone sufficed—roiled Montana
with speeches disdaining religion
Robert G. Ingersoll’s lectures in Montana were controversial,
entertaining and, in 1884, ahead of their time. and promoting women’s suffrage

BY M. MARK MILLER After the Civil War, Ingersoll was elected Attorney
General of Illinois, but never ran for office again, appar-
ently because he would have been rejected for his criti-

I
n the summer of 1884 a man called cism of religion. People said he could have been president
“The Great Agnostic” cruised across Montana had he been willing to hide those views. He rose to
delivering spellbinding lectures to overflow- national prominence when he nominated James G. Blaine
ing audiences. He was Robert G. Ingersoll, the for president at the 1876 Republican Convention with a
greatest orator of his age, and he left in his wake speech politicians imitate to this day.
a trail of outraged letters to the editor, sermons attacking When Ingersoll visited Montana in 1884, he was at
his ideas, and an excommunication. the pinnacle of his career. He was a rock star in an era
Ingersoll was born August 11, 1833, in Illinois, the when public lectures were prized for the information and
son of an abolitionist minister whose controversial views entertainment they delivered. He packed theaters from
often forced him to move from congregation to congrega- New York to San Francisco with his speeches criticizing
tion. Ingersoll was self-educated and studied with a senior religion, promoting civil rights, and advocating women’s
lawyer to read for the law. He served briefly as a Union suffrage.
officer in the Civil War and was known for the rest of his The announcement of Ingersoll’s tour surprised
life as Colonel Ingersoll. He was to become so famous that Montana newspapers, and they predicted his flamboyant
newspapers frequently mentioned him by last name with speeches would pack the territory’s undersized lecture
no further identification, like Houdini and Kennedy. halls. They called him “the greatest orator in the world,”

54
and “the noted infidel.” Describing his speeches, one QUOTATIONS FROM
newspaper said he “has tipped his lance with ridicule
and ridden headlong into the ranks of the faithful.” ROBERT G. INGERSOLL
An ambitious theater impresario named John Maguire
arranged Ingersoll’s trip. Maguire got his start in “Every religion in the world has denounced
Montana show business in 1875 by touring gold camps every other religion as a fraud. That proves
and putting on one-man shows singing, reciting poetry to me that they all tell the truth—
and performing excerpts from plays. By 1884, Maguire about others.”
was managing seven theaters across Montana, and had
contacts with several more in other states. This large
number of venues and the new railroad network in the “In nature there are neither rewards nor
state likely made a Montana tour an attractive proposition punishments: there are consequences.”
for Ingersoll, despite the relatively small audiences.
When asked how he persuaded such a prominent “Reason, observation, and experience:
lecturer to tour Montana where his largest audiences the holy trinity of science.”
would be only three or four hundred, Maguire explained
Ingersoll wanted to take his family to Yellowstone “Religion can never reform mankind because
National Park. Ingersoll did take a side trip to the park
religion is slavery.”
where he so impressed his guide that the man tried to
name a geyser and some hot springs for him. The names
didn’t stick. “Few nations have been so poor as to have
Ingersoll took the train across Montana, speaking but one god. Gods were made so easily, and
two nights in small towns and as many as five nights in the raw materials cost so little, that generally
large ones. Newspaper coverage of Ingersoll’s 90-minute the god market was fairly glutted, and heaven
speeches don’t provide details, but his lectures were crammed with these phantoms.”
collected in a 12-volume series called The Works of
Robert G. Ingersoll. Apparently, Ingersoll alternated “The truth is that all great men have had
evenings between two of his most famous speeches,
great mothers. Great women have had,
“What Must We Do to Be Saved?” and “Orthodoxy.”
In his lecture “What Must We Do to Be Saved,” as a rule, great fathers.”
Ingersoll reviewed the first four books of the New
Testament to figure out what Jesus said people needed to “It is an old habit with theologians to beat the
do to earn salvation. living with the bones of the dead.”
He accepted as the words of Jesus the requirements
described in all four books. But he rejected any that “They who gain applause and power by
appeared in fewer than four books as “interpolations” pandering to the mistakes, the prejudices and
added later by self-serving theologians. passions of the multitude are the enemies of
“Read Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and then read
liberty.”
John,” Ingersoll said, “and you will agree with me that
the three first gospels teach that if we are kind and
forgiving to our fellows, God will be kind and forgiving to “Our government should be entirely and purely
us.” But other requirements for salvation, which appear secular. The religious views of a candidate
only in John, such as baptism, belief in the divinity of should be kept entirely out of sight.”
Jesus, and taking communion, Ingersoll rejected as later
additions. “Science has nothing in common with religion.
For example, John quotes Jesus as saying, “Verily, Facts and miracles never did and never will
I say unto thee, except a man be born again he can not
agree.”
see the kingdom of God.” Ingersoll noted no other books
Following his lectures, letters to the editor debated
his ideas for weeks, and clergymen announced they
would give sermons to “explain his errors.”

mention Jesus saying anything like
that. Then in a sarcastic manner
that must have delighted his audi-
ences, he asked, “Why did he not
tell Matthew that? Why did he not
tell Luke that? Why did he not tell
Mark that?” The only explanation,
according to Ingersoll, is that Jesus
never said it.
After his analysis of the Gospels,
Ingersoll turned to critiques of
specific denominations, where he
proved himself an equal opportunity
offender. He said Catholics created
a creed out of “interpolations and
mistakes” and made fun of them for
keeping in “constant communication
with heaven through the instrumen-
tality of a large number of decayed
saints.”
The Catholic creed, Ingersoll
said, contains a whole list of dubi-
ous requirements such as belief
in the Trinity, and the need for
Baptism and taking Communion.
He concluded that Catholic insis-
tence on such requirements has
caused massive suffering. “If all
the bones of victims of the Catholic
Church could be gathered together,”
Ingersoll said, “a monument higher
than the pyramids would rise.”
The Episcopalian creed, Ingersoll
said, “is substantially like the
Catholic, containing a few addi-
tional absurdities.” He jocularly

Ingersoll’s orations rendered him famous
in 19th-century America and regularly
landed him on front pages of newspapers
and the covers of magazines.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

56
The Murray Hotel
offered faint praise of Episcopalians for not hating music, art Even Cowboys Like
and architecture and not forbidding dancing, but said, “This
church is utterly unsuited to a free people. Its government
Big, Fluffy Pillows
is tyrannical, supercilious and absurd.” He offered equally
pointed criticisms of Methodists and Presbyterians, and said
he didn’t even have time to talk about Baptists.
In his other lecture, “Orthodoxy,” Ingersoll offered
pointed critiques of the written creeds of several Christian
denominations. He argued that millions of people only
pretend to be Christian because of social pressure. “Orthodox
religion is dying out,” according to Ingersoll, “because it no
longer satisfies the brain and is against the heart.”
Ingersoll listed a series of historical events and scientific
discoveries that undermine religion. For example, he noted
that North America isn’t mentioned in the scriptures. He
sarcastically observed, “The Bible left out half the world. The
Holy Ghost did not know that the earth is round.”
Ingersoll said people know religious creeds are not liter-
ally true and need to be interpreted. But if they need inter-
pretation, he said, then clergymen should change them.
Clergymen should not be paid for teaching creeds they do not
believe, according to Ingersoll. He went one by one through
the creeds of various religious denominations and dismissed
them as contrary to fact, illogical, or just plain silly.
In small towns like Miles City and Livingston, Ingersoll
spoke at roller-skating rinks, the biggest venues in town. He
began his lectures without fanfare or introduction. He simply
walked onto undecorated stages and started to talk. The
Helena Daily Herald described his entrance this way: “The
lecturer presented himself at 8:30 o’clock, stepping briskly
before his audience, his splendid presence clothed in full
evening dress.”
Newspaper reports of Ingersoll’s lectures varied. The
Bozeman Weekly Chronicle thought Ingersoll insulted his
audience and said, “We were repulsed by ridicule and sneers
and we wondered if the proud spirit of the citizens of the
United States could admire the Instructor whose forte is
abuse and self-praise.” HUNTER D’ANTUONO/LIVINGSTON ENTERPRISE

The Butte Daily Miner disagreed, saying, “The people
of Butte have just felt the electric thrill of that matchless “I wake up in a lot of hotels,
eloquence that has made Colonel R. G. Ingersoll the brightest
star in the brilliant galaxy of living orators. However much so I’m fiercely loyal
we may disagree with him as to the authenticity of the Bible,
none can fail to recognize his flowing genius in its transcen- to the ones I love.”
dent flights of oratory and consummate logic.” — ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CHEF AND BEST-SELLING AUTHOR,
WHO LISTS THE MURRAY AMONG HIS 10 FAVORITES
Following his lectures, letters to the editor debated his
ideas for weeks, and clergymen announced they would give
sermons to “explain his errors.” 201 West Park Street, Downtown Livingston
(406) 222-1350 | MURRAYHOTEL.COM

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 57
Ingersoll’s lectures rankled the bishop of the newly packed Montana theaters.
formed Catholic Diocese of Montana, Jean-Baptiste Bishop Brondel defended the excommunication in
Brondel. He couldn’t do anything to Ingersoll, who was a lecture at the Helena Cathedral on August 27. The
not Catholic, but the organizer of The Great Agnostic’s Helena Daily Herald said Brondel spoke “with great force
tour, John Maguire, was a Catholic. On August 10, 1884, of argument” and read extracts from Ingersoll’s lecture as
Bishop Brondel formally excommunicated Maguire for published in that newspaper.
bringing Ingersoll to Montana. Brondel called Ingersoll “the greatest infidel in
News of the excommunication spread rapidly. Most America,” and said Maguire was excommunicated
newspapers simply reported that it had happened, but because he facilitated Ingersoll’s attacks on “scriptures
some condemned the excommunication. The Yellowstone so dear to Catholics and Protestants and orders of the
Journal of Miles City called the bishop’s action “a step Catholic Church.”
too far for the enlightened age. … We condemn the Later Maguire told a reporter for the Salt Lake Daily
course of the Bishop, not because we love Ingersoll more, Herald about a chance encounter he had with the bishop.
but narrow-minded bigotry less.” Maguire said he was traveling on the train between Miles
The New Northwest of Deer Lodge said Maguire’s City and Bozeman when he spied Brondel in the smoking
actions could be described as “managerial sins” that section of a Pullman car.
were decisions made in pursuit of business. If such Maguire said, “I introduced myself and asked whether
actions should be condemned, the newspaper argued, it was true that he had denounced my business connec-
then so should girlie shows like Madame Rentz’s Female tions with Ingersoll. He replied it was a scandal and a
Minstrels, a troupe composed of scantily clad women who great wrong to permit Ingersoll to appear in any of my
performed in blackface. Rentz’s Minstrels had recently houses. That it was liable to do a great deal of damage in

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58 2016_Mt Quarterly_half hor2.indd 1 7/20/16 12:00 PM
news of the excommunication spread rapidly. most
newspapers simply reported that it had happened,
but some condemned the excommunication.

upsetting the convictions of the people.” Ingersoll retained fans in Montana. In 1891 he
Maguire told the reporter, “I did not hold that view returned to the new state as an attorney in a multi-
of the case at all. When I arranged with Ingersoll for million-dollar probate case in Butte. People wanted to
his lectures it was purely a matter of business with me, hear Ingersoll speak and offered him a thousand dollars
and if I had objected to Ingersoll using my houses in the each for three lectures. Ingersoll declined, saying he was
late day of the 19th century, there would have been a too busy.
howl of indignation from the Pacific to the Atlantic Coast But when the Swiss Society of Butte asked him to
against the bigotry of Irish Catholics.” Maguire said his speak at their celebration of the 600th anniversary of
conversation with the bishop was “a spirited one, but was the founding of the Swiss Republic, he surprised them
productive of no results.” by accepting their invitation. On August 2, 1891, the
Ingersoll ignored the excommunication contro- Columbia Gardens amusement park was packed with
versy and went on to the West Coast, where he contin- more than 5,000 people, who heard Ingersoll speak on
ued to draw large audiences and stir things up. Then he liberty and freedom. He told the audience, “I have been
returned to his comfortable home in Washington, D.C. to honored with the invitation to address you,” and refused
pursue his lucrative law practice and lecture tours. any payment.

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M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 59
SCIENCE

Keeping it Clean

Above, from left to right, Sean Hasselstrom, Liangheng Lin and Flathead Lake Biological Station affiliate research professor
Chris Frissell are piloted across Flathead Lake on the Jessie B, the biological station’s recently refurbished research vessel. At
right, one of the Flathead Lake Biological Station buoys floats near Yellow Bay.

Flathead Lake Biological Station unearths a roll of tape and covers the lights on
the deck of the research boat, leaving only a faint
monitors and protects one of orange-reddish glow.
America’s pristine major lakes Lurking below in the mysterious depths are
mysis shrimp, tiny creatures that have caused a
large-scale disruption in this big, deep lake, one
BY BUTCH L ARCOMBE of the largest and cleanest bodies of fresh water
in the world. The mysis hang out near the bottom
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LIDO VIZZUT TI
of the lake during the day, rising up at night to

I
eat zooplankton and other aquatic treats near the
t’s11:20 p.m. when Jim Craft eases off the surface.
throttle and the Jessie B slides to a stop in the There’s scientific method to this middle-
calm waters of Flathead Lake. As if it wasn’t of-the-night madness. Shrimp capture is done
dark enough out here off Woods Bay, Craft monthly, and on each trip the boat’s GPS and sonar

60
Anne Raznoff leads classmates across the beach and into the woods after landing on Wild Horse Island during a field ecology class run by
the Flathead Lake Biological Station. Below, Zoe Pritchard photographs a bee buzzing between flowers on Wild Horse Island.

equipment guide the craft and crew to the same points in
the lake. The sampling at this first, northernmost stop is
targeted to begin one hour and 40 minutes after sunset, as
close to the new moon as possible.
Craft, a veteran research scientist at the Flathead Lake
Biological Station, assisted by a volunteer, heaves a large
cone-shaped net anchored by a heavy weight off the stern
of the boat, and a winch lowers it to the bottom of the lake.
It is retrieved quickly, gathering what it can on the trip
back to the surface. Tiny creatures caught in a plastic
container at the bottom of the net are transferred quickly
to sample jars.
The story of the mysis and the lake is a biological
tragedy. The shrimp were introduced into lakes upstream
of Flathead in the 1960s and 1970s in attempt to bolster
a popular kokanee salmon fishery. But the shrimp made
it to the big lake in the 1980s, possibly migrating from
nearby Swan Lake, and things went south in a hurry.
The shrimp feasted on zooplankton and their population

62
exploded. Kokanee, which also relied on the zooplank-
ton, were largely unable to feed on the bottom-dwell-
ing shrimp. But lake trout in the deep water gorged on
the shrimp and the number of lake trout skyrocketed.
The voracious lake trout ate kokanee, along with native
cutthroat and bull trout.
Today, the kokanee in Flathead Lake are gone.
Upstream on the Flathead River near Glacier National
Park, where eagles and bears would gather in the fall
to feast on spawning kokanee, a spectacular show has
ended. So has the flow of people who came to take it all
in. Scientists call this chain of events a “trophic cascade,”
one that is likely irreversible.

Monitoring change
Out on the lake, the mysis netting is a key part of the
efforts to monitor the trends in the population and create
a long-term record. Back at the biological station, the
shrimp are counted and measured, their sex noted.
Such monitoring work is at the heart of much of the
research on the lake and elsewhere in the expansive
Flathead ecosystem. The intensive lake monitoring began
nearly 40 years ago.
“There are probably only three or four places in the
U.S. that have monitoring of this longevity,” says Jim
Elser, who became the station’s director early in 2016.
Such monitoring is the key to understanding biologi- The saline levels in assorted water samples are measured as they
flow through the tiny tubes of a segmented flow analyzer at the
cal change, whether it involves tiny freshwater shrimp, Flathead Lake Biological Station laboratory.
nutrients that can affect water quality, climate change, or
any of the other forces at play in this sprawling region of
northwest Montana. first set foot on the station grounds in 1972 and served as
While Elser, who came to the biological station from its director for 36 years before retiring earlier this year.
Arizona State University, says the monitoring records are Stanford and his wife Bonnie Ellis, along with plenty of
the station’s greatest asset, he admits there is plenty to other scientists and researchers past and present, have
like about the biological station and its setting. The station helped the station develop a wide reputation in the world
sits on an 80-acre peninsula that arcs away from Flathead of freshwater ecology.
Lake’s east shore at Yellow Bay, roughly halfway between Fleeing the desert for the Flathead was a no-brainer for
Polson and Bigfork. From a picturesque bay and thou- Elser. “It’s one of the best jobs in my field in the world,” he
sands of feet of shoreline to the cluster of buildings on the says. “This is an incredible environment and place to study.
thickly forested grounds, the station is a gorgeous scien- You would have to be crazy to not to apply for this job.”
tific outpost. But its “laboratory” stretches far beyond
the buildings and the nearby lake to the highest peaks of
Glacier and deep into the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area.
Reputation and results
In fact, station researchers have worked on almost every The biological station, operated by the University of
continent and have done extensive research in the salmon Montana, was founded in 1899 in Bigfork and moved to
rivers around the Pacific Rim. Yellow Bay in 1908. The station was the brainchild of
Elser took the station reins from Jack Stanford, who Morton J. Elrod, a pioneering UM professor who organized

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 63
As Philomena Lloyd, an intern at the Flathead Lake Biological Station, prepares sample bottles, Adam Baumann, the Freshwater Research
Lab manager, unpacks water samples sent to the lab for testing from Whitefish Lake Institute.

its biology department and whose resumé includes serving Awash in community support
as the first naturalist in Glacier National Park and creat-
ing the National Bison Range, which anchors the Mission While the university funding is a bright spot, there are
Valley south of Flathead Lake. still plenty of steep drops and sharp turns on the grant-
While the university has been hit by staffing cuts tied driven rollercoaster. The station maintains a system of
to recent declines in enrollment, the biological station nine sensor stations in and around the lake, a set-up
is growing, adding five new faculty positions. In Elser’s initially funded by a National Science Foundation grant.
eyes, the explanation rests in reputation and results: But the grant dried up a few years ago and the cost of
“The station is regarded as one of the university’s prized maintaining the sensor stations, about $20,000 a year,
research activities,” he says. has been picked up by donations, largely from local folks.
While UM provides about 20 percent of the station’s Even so, the station has been forced to make cuts; devices
base funding, it also gets a cut of the research grants on two lake buoys that remotely recorded changes in water
snagged by the station’s scientists. Such funding accounts quality four times per day have now been scrapped.
for about 50 percent of the station’s budget, which varies “We do a lot of stuff that nobody hears anything
from $3 to $5 million per year. about,” says Bansak. “This [sensor] project is one that
“There is often a misperception that we are a revenue people are interested in. They love this lake. We really
sink and that’s simply not the case,” says Tom Bansak, the appreciate that.”
station’s assistant director. “This station is one of UM’s Stanford, now living near Twisp, Washington, says
strengths.” community support has played a huge role in the station’s

64
Armstrong
“There is often a misperception that
Spring Creek
we are a revenue sink and that’s simply The O’Hair Ranch
not the case. This station is one of UM’s a world class spring creek located
just 50 miles north of yellowstone Park
strengths.” in Paradise valley.

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battles to protect the lake and ecosystem. Back in the 1980s,
Stanford and others at the station were key backers of a local- reservations required
option ban on detergents containing phosphorous. Despite stout
industry opposition, local voters approved the ban, which has
since become common around the globe.
In those days, Stanford says, the biggest challenges facing
the lake were tied to nutrient loading, which can feed algae
growth, reduce water clarity and lead to a decline in water
quality. Fertilizer, sewage and septic systems can funnel
damaging nutrients into lakes. In recent decades, a number of
communities around Flathead Lake have created or upgraded
sewage treatment facilities to stem the flow of nutrients. 8 Miles south of livingston, Montana
The most well-known threats to water quality have come Call Judy at (406) 222-2979
from north of the Canadian border, where mining proposals in eMail: Judy@huntChiMneyroCk.CoM
the headwaters of the North Fork of the Flathead River have
spanned decades. Coal, gold, coal-bed methane, oil, natural
gas—Bansak can tick off the development proposals like a
parent sharing the names of his children. Today, a solid inter-
national agreement between the U.S. and Canada, forged with
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The invasive threat
The challenges in the North Fork drainage serve as a
reminder that the battles to protect the Flathead watershed are
far from over. Glaciers are melting at a rapid clip up in Glacier
National Park, with some scientists predicting they will all be
gone by 2030. The meltwater and glacier stoneflies are two
tiny species that are found only in Glacier. Reliant on water
from glaciers, snowfields and high-altitude springs to survive,
the stoneflies have been proposed for protection under the
federal Endangered Species Act.
Elser is working to establish projects that would study the
impact of climate change in the Flathead, where the symptoms exclusively at...

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fisheries, and increased frequency of wildfires, which could
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M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 65
Alan Burch, an intern at the
Flathead Lake Biological
Station, holds a petri dish of
mysis shrimp as he counts,
measures and notes the sex
of each tiny creature.

including zebra and quagga mussels, which first hit North The wells, spread over acres of private land near Nyack,
America in 1988 and have spread dramatically. Montana help spell out the importance of floodplains in maintain-
and other states in the Northwest are the largest mussel- ing water quality.
free area in the country. The mussels suck up much of “The Nyack floodplain is one of the most studied
the food used by fish and explosions of their numbers can floodplains in the world,” says Bansak, who did research
leave razor-sharp shells scattered across beaches. for his master’s thesis there. “The vast majority of that
Eradicating mussels in lakes has proven nearly floodplain is in a very natural state.”
impossible. But even at Nyack, threats are easy to envisage. Both
The nasty creatures attach themselves to boats, trail- US Highway 2 and a main Burlington Northern Santa
ers, and fishing gear, which allows them to spread quickly Fe rail line bisect the narrow valley. Tanker cars bound
and widely. In recent years, state, federal and tribal agen- for the West Coast loaded with oil from the Bakken,
cies have joined with nonprofit groups to set up a network 500 miles to the east, run perilously close to the Middle
of watercraft inspection stations around the state aimed Fork and later, Whitefish Lake. A derailment involving a
at catching mussels and other invasive species. In early “bomb” train, as some refer to them, could be devastating.
April, two boats returning from a winter in Arizona were “We might survive one or two rail cars in the river,”
found carrying the feared mussels during a stop at a says Stanford. “We are not going to survive 80 of them. If
station near Pablo, just a few miles from Flathead Lake. we had a rail-car disaster in the Flathead, we would quit
Gordon Luikart, faculty member at the biological worrying about climate change instantly.”
station, has developed a monitoring system using DNA
that can detect the mussels from the mere presence of a
few cells in water samples. Cody Youngbull, a researcher
The big picture
who recently came from Arizona State, is working to Despite oil trains and all the other challenges still
develop robotic sensors that could spot the presence of facing the lake and ecosystem that spread out from his
the invasive mussels or Eurasian watermilfoil in water front door for nearly four decades, Stanford takes pleasure
and electronically relay the information to researchers. in knowing that the work put into understanding the ecol-
Another potential application of this technology is a hand- ogy of the region has paid dividends.
held sensor that could greatly boost the chances of spot- “The bottom line is that the Flathead is still one of the
ting mussels on watercraft at inspection stations. most pristine, intact ecosystems in the populated world,”
he says, noting that a good chunk of the credit belongs with
the isolated, focused atmosphere at the biological station
Mayhem up the Middle Fork? and the people who worked hard to keep track of it all.
While a fair chunk of the monitoring and research takes “It’s one of the most successful field stations in the
place on Flathead Lake, the station decades ago estab- world,” the former boss says. “It’s hard to do that kind
lished a network of water monitoring wells southeast of of work and have that kind of impact. That’s really the
West Glacier along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. station’s story.”

66
The Reviews Are In ...
Montanans and fans of Montana love
MONTANA, WARTS AND ALL
“Stories about remarkable places and people in Montana, whether or not
they fit into popular, romantic notions about this place.”—Chèrie Newman,
Montana Public Radio

“Contributors include some of the state’s most beloved writers. This is
history as it might get passed on: stories of this place affectionately told by
some of those who have observed it most carefully.”—Scott Parker,
Bozeman Daily Chronicle

“Sometimes shocking, sometimes poignant, these stories shine a probing
light into unexplored nooks from Polebridge to Lame Deer and lots of hard-
bitten Montana towns in between. ...You get to learn about the unheralded
Montana, the people and places who are not typically featured in the
tourism campaigns or travel brochures.”—Ednor Therriault,
Missoula Independent

“Montana Warts and All is a clear-eyed look at the state. ... Stories of
Montana by Montanans.”—Kristen Inbody, Great Falls Tribune

“It’s not all rosy sunsets and amber waves of grain in here—I mean, the title
does have the word ‘warts’ in it after all—but the way the writers approach
their home turf can often be beautiful.”—David Abrams, The Quivering Pen

“The book will help people understand Montana—its people, culture and
wildlife.”—Jasmine Hall, Livingston Enterprise

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Montana, Warts and All FEATURING
SOME OF
is as big and wild and quirky as the state itself. MONTANA’S
FINEST TALENT

Don’t look here for profiles of trophy homes. You won’t find them. What you will
Ted Brewer
find is the real deal: Montanans wrestling a living from hard ground, doing what
they can to keep the place wild and livable for people and beasts, telling truths, Malcolm Brooks
helping each other, keeping their small towns alive against all odds.
John Byorth

Pulled from the first decade of Montana Quarterly, the state’s most honored Tim Cahill
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And they don’t forget to have some laughs along the way. John Clayton

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ODD COR NERS

Shrinking Habitat for Montana’s Native Trout
BY SCOT T McMILLION As a culture and an agency, “We really mucked things
up” in the past, according to Carol Endicott, Yellowstone
cutthroat trout restoration biologist for the Montana

C
old, clean water, strictly segregated. That’s what Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
Montana’s state fish need. And it’s become a rare Now, the agency focuses on protecting the habitat that
commodity. remains and restoring populations when possible.
Westslope cutthroats and Yellowstone cutthroats are Today, “The biggest threat is non-native species,”
the state fish, though they are vastly outnumbered by non- Endicott said.
native rainbows, browns and brook trout. Rainbow trout crossbreed with cutthroats, creating
As this map shows, they once filled waters across two hybrids. Brook trout out-compete them for food and space
thirds of the state. because their fry emerge earlier in the year. By the time
Today, pure strains of these fish, unthreatened by cutthroats emerge, the brook trout are hogging all the
competition from or crossbreeding with non-natives, food.
remain mostly in the headwaters of isolated drainages. Restoring a population usually means putting chemi-
The salmon-colored lines indicate native range for west- cals in streams to remove all the fish, then replacing
slopes (which live on both
sides of the continental
divide), and the green lines
indicate what’s left.
For Yellowstone cutts,
the blue lines show where
they once lived and the
red lines show where they
—Native westslope
remain. Some pure fish cutt range
live outside these lines, but —Current westslope
they are at risk, and the cutt range
— Native Yellowstone
map does not show popula-
cutt range
tions of Yellowstone cutts — Current Yellowstone
that were planted outside of cutt range
their native range, princi-
pally in lakes in western
Montana, where they often
interbred with the native
DATA SOURCES: Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Washington Fish and Wildlife

westslopes.
Dangers to these fish
populations come from two fronts: human industry, and them with cutthroats. But it only works in streams that
the hunger and breeding habits of non-native fish. have some kind of barrier, like a waterfall, to keep other
Plows and saws, dams and roads, crops and cattle— non-natives from recolonizing.
things that create wealth and comfort for humans— The process often attracts controversy because it
can be deadly for fish. Runoff from clearcuts or farms means killing entire populations of fish, something that
can dump silt that ruins spawning habitat. Irrigation often doesn’t sit well with anglers.
often drains tributaries and leaves eggs or fry to wither. “It can be a hard sell,” Endicott acknowledged, though
Channeling streams for roads or bridges can remove the agency has a long record of successful projects.
the bends and pools that cutts need at different stages And the map is pretty clear. Montana’s cutthroats once
of life. had a vast range. It’s mostly gone.

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 69
BOOKS

PHOTO COURTESY OF BLYTHE WOOLSTON

Imagining the Future
AN INTERVIEW WITH BLY THE WOOLSTON BY KRIS KING

B
illings’ Blythe Woolston became a Plains Book Award for young adult fiction. Although
first-time author of young adult novels at Woolston’s latest, MARTians, is prefaced by a Ray
age 53. She’s published four young adult Bradbury quote, it isn’t science fiction about Mars:
(YA) novels: her first, Freak Observer, won the title is a pun on workers in big box stores, or
the William C. Morris debut fiction award and a “Marts,” that mirror an America in the near future.
gold medal in the 2010 Moonbeam Children’s Book High school student Zoë and her classmates learn
Awards; her third, Black Helicopters, won the High suddenly that schools are being privatized, they’re

70
all now graduates, and they will be either working in MARTians
mega-marts or exiled to factory/prison camps. Soon, Zoë
By Blythe Woolston | Candlewick Press, softcover,
is one of the MARTians at AllMART. “Wanting is only 224 pages, $16.99
human. Humans are only wants. My purpose is to see tiny
seeds of wanting that I can magnify and satisfy. Then,
because I am human too, I will want stuff. The cycle is fiction. It gives me fresh
so beautiful. I will belong,” says Zoë, known as Zero at ideas and perspectives.
AllMART, where “Your smile is the AllMART welcome
mat.” MQ: How do you
Zoë gamely navigates the Kafkaesque labyrinth of create your teen char-
consumer dystopia that is AllMART, but life outside work acters’ perspectives and
is equally perplexing. The housing market and economy voice?
have collapsed, Zoë’s mother has left to look for work, and BW: Characters are
Zoë is alone in her deserted suburb. She’s found by an individuals. The most
optimistic teen with the motto, “Always look for the ones important thing I do is
who need help,” who convinces her to join his community respect that individual-
of squatters in an abandoned mini-mall. ity. It is worth listening
While the corporatized, violent, and misogynistic world to conversations—just
of MARTians is disturbingly familiar, Woolston balances everyday conversations.
the bleakness with comedic satire, quirky details, and It doesn’t matter if I am
moments of hope. The teen characters’ voices are an conversing with a person who is 5 or 15 or 95, I am aware
accurate blend of naïveté and bravado, and their strug- that there is a lot that goes unsaid or is misunderstood.
gles will likely resonate with teen readers. All four novels I am dialed in to that confusion and uncertainty—the
are less plot-driven than they are a progression of char- fragility of our human connections. That probably contrib-
acters’ observations of the dystopian world around them. utes to the perspective and voice of the characters I write.
Woolston is an elegant and concise writer who infuses her
YA novels with mature and profound observations. MQ: What is your niche in the young adult (YA) genre?
Woolston is a former Montana State University BW: YA encompasses all genres. The YA I’m drawn to
Bozeman writing professor and currently works as a book is very raw, unmediated, and intimate. It is often simul-
indexer in addition to writing novels. She lives with her taneously lyrical and brutal. It doesn’t pull any punches
family in Billings. when it shows me the world.

Montana Quarterly: How did you transition from writ- MQ: Who do you think of as your audience while writ-
ing teacher to writer? ing your books?
Blythe Woolston: It wasn’t planned. I never taught BW: I think of my audience as brains, mostly. Ordinary
creative writing—basic composition and tech writing was brains trying to figure out the world.
my job. It was a gradual drift during 15 years of doing
other sorts of things, like proofreading computer manuals MQ: What attracts you to writing about contemporary
and writing back-of-the-book indexes. or near-future dystopias?
BW: I just write about the world; my dystopias are
MQ: What is book indexing? ready-made. I amplify existing elements. That is my work-
BW: As a professional indexer, I get the book from around for limited imagination.
the publisher, read it, make sense of it, and help future
readers do the same. I finished an index for a book about MQ: Montana is central in both Black Helicopters and
ecology and nature’s economy this morning. Next on the Catch and Release. How does living in Montana influence
plate is a book about Machiavelli. When I’m working your books’ environments?
on both an index and a novel, as I am today, I split my BW: Living in Montana shapes the way I encounter
time between the two. The nonfiction does influence the and understand events. I love the way fish rise, the loyalty

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 71
of dogs, the green ice on the river. That’s why my stories include those
“Montana” things. People have tough lives and hard choices every-
where, but Montana is my observable truth.

MQ: Is it difficult to live in the dystopian worlds you write about, and
what do you fear will come true?
BW: Yes, it is difficult. As for which I fear will come true: families
go broke during medical catastrophes, drug-resistant infections are
increasingly common and deadly, suicide and terrorism are both on the
rise, and corporatism is pretty much a done deal.

MQ: How do you research the specialized knowledge in your books,
from fly fishing in Catch and Release, to scientific theory in Freak
Observer, to conspiracy theory in Black Helicopters, to corporate culture
in MARTians?
BW: Sometimes the random study I do because of indexing is an
influence, but most of the time, the stories accumulate as a body of facts
(sometimes for years) before they ever come out as fiction.

MQ: There are few reliable adults in your novels. Do you think this
is a common teen experience?
BW: I don’t know about what most teens experience, but I am
certainly aware of my own inadequacies as an adult and a parent. I do
think there is an essential tension between the generations—ambiva-
lence about the inevitable changes in the relationship between them.
The parents in my books are often buckling under pressures beyond
their control: economic hardship, grief, mental illness. I think a lot of
teens see that happening in their own homes.

MQ: What is it about championing the family we make, over the
family we’re born into, that fits a young adult audience?
BW: It is that time in life when we step out into the world and
meet the goodly creatures, beauteous mankind, like Miranda in
Shakespeare’s The Tempest. We meet them and interact and discover
who we are—beyond our home and family. The family we choose
reflects our discovery of ourselves, who we are, and who we might be.
That process happens within the family first, but it’s the family we
“find” that lets us choose our independent identity.

MQ: Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?
BW: You have to figure it out for yourself. Take some chances. Don’t
look for prescriptions, tips, or techniques that worked for another brain
and another story.

MQ: What is your next project?
BW: It is a book currently without a title. I can safely say I have no
idea what it’s about or what will become of it. The next book scheduled
for publication is a picture book.

72
BOOK R EV I EWS B Y E L I S E AT C H I S O N

The Many Faces of Montana
P
eople have been writing about Montana for two in Yellowstone County), he explores how our state has
centuries, and people have been telling stories changed over the years. “I had no idea what I was look-
about Montana for much longer than that. We ing for on this journey, but the further I delved into the
continue to be drawn to stories about this place because project, the more I realized ... I wanted ... to explore the
each new one brings something different to the table, connection between our past and our present.”
either with a fresh perspective or a new way of telling Rowland structures his book around the major forces
the story. Montana is many things to many people, and that have shaped Montana, including the mining and
what writers choose to focus on often reflects what’s timber industries, the railroads, farming and ranch-
most important to them. While Russell Rowland’s ing, Native Americans, politics, and the Bakken oil
travel memoir gravitates toward towns and ranches and boom. He isn’t afraid to shine a light on the darker
the industries that dominate Montana, Pete Fromm’s sides of Montana: our state’s high rate of alcoholism and
wilderness memoir traverses Montana’s vast backcoun- suicide, the atrocities of the Indian Wars and the Indian
try where grizzlies and intrepid humans have roamed Removal Act, and the environmental devastations and
for millennia, and Sid Gustafson’s novel tells the tale economic despair of boom-and-bust economies, which
of rural life and loss on the edge of the Blackfeet left a legacy of Superfund sites, including the Berkeley
Reservation. These three books provide us with new Pit and the Libby asbestos contamination.
ways to understand our diverse state. Rowland chronicles the changing face of our state
as we move away from the old economies of resource
extraction into new economies that rely on a clean and
FIFTY-SIX COUNTIES: healthy environment, but these changes do not come
easy. “In my travels, I observed ... a stubborn deter-
A Montana Journey mination to hang on to old ideas, old ways of making a
By Russell Rowland | Bangtail Press, softcover, living. ... Often those areas ... most reluctant to change
415 pages, $22.95
were suffering the most. ... The towns in Montana
that seem to be doing the best are the ones that have
In Fifty-Six Counties, embraced new possibilities.”
Russell Rowland travels to Rowland is buoyed by the hope and resilience he
all of Montana’s counties and sees in the Montana people. He spotlights individuals
emerges with a complex and who are making a difference in Montana today, includ-
fascinating portrait of our ing Sarah Calhoun, who founded Red Ants Pants,
vast and varied state. While a successful company that also sponsors an annual
no one book can hold all of music festival and provides grants to rural women; and
Montana, this one packs an Adrian Jawort, a Northern Cheyenne writer and editor
immense amount into its 416 who publishes many young indigenous writers and who
pages. The strength of this worked with Rowland to start the Native American Race
travel memoir lies not only Relations and Healing Symposium in Billings. “As long
in Rowland’s curiosity and as one person in these small towns is figuring out a way
thoroughness, but also in his to contribute and bring the community together, there is
personal perspective on the current state of Montana. that chance of piling up those small increments of hope,
The book mixes heavily researched history with brick by brick.”
subjective, experiential encounters with the people While some might feel that Rowland has judged their
and places of contemporary Montana. As Rowland towns too quickly after his brief visits, he joins a long
travels from the smallest county seat (Winnett in line of travel writers who create impressionistic portraits
Petroleum County) to the largest Montana city (Billings of the places they visit. What Rowland offers us in

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 73
Fifty-Six Counties is an ambitious personal journey into bears of his approach, but the wind and rain and river
the complexities of Montana and an instinctual inter- drown him out. He comes upon battling grizzlies and
pretation of place that is worth pondering. This book a half-eaten elk calf carcass, and he stares down at
belongs on the shelves of any reader with a serious grizzly tracks covering his own boot prints. “I start
interest in Montana’s past and future. my descent, bellowing the national anthem. ... It’s not
impossible to feel ridiculous.” At one point he recounts
an earlier nighttime bear encounter that will leave
THE NAMES OF THE even veteran wilderness adventurers shaking in their
STARS: A Life in the Wilds armchairs.
His intense fear of bears is matched only by his
By Pete Fromm | Thomas Dunne Books, hardcover, fierce longing for his boys, age 6 and 9, whom he
272 pages, $25.99
unwillingly left at home. A single glance at the Batman
pillow his son gave him leaves him “barely able to swal-
In the wilderness memoir Indian Creek Chronicles, low, let alone breathe.” Fromm desperately wanted his
Pete Fromm wrote about his adventures as a clueless boys to be there to experience the thrill of peering down
20-year-old greenhorn heading out for a winter alone badger holes and pulling cutthroats from the mother of
in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness to babysit salmon all beaver ponds. He sees the wild magnified through
eggs. Twenty-five years later, Fromm, no longer a foot- the excitement and wonder of his little boys, something
loose young man but now a middle-aged father of two, he wants to encourage wholeheartedly.
returns to the wild to tend grayling eggs in the
Bob Marshall Wilderness.
The Names of the Stars recounts not only
Fromm’s experience in the Bob Marshall, but,
as the subtitle A Life
in the Wilds implies,
the book also chron-
icles a lifetime love
affair with the wild.
Fromm weaves seam-
lessly between his
varied wilderness
experiences, including
his childhood camp-
ing trips and college
backcountry treks, his
Indian Creek esca-
pade, his time as a river ranger in Grand Teton
National Park, and most prominently his month
of mud and bears in “The Bob.” His willingness
to jump into new adventures is summed up in the
statement: “I could, I figured, learn on the job.”
Every day in the Bob Marshall he hikes
through grizzly country to two grayling incuba-
tor sites, climbing up the steep, sun-broiled “Hill
of Doom” and down through the “Hansel and
Gretel” stretch of dark woods with “long black
claws and gleaming white teeth bristling behind
every branch.” He shouts and sings to warn the

74
Fromm traces the roots of his passion for the wild to moondrivers by profession,
a moment when his usually rule-bound father set him traveling the backcountry
loose to run free through ponds and fields in pursuit roads and sharing watch over
of a rocket they set off. That exhilarating experience, Pondera County darkness.
like the first taste of heroin for an addict, led to a life- Dr. Vallerone has spent his
time search for that sheer joy and exuberance. “Try not life freewheeling “his laden
to howl, not to let loose the wildness you feel building rig over the countryside
inside you, a rush unknown, unsuspected, something from horse to cow, all those
you’ve yet to understand, at twelve years old, that you foothill ridges and prairies,
will crave for the rest of your days.” all those snowy roads. His
Fromm is as much at home in the thickets of mission: bringing life into
language as he is in the middle of the wilderness. His the world.” Vallerone, who is
crystalline prose evokes that surge of delight we feel both an author and a natu-
when we hear the mournful howl of a wolf or the “rifle- ropathic veterinarian like Gustafson, eschews drugs
shot thwack” of a beaver tail. One night while Fromm and vaccines, instead relying on nutrition and exercise
floats the silvered Snake River under a full moon, he and the power of intuition to treat his animal patients.
thinks, “What on earth did other people live for?” He has “learned to think like a horse and cow,” and he
The Names of the Stars is a beautiful tribute to that communicates with animals in their language, a body
urgent, visceral feeling that means we are still alive in language “where the slightest gesture tells the biggest
this wild, wild world. This book will be savored by all truth.” “Fingers mended and nourished animals up and
those who cannot live without wild things. down the Rocky Mountain Front. ... As he healed, he
taught the animal keepers to see the world from their
animals’ viewpoint, both the domestic and the wild
SWIFT DAM perspective ... a medicine man of the oldest order, an
intuitive physician.”
By Sid Gustafson | Open Books, softcover,
150 pages, $15.95
A potent nostalgia permeates this book, reminis-
cent of A.B. Guthrie’s novels, a wistful longing for
halcyon days when the buffalo roamed the plains
Swift Dam by Sid Gustafson tells the tale of two men, instead of cattle and when the “nature-savvy Indians”
the aging veterinarian Dr. Fingers Vallerone and the lived in harmony with the land. The book embraces
young Blackfeet sheriff Bird Oberly, who live in the Native American spirituality and lore, as told through
small agricultural community of Conrad, Montana, Vallerone’s perspective, a white man who admires
near the edge of the Blackfeet Reservation. The story Indian mysticism and incorporates it into his naturo-
weaves back and forth through time, telling Vallerone’s pathic veterinary philosophy and his relationship with
life story from the Swift Dam failure in 1964 to half animals. The 1964 Swift Dam failure, which killed
a century later when he returns to the dam to come to many Indians who lived in the drainage below, is a
terms with his life. symbol of the tragic effects of Manifest Destiny. “In
On the first page of the book, Sheriff Oberly receives 1914, Swift Dam went up ... altering the Birch Creek
a phone call from Vallerone’s son reporting that his tide of life. ... Water tripled and quadrupled the bounty
elderly father is missing. Oberly knows that his friend extracted from a piece of land. Not without a price. ...
has a tendency to disappear into the wide open, some- The Earth and Indians pay the price.”
times for practical reasons such as birthing a calf, and By the end of this meditative, smoothly written book,
other times for more nebulous and existential reasons the mystery of Vallerone’s disappearances and the
such as wandering the labyrinth of his memory. Oberly enigma of the black bag are resolved and we understand
also knows that Vallerone’s son is more worried about how the Flood of ’64 reverberates through the lives of
the mysterious black bag Vallerone carries than he is the characters. This book is a testimony to the danger-
about his father’s whereabouts. ous hubris of man, a witness to what is passing away,
Both Oberly and Vallerone are nighthawks and and a celebration of the wild power of nature.

M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 75
FICTION

Off Side
BY L AURA JEAN SCHNEIDER

ILLUSTRATIONS BY MONTE L. HURLBERT

76
W
hen his horse dropped and slid down the
bank, he heard a sickening crack and
knew immediately the mare had broken
her leg. But he was wrong. It was his
own limb twisted underneath her body,
his right leg flung free of the stirrup, her hooves flailing to
find her footing in the slick.
In this moment, he couldn’t feel his left foot. But he
knew as soon as that sweaty roan body rose, he’d be hit with
a feeling so fierce and animal he might just holler out. He
hung on as she lunged up onto her front legs and got her
hinds underneath her. She stood quivering, blowing through
her nose in quick rushes of breath, flipping her ears back
and forth in quick jerky movements, flanks heaving.

77
Again he wondered why he’d dismounted, why he
hadn’t just pointed the mare toward home, left the
old bull for another day. His stubbornness. Curse it.

The mare nearly unseated him when he dinner-plate-sized tracks near a seep, and had
couldn’t keep back a bitter holler. She was tracked him until they climbed a ridge and
usually a gentle, sensible thing, one he’d raised disappeared on the rocky ground. Stonecrop
himself, but the fall had spooked her. When she crept over the lichen-covered rocks, and worm-
settled, he looked down for the first time. His wood stood stiff and brittle from the winter,
foot was mashed inward at a sickening angle. pale minty shoots working their way through
The oak stirrup had done its job, and although the old growth toward the wan spring sunlight.
it was broken, it seemed he could pull his foot The wind had been whipping on the flat, and
out with a little effort. He looked for a place to he’d thought to drop back down into the shelter
get off, settled on positioning the mare in the of the coulee, ride up a ways to see if old Jeb
bottom of the coulee they’d slid into so he could had the same idea.
step off on the uphill side. Slipping his bad foot He didn’t remember the moment when the
free, he swung his good leg over the saddle and mare Frosty had slipped, but now he saw the ice
balanced awkwardly. Holding his reins in one glittering underneath the north-facing slope he’d
hand he talked to the mare, soothing clucks and pointed her down. A horse-sized scrape plowed
throaty gibberish that meant nothing at all but mud all the way to the bottom. His trapped leg
to stay steady. had made a zigzag shape across the slope. He
He had become a man who talked to no one sat against the bank of the coulee and worked
but his horses. his bad leg straight in front of him, grinding his
With his knee bent, he eased his foot from teeth, fighting the desire to upchuck his lunch.
the crumpled stirrup. His leg dropped to the The mare had calmed herself and was content
ground with a bright white flash of pain, and to nibble on the tender green of spring weeds
he leaned against the roughout of the saddle sprouting from the damp bank. In his hands, the
leather and closed his eyes, stomach roiling. reins felt like something alive. He could feel the
He’d done a stupid thing, getting off. It was the mare breathing, the hum of her pulse running
kind of unthinking mistake his father would up and down like a message trapped in some
have thrashed him for had he been 50-some old-fashioned telegraph line.
years younger. But he was not 50-some years Sonofabitch it throbbed.
younger. Here he was, edging up on 70. He’d He was sure it was at least his ankle, maybe
known better than to think about getting off— some fracture on his leg bone lower down. He
for there was the getting back on to contend didn’t figure it’d do much good to pull his boot
with—but his brain had frozen a bit just then. off. Right now, it was acting as a brace and
That had been happening lately. He recalled doing some good. He stalled; looked up. Stringy
with unease a time or two that he’d headed out clouds wandered across the sky. The wet soil
on horseback and forgot midway just what he soaked into his jeans. Again he wondered why
was after. he’d dismounted, why he hadn’t just pointed the
But he knew what he’d been after today, mare toward home, left the old bull for another
an old Hereford bull that hadn’t yet showed day. His stubbornness. Curse it. But maybe the
up this spring. Probably winterkill, he deaf boy who day-worked for him could come up
figured. But he’d come across Jeb’s broken here and bring in the bull. He was dog gentle,

78
old as the hills, that bull. That’s an idea, he thought, I’ll damp earth with its rich decadent scents of life and lust.
have Calvin do it. The mare had run out of weeds to bite off. Although she
He pushed himself to a stand and drew smooth- poked her nose at the reins, he pulled at her mouth, asking
handled steel fence pliers from his saddlebag and braced her to stay where she was. She waited impatiently, bobbing
himself against the mare, talking again his low-toned her head, staring hard at distant things only she could see.
nonsense muckering, shortening his inside rein and taking Once, she whinnied, a high-pitched lonesome sound he
a tentative whack at the stirrup with the pliers to see knew would go unanswered.
what the mare would do. She stood as solidly as her sire From where he sat, the bank of the coulee looked verti-
would have, a big bay stud Art had kept until he’d started cal. For a second he wondered why he’d ridden down it.
shooting blanks. He’d put him down without any remorse: Used to going anywhere on horseback, but this seemed
the horse’s job was over. But Frosty, with her wise eyes, too risky from here. No wonder the mare had fallen. If he
was something like the bay, and he’d hung on to her even could get back on her, he’d ride back through the bottom.
though he’d sworn off mares years ago. But he’d have to mount on the off side, and that was the
It was awkward working on the stirrup, balancing on his reason he was taking his time.
good leg, spitting every now and then as the exertion made He’d had trouble with mixing certain things up ever
him lightheaded. When the stirrup resembled the original since he was a sprout. Left and right, north and south. He
shape enough that he figured he might could get his swell- could rope and ride and get the job done, but sometimes he
ing foot back in it, he returned the pliers to his saddlebag froze under his father’s scowl, over the frantic commands
and sank back onto the ground. He stuck his head between to reverse what he was doing to save himself from a wreck.
his knees and took a breath. He smelled the rank tang of Often he didn’t get his head wrapped around it before the
his unwashed hair, the soaked sweatband of his hat, the stock trailer jackknifed or he rim-fired his horse. Countless

80
times he’d stood on the right side of his mount, ready to bolted and he was flung to the side like a discarded
swing on. But that leg and his brain didn’t work together, blanket. Rising on his elbows in the mud, he sighted
they went separate directions. Even with his father whip- the ribby jackrabbit bounding away and he beat his
ping at him with his rope, hollering to get that leg in the broken rein in the dirt. He didn’t want to watch, but the
stirrup and just swing over, he could not. Mid-swing, his mare was such a pretty mover. That springy trot, those
leg would falter, his mind as blank as a clean sheet of go-for-miles haunches. Almost he forgave her. But at
paper. The welts would rise under his shirt as he sank the middle of himself it stung him that she, too, had left
back into his boot heels and hung his head, trying to shield without a glance back, that one more time he’d been
his horse from the blows. screwed over.
He hadn’t tried it in half a century. Rolling onto his back, he stared up at the sky. Already
It was as if the mare had tapped into his anxious the light was shifting, sending long shadows of nearby
thoughts. She refused to stand still as he turned her so mullein plants over his face. He slid down the bank and
he was once again uphill, limping, his boots slipping and grabbed at a clump of sagebrush to right himself. He
doubled in size from the mud. Don’t fall, he told himself, picked up his hat from where it had rolled when he fell
or you go underneath her and you can’t ask for two pieces and snapped the top snap on his jean jacket. Slowly he
of good luck in one day. He knew he’d have to do it all in started out, following Frosty’s deep cupped-out prints in
one fast motion once his good leg was in the stirrup: he the mud.
couldn’t put more than a sneeze’s weight on the bad one. His foot was alive with pain. He imagined the flask
It would have to be up and over, smooth. he carried in his saddlebag, forgotten until it had headed
He saw black dots before his eyes as he lifted his home with Frosty. Wasn’t that just his luck though, he
bad leg, and he wasn’t but partway over when the mare marveled, to never know what he’d had until it left him.

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M O N TA N A Q U A R T E R LY 81
CONTRIBUTORS

Alexis Marie Adams Alan Kesselheim has Erik Petersen has been
lives with her family near written for the Montana photographing life in
Montana’s Beartooth Quarterly from its start and Montana for more than
Mountains and on the counts it among the most a decade. He lives in the
southern Peloponnese valuable outlets in his 30- Shields Valley with his
Peninsula in Greece. Her year freelance career. He wife and sons. Petersen’s
writing has appeared in the has written 11 books, most website can be found at
Boston Globe, the Washington Post, AFAR and recently Montana: Real Place, Real People, with www.erikpetersenphoto.com.
The Art of Eating, among other publications. photographer Thomas Lee.
Allen Russell lives and
Elise Atchison lives in Kris King grew up in works out of his ranch
a cabin on the edge of Montana and loves it anew west of Livingston. His
the Absaroka-Beartooth with every season change. photographs have been
wilderness. Her work has She’s been writing articles used extensively worldwide
appeared in South Dakota for a quarter century and by major advertising,
Review, Jackson Hole has interviewed authors for corporate and editorial
Review, Cutthroat Journal, Montana Quarterly since its clients and hang in numerous personal
on Reflections West Radio and elsewhere. Her inception. It’s her favorite writing gig ever. collections. His website is at
website is at www.eliseatchison.com. www.AllenRussellPhoto.com.
Butch Larcombe grew up
Adam Boehler studied in Malta, Montana, and Laura Jean Schneider
journalism and English at worked as newspaper has an MFA in fiction
the University of Montana reporter and editor for writing. She writes an
for nearly a decade. more than 25 years. essay web series, Ranch
More recently, he’s been He was the editor of Diaries, for High Country
been a columnist for the Montana Magazine and News. The 2014 winner
Park County Community the managing editor of the Helena Independent of Montana Quarterly’s
Journal. He lives in Livingston. Record. He lives in Big Fork with his wife Jane. Big Snowy Prize, she now writes from New
Mexico and will be presenting at the Western
Gabriel Furshong lives Montana Quarterly Senior Literature Association this fall in Big Sky,
in Missoula, Montana. Photographer Thomas Lee’s Montana.
His writing has appeared latest book is Montana:
in High Country News, Real Place, Real People, Marshall Swearingen has
the Earth Island Journal, with Al Kesselheim. He clambered over a fair share
the CutBank Literary accepts commissions for of deadfall in The Bob and
Magazine, and other speaking engagements in his home mountains
publications. and commercial, editorial and fine art imagery at along the northern edge
www.ThomasLeePhoto.com and of Greater Yellowstone. He
Monte L. Hurlbert has www.ThomasLeeTrueWest.com. contributes to High Country
been an artist, a con News and Last Best News, and is settling
artist, a boxer, fisherman Scott McMillion is the editor down in Livingston.
and horse skinner. He of the Montana Quarterly.
lives in Bozeman, where His journalism and essays Lido Vizzutti is a
he enjoys conjugal appear in magazines around documentary, editorial,
bliss, children and the country and an updated and commercial
grandchildren. edition of his award-winning photographer living with
book, Mark of the Grizzly his wife and business
Louise Johns is a freelance (Lyons Press), came out in 2011. He lives in partner in his hometown
photographer based in Livingston with his wife Jennifer and a cat of Missoula. His work
Bozeman, Montana. named Norman. appears regularly in national and regional
She holds a BA in publications. He is officially addicted to
photojournalism from the M. Mark Miller is a fifth- running and locally brewed beverages.
University of Montana. generation Montanan who
As a National Geographic writes about state and
Young Explorer, her current work is focused regional history. His latest
on stories about the relationship between book is The Stories of
people, landscape and the wild in the Greater Yellowstone. He lives in
Yellowstone Ecosystem. Bozeman.

82
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Truth in Engineering Sales: 406.586.1772

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