Swift DFam cover

‘Swift Dam’ a mesmerizing account of family, remembrance

Before reading Sid Gustafson’s new novel, “Swift Dam,” the only thing I’d seen of his was a short story in the winter 2015-16 edition of The Montana Quarterly.

The story was uncommonly good, but I didn’t even recall reading it until I had finished this novel. What really prompted me to pick up “Swift Dam” was my fascination with the Gustafson family.


Fundraiser helps remember Wade Christiansen

wade christiansen

Wade Christiansen ran out of chances in May 2013. But chances for other wounded veterans live on through Operation Second Chance, a group he worked with in Red Lodge.

Operation Second Chance and partners are holding a barbecue fundraiser on Sunday, July 3, to raise money for the Wade Christiansen Purple Heart Scholarship Fund, which is administered at Montana State University Bozeman. According to the fund’s website, $22,320 has been raised so far toward the fund’s goal of $50,000. Continue Reading →

Montana Ethic Project: What we owe Theodore Roosevelt


This is the 17th chapter of the 32-part video series “The Montana Ethic Project.” This chapter features former Montana Secretary of State Bob Brown speaking on “Teddy Roosevelt’s Shadow in Montana’s Big Sky.”

You can watch the whole video below. Here is how it begins:

“Theodore Roosevelt disliked the nickname Teddy. However, he loved Montana, and he is deeply connected to our state.” Continue Reading →

Opinion: Beware the ‘Counterfeit Constitutionalists’


On the coming 4th of July, our hearts will swell with pride as the Stars and Stripes lead our local Independence Day parades. That flag reflects an American reality of which we are all rightfully proud.

Despite its imperfections, we live in a great country, with a remarkable democratic governmental structure that is the envy of the world—the bedrock of our national identity. We are a government of, by and for the people. We are a nation of laws, not of men and their whims and fancies. Continue Reading →

Prairie Lights: More reasons for hope, for ignoring T- – – –


I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how cities like Billings seem to be islands of optimism and innovation in a sea of political dysfunction and pessimism.

Recently—better late than never—I finally got around to reading a similar argument, made by James Fallows in the March issue of The Atlantic. It was similar only in terms of some of Fallows’ conclusions. His lengthy piece, unlike my column, involved a good number of case studies, actual statistics and lots of good reporting. Continue Reading →

No place like home, Hardin physician finds

Kirsten Morissette

Like a lot of small-town girls, Kirsten Morissette couldn’t wait to finish high school and get out of town. A few years later, she couldn’t wait to get back.

Morissette’s family goes back four generations in Hardin. Her great-grandfather, she said, essentially kidnapped and eloped with her great-grandmother, and they became homesteaders at Hardin. Family members have been justices of the peace and started the Purple Cow restaurant. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Governor’s energy plan will help solar grow


Thomas Edison said in 1931, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

Three quarters of a century later, the promise of solar energy is finally being realized. The price of solar panels has dropped by more than half since 2009, and there are now more jobs in solar in this country than there are in oil and gas extraction or coal mining. Continue Reading →