Missouri River

Recent Posts

Opinion: On the Musselshell, lessons in working together


The Musselshell River is home to fewer than 10,000 people, but is a golden example of what makes Montana special and how Montanans are working to keep it that way. The Musselshell flows 342 miles through the heart of Montana from Martinsdale to the Missouri River, irrigating nearly 85,000 acres on 250 farms and ranches. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Novel, website plumb Montana nostalgia

You probably have already noticed the main problem with this book. I’m no prude, but I found myself hesitating to read it in public. On a recent flight out of state, when I was still reading the book, I was careful to extract it from my carry-on bag without flashing the cover in front of any other passengers. (more…) Continue Reading →

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In Missouri River country, a nice chance to slow down


Driving back to Billings from Great Falls on Wednesday, I took a long detour. I was in the mood for back roads, for one thing, and I specifically wanted to see the one-room schoolhouse—right next door to a nuclear missile silo—that I’d visited in 1999. That visit was part of the week-long journey I made with photographer David Grubbs, driving from Yaak to Alzada on unpaved roads and then writing up our experiences for the Billings Gazette. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Clearing the air on the clean-water pipeline protests


The dramatic footage from Amy Goodman’s Sept. 3 “Democracy Now!” show brought up images of 1963 Birmingham, Ala., when deputies under the orders of segregationist Sheriff “Bull” Connor attacked civil rights protesters with dogs and fire hoses. “To many people, the military tactics being used in North Dakota are reminiscent of the tactics used against protesters during the civil rights movement some 50 years ago. And I believe that there are similarities there,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Author sifts gems from Montana history

In 1881, Martha Edgerton Rolfe Plassmann, the daughter of Montana’s first territorial governor, made her way down the Missouri River from Fort Benton aboard the steamboat Far West. In a detailed account of the journey, she wrote of the alarm she and other passengers felt when they learned that the Far West was to stop at Fort Buford, near present-day Williston, to pick up Sitting Bull and his band of Sioux Indians and transport them to Standing Rock Agency, south of Bismarck. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Murder mystery takes readers deep into the Missouri Breaks

In the summer of 2013, when I was working on a story for the Montana Quarterly about the Shonkin Sag and Lost Lake, the Sag’s most spectacular geological feature, I was continually amazed at how little known they were. I made a point of asking every native Montanan I ran into, including a handful of native Montanans who also happened to be geologists, about the Shonkin Sag, located southeast of Great Falls. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Missouri River bridge had big ‘part’ in ‘The Untouchables’


Former Montana Film Commissioner Gary Wunderwald was adept at finding what directors and producers needed, including dated cars, railroad beds, carnivals and waterfalls. One August afternoon in 1986, he fielded an especially challenging request. He was asked to find a 1930-period bridge—but it couldn’t be just any 1930-period bridge. On this bridge, Prohibition-era whiskey runners would clash with lawmen as part of Paramount Production’s “The Untouchables.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Eastern Montana is where?


Lay of the Land: A series of essays on the spirit of Montana
The Big Hole Valley is inextricably part of the family heritage — a distant relative ran his horses in its upper reaches; grandparents raised cattle on its lower stretches for decades. A high, wide riff that drains the snowpack from the peaks separating Montana and Idaho, it sources the longest river system in the United States. Although east of the divide geographically, the Big Hole River is nowhere close to Eastern Montana until the Missouri River meets the Musselshell at the Garfield County line on its way to filling Fort Peck Lake. Hunting waterfowl on the Big Hole River, one had to check the bag limits and season dates for the Central Flyway before shooting. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Montana’s own Niagara Falls

Except for a stint in the service, Hank Armstrong has lived most of his 86 years in the house his grandparents built in 1910, seven miles east of Geraldine, Montana. He is a local historian, seemingly familiar with every square inch of land for miles around his native hearth and the stories of everyone who has lived there over the decades. Continue Reading →

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