• It’s movie star season in Montana


    Leonardo DiCaprio looked the part of a Missoulian at Caras Park on Sunday. Courtesy photo

    Missoulians – especially those at the MADE Fair in downtown Caras Park – were excited by a couple of mega movie star sightings last weekend when Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire  were spotted shopping at the craft fair and buying coffee at a local shop.

    The Missoulian’s David Erickson has the story: 

    Chase Taylor might be one of the only people in the world who has talked with Leonardo DiCaprio – arguably one of the most famous celebrities on the planet – without having any idea who he was.

    Taylor spent Sunday at Caras Park helping his wife Paisley with her baby clothing business, Paisley Designs, at the Missoula MADE Fair, an alternative arts and crafts market featuring local artists.

    A bearded man walked by, and Taylor did what any good salesman would do. He called him over to check out the baby clothes.

    “My wife was out of the booth breast-feeding our son,” Taylor recalled. “Leo wasn’t interested in buying my wife’s clothes, but I pulled him in and talked to him. I was one of the very few people that got him to go into a booth. He was a very nice guy. It was a very brief conversation, and I gave him my business card and then he left. And then the lady next to me told me who he was. I had no idea.”

    The man was DiCaprio, a five-time Academy Award nominee who probably doesn’t enter into many conversations with people who don’t recognize him.

    “He looked like a normal Missoulian,” Taylor said. “He fit in very well. It was kind of cool to see someone that famous here on a very hot day.”

    Read the rest of the story here

  • A preview of our July/August issue cover. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    Preview: Our July/August issue hits mailboxes next week

    It’s heeeerreeee: Our summertime issue, that is.

    We can’t wait for you to read it. Below are a couple summertime stories you’ll find inside the July/August 9issue. But first, did you like our sneak peek of our amazing cover by photographer Kurt Wilson? It plays well with our main feature, Stages and Skies (see below).

    Red Ants Pants Music Festival takes over White Sulphur Springs in late July. Photo by Erik Petersen

    Red Ants Pants Music Festival takes over White Sulphur Springs in late July. Photo by Erik Petersen

    • We’re taking you to the best little music fest in the West
      • I can tell you that writer Kelsey Dayton did a beautiful job capturing the spirit of the Red Ants Pants Music Festival, a one-of-a-kind celebration that takes place “in the middle of nowhere,” and at the same time “the middle of everywhere.”
    • We’re all about the berries – huckleberries and pick-your-own strawberries that i
      • Aaron Theisen takes us to Trout Creek, which is officially (thanks to a legislative designation) the huckleberry capitol of the state. Jessica Lowry went hunting for berries as well, and found a more domesticated, but equally as sweet, set of fruit in her pick-your-own story. Lowry will introduce you to two farms in particular that allow pickers to find and savor the sweetness of summer.
    Ivan O'Neill is one of the founding members of the Over the Hill Gang. Photo by Beck Lomax

    Ivan O’Neill is one of the founding members of the Over the Hill Gang. Photo by Beck Lomax

    • We’ll introduction you to the longest-running hiking crew inside Glacier National Park
      • They don’t pay dues and they don’t follow maps. And their status as hikers inside Glacier is legendary.
    • We’ll tell you about a yurt camp with some of the most delicious food west of the Mississippi
      • In the fourth installment of our The Last Best Plates series takes us to the American Prairie Reserve where gourmet dinners are served out of yurts.

    Ready to read yet? Here’s a couple summertime stories from last year to tide you over.

    – Jenna 

  • Today, the U.S. Forest Service calls the camp, "the most complete Depression-era mining camp remaining in western Montana." Photo by Kurt Wilson

    Step back in time: An old Montana mining camp

    It’s never a bad idea to take a moment to step back in time.

    Thanks to a dedicated family in western Montana, one of the state’s most complete Depression-era mining camps has been preserved. And, as Missoulian reporter Kim Briggeman reports, they welcome visitors:

    CEDAR CREEK – In a way, this remains George Gildersleeve’s Father’s Day gift.

    He was in his early 20s in 1924 when George convinced his father, Ike, and Ike’s brothers, Charlie and Lee, to move their mining attentions over the hill from the Trout Creek watershed to the headwaters of Cedar Creek.

    camp 3

    A old mine shaft at the camp is no longer open to entry because of sagging timbers. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    Most of a century later, you can search the old gold gulches of Montana and not find anything like the compound the Gildersleeves and the Kansas City Mining Co. built in 1930 and 1931 in Snowshoe Gulch.

    A U.S. Forest Service survey in 1995 called it “the most complete Depression-era mining camp remaining in western Montana.”

    Today it’s just as intact, just as secluded, and even more secure in its post-mining days as a family-owned complex of rough-hewn cabins, shacks and shops.

    George Gildersleeve was 88 in 1991 when he died in the Superior hospital, clinging fiercely to this haven 17 miles up the creek.

    Louis Weaver, who operated and maintained the mining camp for 30 years, shuffles through the front room of the old cookhouse where residents once held dances with as many as fifty people or more crowded into the space.

    Louis Weaver, who operated and maintained the mining camp for 30 years, shuffles through the front room of the old cookhouse where residents once held dances with as many as fifty people or more crowded into the space.

    “When he was up here, he felt that he was the king on the mountain,” Sue McLees, George’s lone surviving offspring, said. “As far as he was concerned, he owned all this.”

    “As far as you could see,” McLees said in unison with her niece, Anna Haskins. They smiled at the memory.

    Read the full story and take a photo tour of the camp here


  • The Arlee Celebration runs from July 1-5. Photo by Tom Bauer

    Hit the road for this beautiful celebration

    We’re quickly approaching a summer holiday weekend, and this year the Fourth of July falls on Saturday. Do you have plans?

    Care if we make a suggestion?

    How about the Arlee Celebration. Take a look:

    Wherever you are along the Western Montana corridor this summer, you don’t have to go far to find our one-of-a-kind Road Trip for June.

    That’s a good thing, because the Arlee Celebration is something everyone should experience.

    The Celebration powwow, including several days of traditional dancing and a host of other events, celebrates its 117th anniversary this year.

    • For the full Arlee Celebration schedule, click here

    The Arlee Celebration runs July 1-5 in Arlee.  The powwow grounds are located just east of Arlee, roughly 20 miles north of Missoula on Highway 93. Signs from the road will help guide you in.

    Photo by Tom Bauer

    Photo by Tom Bauer

    Last summer, up to 400 dancers participated in the West’s oldest continuous powwow. 

    It’s a powwow rooted in deep tradition and founded when Indian dances were illegal under Bureau of Indian Affairs rules.

    However, according to the Arlee Celebration website, the BIA and Indian police didn’t find it illegal to celebrate the Fourth of July.

    Read more here.

    We’ve got a ton more summertime stories in our upcoming July/August issue. Want to take a look? Subscribe today! 


  • Northern Lights near Shepherd. Photo by Jullie Powell

    Northern Lights wow sky watchers across Montana

    The Northern Lights made a stunning appearance throughout the western skies earlier this week, including a rare appearance in the southern portions of Montana and down into South Dakota.

    Luckily for all of us who slept through the show, a handful of Montana Magazine readers snapped photos and sent them in.

    Here are a few for your viewing pleasure:

    Northern Lights over the Bitterroot River near Hamilton. Photo by Tatum Haines

    Northern Lights over the Bitterroot River near Hamilton. Photo by Tatum Haines


    The moon lights up the sky before the Lights. Photo by Jullie Powell

    The moon lights up the sky before the Lights. Photo by Jullie Powell


    The Northern Lights near Rapelje. Photo by Regina Rigby

    The Northern Lights near Rapelje. Photo by Regina Rigby

  • Documentary filmmaker Jan Thompson, right, chats with Ben Steele, 97, a local artist and survivor of the Bataan Death March, and Lexi Winkelfoos, 18, left, a recent high school graduate that corresponded with Steele for years after writing a book report about him. Photo by Hannah Potes

    At 97, Montana war hero and artist gathering quite a fan base

    If you’re unfamiliar with Ben Steele’s story, it’s almost unbelievable. Certainly one of the most inspiring you’ll ever come across.

    The WWII veteran who was born in Roundup and survived the Baatan Death march and lived to become one of the Big Sky state’s greatest artists, is still making art at 97.

    Ben Steele, circa 1940.

    Ben Steele, circa 1940.

    As Jaci Webb of the Billings Gazette found out, his spirit (and work) means his fan base is still gaining followers as well.

    Lexi Winkelfoos traveled more than 1,000 miles to hear Ben Steele’s laugh.

    Winkelfoos, 18, of Mount Gilead, Ohio, said reading about the horrors that Steele endured on the Bataan Death March left her with one desire — to hear Steele laugh and know that he found happiness.

    Winkelfoos is one of a growing legion of the Billings artist’s fans. Those fans include actress Loretta Swit, who played “Hot Lips” Houlihan on the TV show “M.A.S.H.,” actor Alec Baldwin, who narrated a film about Steele and other POWs, and filmmaker Jan Thompson.

    Winkelfoos discovered Steele when she read Michael and Elizabeth Norman’s 2009 book “Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath,” and wrote a book report on it for her sophomore history class. Her teacher mailed that paper to Steele, 97, and a friendship was born, although the two are almost 80 years apart.

    On Thursday at a Billings assisted living facility where Steele lives, Steele kept chiding Winkelfoos, who is on her second trip to Billings to see Steele. He told her to watch out that she doesn’t fall off a horse and land in a yucca patch out at his daughter Julie Jorgenson’s Musselshell County ranch. Wilkelfoos teases him right back about his own riding days when he used to jump the fence to get to Will James’ place.

    “I don’t jump fences, or anything else, these days,” Steele said.

    Winkelfoos knows right where Steele keeps his latest sketch book and retrieves it when visitors come around. Steele’s eyes shine when Winkelfoos tells their story.

    Read the full story here

  • A storm and setting sun. Photo by Kayla Sandru

    Top reader photos: First-day-of-summer edition

    It’s that time again: Time to highlight some of the best Reader Photos we’ve gotten in the past weeks.

    This edition brings more than a hint of summer – which is appropriate because today marks the first official day of summer. We’ve got summer skies and summer wildflowers

    Hogeland, MT. Photo by Yvonne Moe Resch

    Hogeland, MT. Photo by Yvonne Moe Resch

    Enjoy! And if you have summer photos from around Montana you’d like to share, email editor@montanamagazine.com.

    Packers Meadow full of wildflowers. Photo by Ken Stolz

    Packers Meadow full of wildflowers. Photo by Ken Stolz


    Beargrass near Perma. Photo by Robin K. Ha'o

    Beargrass near Perma. Photo by Robin K. Ha’o

    National Bison Range. Photo by Jeff Nelson

    National Bison Range. Photo by Jeff Nelson

    Thanks to all who shared images. Happy Summer!


  • Glasgow resident Andrew McKean has authored and edited a new book titled “How to Hunt Everything.”  Photo by Max Gauthier

    Montana author pens book about how to hunt everything

    Our friend and contributor Andrew McKean has written a new book – and it’s taken on quite a monolithic topic.

    All things hunting. 

    As Billings Gazette reporter Brett French explains, it’s a big book by true Montana outsdoorsman.

    McKean has been the editor-in-chief of Outdoor Life magazine for five years, the perfect venue for launching such an extensive book. Outdoor Life used to have a publishing arm that churned out a variety of sporting books, and McKean is hoping to revive some of that tradition. Future titles could deal with fishing and cooking.

    In 60 chapters, “How to Hunt Everything” covers traditional North American game animals, like bighorn sheep and elk, to oddities like aardwolves — an insect-eating relative of the African hyena — and the Marco Polo argali sheep of Central Asia. Rather than break the sections of the book down by species or continent, though, McKean decided to tackle the animals by latitude, more befitting of the naturalist approach the book takes into exploring the different species.

    He also wanted the book to be a bit unpredictable, strange and intriguing to keep readers engaged. Chapters include such specifics as suggested firearms and loads, calls, clothing, field judging different animals’ size and even tips on hunting from a boat for Alaskan moose. None of the stories are very long, making for much quicker reading than it would initially appear for the 300-page hardcover book, and a vast array of full-color wildlife, scenic and hunting photographs provide aspirational fodder.

    Andrew McKean

    Andrew McKean

    McKean, who lives in Glasgow, wrote about one generous Montana hunter who donating his menagerie of trophies to the local children’s museum. It’s a truly wonderful Montana story.

    • Read the full story by McLean here

    As for McKean, his new book details personal stories about hunting in some more exotic locations.

    His most difficult and ceremonious hunt was in Germany. Dogs were used to push roe deer through the forest. He was only allowed to shoot a doe, a fact made very clear by the “autocratic leader” of the hunt, but the bucks had already lost their antlers, making it hard to quickly distinguish a buck from a doe. Luckily, McKean was able to fill his tag. Here’s a portion of that story, taking place after he made his shot, as it is recounted in the book: “First, the jaeger who picked me up cut a green twig and placed it in the dead animal’s mouth. This letzer bissen, or last meal, is a formal thanks to the game for giving its life to the hunter. Then the jaeger dipped another twig in the animal’s blood and stuck it in my hatband before delivering a stiff salute: ‘Weidmannsheil!’ The hunter is duty-bound to respond with an equally hearty ‘Weidmannsdank,’ the scripted congratulations and thanks for the hunt.”

    Read French’s full article here.


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