Wild, Wild Western: Film and Literature in Montana
From the time that the American West was ‘settled,’ the events of that pioneering time have often been elevated to a form of romantic heroism seldom seen in world literature. Even the outlaws of the West became big, bold figures who bravely faced down adversity to accomplish feats noble and enviable.
The Western identity has been suffering from this misguided attempt at revisionist history ever since. Rather than telling the story of the West in a way that was authentic and accurate, writers often surrendered to the stereotypes that were born in those early days. And sadly, these stereotypes continue to be swallowed whole and regurgitated by writers and artists and moviemakers who have never even been out West, much less immersed themselves in its culture.
To read the rest of Rowland’s Wild Western Essay, find this issue on newsstands. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.
Native American Ledger Art
The Bureau of Indian Affairs agents and others conducting commerce on the frontier in the late 1800s never imagined the pages of their accounting ledgers and mundane business forms would become backgrounds for what are now rare works of Native American art of historical significance.
Even though often filled with neatly penned Spenserian entries, the recycled papers allowed the indigenous Plains Indians to continue their pictorial tradition of depicting important battles and other major events previously recorded on animal hides and as pictographs on rock walls.
Ledger art originated at a time when the entire culture of Native Americans was being threatened by continued conflict with the U. S. government from the mid- to late 1800s. At the same time, the preferred hide of the buffalo had been hunted almost to extinction. In the hands of Native American chiefs and warriors who traditionally did the artwork, commercially available colored pencils, crayons and inks replaced mineral and plant pigments found on the prairies, resulting in poignant imagery rich in detail.
To learn more about the rich history and ledger art artists of Montana, find this issue on newsstands. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.
Portfolio by Jason Savage: Winter in Montana
Jason Savage started his photography career focusing on landscape. It was the richness of landscape that brought the Washington native to Montana to live and work.
In recent years he has expanded his attention to wildlife photography, but he contends that he approaches the subject with the eye of a landscape photographer.
To view Jason’s full portfolio, find this issue on newsstands. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.
Charles Lindbergh: Young Vikings of the Air
Few today can imagine the mania that accompanied Charles Lindbergh on his visit to Montana in 1927.
Just two months after his epic solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, the Lone Eagle and the Spirit of St. Louis embarked on a 22,000-mile, 48-state tour of the United States to promote commercial aviation. The tour brought him and his entourage to Montana in early September of that year.
Here, as in other states, he was met by enthusiastic crowds eager to see the “Young Viking of the Air” and, perhaps, hear him speak about his recent transatlantic adventure. In that, they were sorely disappointed.
Butte was Lindbergh’s first Montana stop, on September 5. Wearing the leather jacket he wore on his transatlantic flight a few months earlier, Lindbergh climbed down from the Spirit of St. Louis to the cheers of 15,000 fans.
To read the rest of Axline’s story on Lindbergh’s grand visit, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.