Images of the West

Visions of an ever-changing landscape


Images of the West: The Silence of Art

Fly Fishing 2010       Written By James R. Hepworth      

SO MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN about fly fishing and about poetry — and so little of it written well — that writing about poetry and fly-fishing should count as an…

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Images of the West: From Prostitutes to Polkas

Arts 2014       Written By Vranna Sue Hinck       Photography By Denis Defibaugh      

SHARP ROCKY CLIFFS RIDE ABOVE Silver Gate, Montana, a tiny smattering of log structures just outside the northeast gate of Yellowstone National Park. Only seven year-round residents make their home in…

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Images of the West: Yogo City or Bust

Spring & Summer 2009       Written By Cathy Moser      

THROUGHOUT THE LATTER HALF OF THE 19TH CENTURY, America’s social attitudes toward assimilating freed slaves into a white society, and the tumultuous politics fanned by greater negro disenfranchisement, had little,…

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Images of the West: Natural History

Winter 2013       Written By Paul Schullery      

TODAY IN YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, many expert wildlife watchers and thousands of casual passers-by are routinely treated to the wonder of wild grizzly and black bears roaming, foraging, preying, mating,…

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Images of the West: Restoring Butte

Winter 2009       Written By Richard I. Gibson      

THE SMOKE OF A TIRE WAREHOUSE FIRE LOOMED OVER BUTTE like an atomic bomb’s mushroom one day last June — the very day that 225 architects, historians, folklorists, tour guides, preservationists and…

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Images of the West: Authentic Artist Will James [1892-1942]

Arts 2012       Written By Allen Morris Jones      

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT COWBOYING THAT attracts storytellers. Louis L’amour or Lash LaRue, Howard Hawks or Henry Fonda, our notions of what it means to live a life on the range…

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Images of the West: Charles M. Russell, Photographing the Legend

Summer 2014       Written By Larry Len Peterson      

TODAY, IT IS DIFFICULT TO APPRECIATE the profound impact photography had on Americans, including Charlie Russell, for generations following the Civil War. Photography could either dazzle you or give you nightmares.…

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Images of the West: Cherry Creek Revisited

Fly Fishing 2014       Written By Kimberley K. Yablonski       Photography By Carter Kruse      

A CLEAR, CRISP DAY, A BREEZE against the skin, the gurgle of moving water, then, the flip of a tail, the eye catches the silvery flash of a shiny, slick, speckled…

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Images of the West: Big Sky Kodachrome

Winter 2015       By Bill Bilverstone      

It defies common sense, but many people think of the Great Depression and the early years of World War II in black and white. To some degree that’s because no…

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Images of the West: The Widow’s Pool

Fly Fishing 2009       Written By Bob Jacklin      

I FIRST HEARD ABOUT THE WIDOW’S POOL IN 1967, during my introductory trip to Yellowstone National Park and the West Yellowstone area. I was 22 years old, having just completed…

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Images of the West: The Wrong Horse

Summer 2015       Written By Cathy Moser      

Perhaps it was Sam Lucas who wrote “bay or brown colt” and “faint star” on Scottish Chieftain’s birth card dated February 24, 1894. Lucas was the superintendent of Thoroughbred training…

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Images of the West: Fallen Heroes

Summer 2011       Written By Cathy Moser      

LOOKING OUT TO THE HILLS AT THE Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument site today, one can see the eerie white tombstones memorializing American soldiers who fought with the 7th Calvary…

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Images of the West: Restoring Lewistown’s “Nectar of the Gods”

Fly Fishing 2011       Written By Cathy Moser      

THE LOCALS UNABASHEDLY CALL THEIR COLD, fertile Big Spring Creek “the lifeblood of Lewistown,” “Lewistown’s crown jewel,” and “nectar of the Gods.” And no wonder. Its headwaters, born of snowmelt and…

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Images of the West: Ghost Signs of Montana

Fly Fishing 2017       Written By Toby Thompson       Photography By Dr. Ken Jones      

In 1940’s Butte, a cabbie drops his fare before the Finlen Hotel’s Park Street entrance, looks up and spots a four-story-tall sign in red, white, and green, hawking Wrigley’s Spearmint…

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Images of the West: When All the Fish Were Natives

Fly Fishing 2012       Written By M. Mark Miller      

EARLY IN THE 19TH CENTURY, mountain men moved up the rivers of the Rocky Mountains trapping beaver. Soon they had caught everything within easy access, so they moved deeper into the…

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Images of the West: Stephen Mather: A Champion for Glacier

Summer 2016       Written By Michael J. Ober      

When the National Park Service emerged as a new federal agency in the Interior Department 100 years ago on August 25, 1916, nobody in Montana took much notice. It did…

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Images of the West: The Fifth Row, An Acoustic Tour of Historic Theaters

Arts 2009       Photography By Audrey Hall       Written By Ann Butterfield      

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT A MAN SITS ALONE with a guitar in a turn-of-the-century theater with only ghoses of the past as an audience. The seats will remain empty…

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Images of the West: Triumph of the Golden Bobcats

Fall 2015       By Jon C. Goodman      

On Saturday, Dec. 22, 1928, following back-to-back victories over the Colorado Teachers College (present day University of Northern Colorado), Montana State College head basketball coach Schubert Dyche dismissed his team…

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Images of the West: Montana’s Original Man Camps

Summer 2013       Written By Michael J. Ober      

LONG BEFORE THE BAKKEN OIL FILEDS MADE THE TERM “MAN CAMPS” FASHIONABLE, there were similar encampments all over western Montana. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the lumber…

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Images of the West: Cutthroat Goals

Fly Fishing 2015       Written By Michael J. Ober      

One warm summer day in 2002, a young boy in the Jewel Basin felt the end of his fishing rod bend violently. A large fish was on the end of…

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Images of the West: “Steamboat A’Comin”

Fly Fishing 2013       Written By Kenneth C. Walcheck      

Steam navigation on the Missouri is one of the most hazardous things a man can undertake. — Father Pierre Jean Desmet, 1838 THE ERA OF THE STEAMBOAT IN MONTANA was a dramatic…

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Images of the West: Arthur Rothstein in Butte

Arts 2016       Written By Aaron Parrett      

In 1936, a young photographer named Arthur Rothstein snapped a photo of a farmer in Cimarron County, Oklahoma, racing with his children to a ramshackle shed to escape a dust…

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Image of the West: George Catlin’s American Buffalo

Arts 2013       Photography By Adam Barker      

THIS SUMMER THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WILDLIFE ART is proud to partner with the Smithsonian American Art Museum to present 40 original paintings by explorer-artist George Catlin. Catlin was one…

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Images of the West: Trains of Discovery

Winter 2011       By Alfred Runte      

IN THE BEGINNING, RAILROADS were among the first to practice what environmentalists today would call restraint. In any comparison between highways and airports, railroads are the most resistant to unplanned change.…

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Images of the West: Big Sky, Montana, Before the Resort

Fall 2013       Written By Anne Marie Mistretta       Written By Jeff Strickler      

BIG SKY CONJURES UP IMAGES of skiing, golf courses, high-end homes, and private resorts. As the home of “the biggest skiing in America,” its powder snow, 5,500 acres and 4,350…

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Images of the West: Sleeping Giant

Winter 2010       Written By Brian Hurlbut      

KEITH DAHLEM REMEMBERS THOSE EARLY WINTER MORNINGS more than a half-century ago while growing up at the Shoshone Lodge, a rustic Wyoming guest ranch just outside the east entrance of Yellowstone…

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Images of the West: Hearts of Nature, 50 Years of American Wilderness

Fall 2014       Written By Gary Ferguson      

I’M BACK UP ON THE ROOF OF THE ROCKIES AGAIN, ambling across a trackless sprawl of tundra in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. Ten thousand feet into thin air, on one…

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Images of the West: Theodore Roosevelt, from Medora to Gardiner

Fall 2016       Written By Dan Aadland      

In early April 1903, grinning like a delighted schoolboy, President Theodore Roosevelt stepped off the train in Gardiner, Montana. He’d had plenty of experience in the role of conquering hero,…

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Images of the West: Progress at a Price

Summer 2012       Written By Greg Gordon      

IN 1867 ANDREW B. HAMMOND arrived in Montana with 15 dollars in his pocket. Actually, half was in the pocket of his older brother, George. When he left, 30 years…

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Images of the West: Hemingway’s Wyoming: “A Cockeyed Wonderful Country”

Fly Fishing 2016       By Darla Worden      

Big Horn, Wyoming, population 490, consists of a three-block Main Street with a firehouse, general store, post office, smokehouse restaurant and the Last Chance Saloon. In this ranching community outside…

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Images of the West: A Wyoming Original

Arts 2015       Written By Alexis Marie Adams      

Outside the Scuola Grande di San Marco in Venice, Italy, is a monumental bronze sculpture of a soldier astride a galloping horse. The rider stands upright in his stirrups, his…

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Images of the West: The Great Die-Up [1886-1887]

Arts 2010       Written By Matthew P. Mayo      

Winterkill The winter of 1886–1887 was hard on the West, especially Montana. Following a series of early November blizzards, a 10-day storm blew in on January 9, 1887. Sixteen inches…

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Images of the West: Living History

Winter 2014       Written By Michael J. Ober      

It’s a bumpy and reeling ride down the tracks on engine WAMX1501. It should be. “These rails don’t get the scheduled maintenance that the main BNSF line does. We don’t…

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Images of the West: A Daily Reminder

Arts 2011       Written By Gary L. Temple      

From the personal diary of Elling William Gollings June 2, 1920 The wild frontier of America was vanishing after decades of Western Expansionism. A handful of significant artists recognized this fact…

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Images of the West: A Young Man’s Opportunity, The Civilian Conservation Corps of Montana

Winter 2012       Written By Melissa Mylchreest       Photography By Alex Tenenbaum      

A FEW MILES FROM THE EAST ENTRANCE to Glacier National Park, along Going-to-the-Sun Road, sits Rising Sun campground. A short hike away the view opens and Saint Mary Lake appears,…

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Images of the West: Fire Scars

Summer 2010       Written By Melissa Mylchreest      

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, the events of one apocalyptic summer left an indelible mark on both the American landscape and the way we have fought wildfire ever since. Idaho and…

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