Curator Rick Stewart
Producer Gus Chambers films C.M. Russell scholar and curator Rick Stewart as he un-crates Russell’s mural “The History of the West,” now in a private collection.

Round Up: Raise the Roof for the Russells

Great Falls is hosting the world premiere of the Montana PBS documentary “C.M. Russell and the American West” on Sept. 9 at the Mansfield Theater, along with three days of community-sponsored events at the C.M. Russell Museum. Raise the Roof for the Russells will screen the film that underscores Russell’s place among great American artists. Starting on Sept. 7, the program includes a public opening ceremony for the Frederic G. and Ginger K. Renner Research Center, a member opening of the Josephine Trigg Collection Gallery Exhibition and the Strand Collection Exhibition, an auction to benefit the Russell House and Studio, a Russell Riders Outdoor Sculpture Garden ceremony, a chuck wagon barbecue, and more.

“C.M. Russell and the American West,” featuring voice talent from Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons, Bill Pullman, and Kathy Baker, examines the life and art of Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926). The film explores his arrival in Montana as a youth, his apprenticeship and work as a cowboy on the open range, and his self-taught, almost explosive growth into an iconic American artist who affected generations. Russell’s body of work was panoramic and modern in his sensitivity to subject matter, from a reverence for the land and wildlife to his positive depictions of Native Americans. The film was created by Gus Chambers and Paul Zalis, with William Marcus and Aaron Pruitt of Montana PBS as executive producers.

“A young Charlie Russell fell in love with Montana and called Great Falls home. His legacy is an immeasurable inspiration to and influence on the people here,” says Tom Petrie, chairman of the C.M. Russell Museum board. “Our community support and dedication to launching a film that brings Charlie’s fascinating story and timeless message to the world is both exciting and humbling. The spirit of the American West remains impressive in Great Falls.”

Tickets and event details are available online at

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