THE Butte Montana celebrates St. Patrick's Day
II Issue III
Ma rch 2013
Film Making in Montana
Montana Fare A look at ethnic foods that have survived in Montanaâ€™s mining city.
A true story about the end of an era for a back country packer through the eyes of a twelve year old boy.
The weathered cover of the 1940s Ace Magazine showcasing stories about the West
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Volu me II Issue III
Butte, Montana Celebrates the Irish To the left a photograph from 1939 showing the front of the M & M Cigar Store, one place that traditionally has been packed during the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day which garners near 30,000 visitors for the three days of libations and parades. 6-7
Montana’s Irish Marcus Daly joined forces with several prominent men to create a mining empire in Butte and Anaconda, bringing thousands of his countryman to America to work in the copper mines and smelter. 7
Sculptor - Lucky Howser Read about a sculptor with an eye for art in wood. Progeny of homesteaders who settled in a quiet rural valley, he has made his life a journey to craft art into branches and logs. 21
This wooden pooch sits outside in the driveway near Lucky’s shop.
According to David Emmons’s book The Butte Irish, 12,000 of Irish descent were living in Butte by 1900, where the population was then 47,635. At a quarter of the population, Irish made up a higher percentage in Butte than they did in any other American city at the turn of the last century. Seventyseven various families of Sullivans left Castletownbere, Cork and came to Butte. By 1908 Butte hosted 1,200 Sullivans.
FEATURES….. Magazines published in the 1940s and 50s featured western novels and novelette’s. 8
Film Making in Montana - Read the Saga of the making of “The Best Bar in America” by Jim Beyer 9 Above a page from Western Trails Magazine March 1940
A modern day story by Rich Sherman of a pack trip that ends a family business. 14
The West Old & New Published by Susan Faye Roberts P.O. Box 10 Hot Springs, Montana (406) 741-5210 email@example.com Online http://issuu.com/ westerngalspeak.docs Blog: http:// thewestoldandnew.wordpress.com
Uptown Butte Montana in 1906
More ….. Montana Fare - Butte’s Ethnic Foods with a recipe for Corn Beef and Cabbage from the Mining City. 19 Hoodoo Rifle - A true story in 1877 of a battle involving white settlers and the Comanche and a coveted a buffalo gun with a curse. 18 Flathead Indian Historical Society Records Inspector Frank C. Armstrong issued a report on the Flathead Indian Reservation finding a population of 1,734, about half of whom were mixed blood, largely of French extraction. The largest cattle herds were owned by descendents of French trappers and white men married to Indian women. About one fourth of the full bloods farmed or owned cattle.
The name Montana comes from the Spanish word Montaña meaning "mountain" or more broadly, "mountainous country". Montaña del Norte was the name given by early Spanish explorers to describe the entire mountainous region of the west.
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Butte America - the iconic west
Known to be one of the richest hills on earth Butte, Montana has also garnered the handle, Butte America, and carries a heavy load of Montana history that began in the late 19th Century. As of the 2010 Census Butte had a population of 34,200 residents and is Montana's fifth largest city. In 1890 Butte had a population of 24,000 residents comprised of immigrants from Cornwall, Ireland, Wales, England, Lebanon, Canada, Finland, Austria, Serbia, Italy, China, Syria, Croatia, Montenegro, Mexico, and all areas of the USA. In the 1920s Butte's population peaked at 60,000, and uptown Butte has a diversity of architectural buildings which would rival any east coast city. A view of Butte in the 1800s. The city began as a mining camp with miners looking for rich veins of gold and silver but progressed to copper with the advent of electricity and telephones which utilized copper wire. Butte is known as one of the most notorious copper boomtowns in the West. It had hundreds of saloons and a well known red light district that was continued to operated illegally until the 1980s. The Dumas is one of the best known, and is the last standing Victorian Brothel built in the U.S. The Dumas is located on Mercury Street and has been used as a museum. Red light districts were common in mining camps and in this case mining cities. The back side of uptown Mercury Street is known as Venus Alley, and metal sculptures attest to its history in a small park, where women plied their trade in small cubicles called "cribs". The brothel is said to be haunted, with stories ranging from burglars robbing antique light and door fixtures leaving everything in the middle of the second floor in fright.
Butte is a mile high, and sits on the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains. It is one of the few western mining communities that have mines in the middle of town. Butte was a deep mining community until the 1950s when the Anaconda Company began open mining. Butte's history includes it being known as "the Gibraltar of Unionism", with a very active labor union movement that sought to counter the power and influence of the known as "The Company." By 1885, there were about 1,800 duespaying members of a general union in Butte. That year the union reorganized as the Butte Miners' Union (BMU), spinning off all non-miners to separate craft unions. Some of these joined the Knights of Labor, and by 1886 the separate organizations came together to form the Silver Bow Trades and Labor Assembly, with 34 separate unions representing nearly all of the 6,000 workers around Butte After 1905, Butte became a hotbed of Industrial Workers of the World known as the IWW, or the "Wobblies" There were a number of clashes between laborers, labor organizers, and the Anaconda company, including the 1917 lynching of IWW executive board officer Frank Little. In 1920, company mine guards gunned down strikers in the Anaconda Road Massacre. Seventeen were shot in the back as they tried to flee, and one man died. With the advent of open pit mining thousands of homes were destroyed in the Meaderville and Finland neighborhoods. The Berkeley Pit was opened in 1955 and in 1980 I stood on the edge of it and watched a truck, which looked like a toy one could put in your hand coming up the side of the several mile deep pit. At the time, it was the largest truck-operated open pit copper mine in The Berkeley Pit, a toxic mix of mining tailings the United States. Other open pit mines encompasses old neighborhoods of the city. were dug in the area, including the stilloperational East Continental Pit. The Berkeley pit grew with time until it bordered the Columbia Gardens, a fairground established by William A. Clark. In 1973 it caught fire and burned to the ground, subsequently becoming another part of the deep pit mining operation. The company stopped mining in 2000, but resumed in 2003. From 1880 through 2005, the mines of the Butte district have produced more than 9.6 million metric tons of cop- The head frame of a mine in the city of per, 2.1 million metric tons of zinc, 1.6 million metric tons of manganese, 381,000 Butte, and below miles of tunnels.
Volu me II Issue III
metric tons of lead, 87,000 metric tons of molybdenum, 715 million troy ounces (22,200 metric tons) of silver, and 2.9 million ounces (90 metric tons) of gold Mining shut down at the Berkeley pit in 1982, and water pumps in nearby mines were also shut down, which resulted in highly acidic water laced with toxic heavy metals filling up the pit. Two years later the pit was classified as a Superfund site and an environmental hazard site. Meanwhile, the acidic water continued to rise. It was not until the 1990s that serious efforts to clean up the Berkeley Pit began. The situation gained even more attention after as many as 342 migrating geese picked the pit lake as a resting place, resulting in their deaths. Steps have since been taken to prevent a recurrence, including but not limited to loudspeakers broadcasting sounds to scare off waterfowl. The University of Montana - Montana Technical College has been working on ways to solve the toxic water problem posed by the Berkeley Pit. It is the largest pit lake in the United States, and is the most costly part of the country's largest Superfund site. Many areas of the city, especially the areas near the old mines, show signs of wear from time but a recent influx of investors and an aggressive campaign to remedy blight has led to a renewed interest in restoring property in Uptown Butte's historic district, which was expanded in 2006 to including parts of Anaconda, twenty-five miles away and the company town created to smelt the copper, making it the largest National Historic Landmark District in the United States with nearly 6,000 contributing properties. The annual celebration of Butte's Irish heritage begun in 1882 is the annual St. Patrick's Day festivities. In these modern times about 30,000 revelers converge on Butte's Historic Uptown District to enjoy the parade led by the Ancient Order of Hibernians and celebrate in bars such as Maloney's, the Silver Dollar Saloon, the M&M Cigar Store, and The Irish Times Pub.
Montana is a huge but sparsely populated western state. It is about six times the size of Ireland, yet is home to less than one million people of which 30% claim Irish ancestry. The majority of this figure identifies Butte as their family's entry point into Montana and this shared historical fact has created a sense of oneness among them. Today, however, many of those who trace their origins back to the mining city live in other population centres throughout the state. Because of the geographical size of Montana, these cities and towns are separated by great distances that have had the effect of frustrating efforts to maintain the close links and strong relationships within the Irish community. In 2008, Jerry Sullivan and Carrie Kiely of Butte along with Erin and Traolach Ă“ RĂordĂĄin in Missoula decided to launch the IrishMontana website to help the Irish of Montana to stay in closer touch, to advertise the goings-on and activities of their community, and to build stronger ties within the state and with the greater Irish community of America. http://irishmontana.com/aboutus.htm
Montana Folk Festival
Fri July 12th, 2013 to Sun July 14th, 2013 Join us for a free festival of music, dancing, culture, crafts and food in Uptown Butte. Evel Knievel Days
Thu July 25th, 2013 to Sat July 27th, 2013 Uptown Butte again hosts a weekend of daredevils, stunts, music, food and vendors commemorating hometown legend Evel Knievel. This event is free to the public MT Irish Festival - An Ri Ra
Thu August 8th, 2013 to Sat August 10th, 2013 Uptown Butte is again the location for another festival this time featuring our Irish heritage. Happy revelers decked out in Irish gear at the historic M & M Cigar Store in 2009. Cindy Emmert photograph
Antique Western Magazines
Showcasing the literature of the good ole western tale...
Cover of the September 23, 1955 edition of Ranch Romance Magazine.
Western Trails Magazine was a bi-monthly published by Ace Magazine Publishers, Inc. A yearly subscription was sixty cents and a single copy sold for ten cents. The magazine called itself an all - novel western. Titles in the March 1940 issue included: Two-Gun Tornado by Claude Rister, and a 'Big Action Novelette' by Raymond W. Porter. This issue showcased the writing of five different writers. At the time the editor was A.A. Wyn and the managing editor was Harry Widmer. The magazine was all black and white inside with beautiful line drawings of cowboys in action by artists like Pete Martinez. The cover showcased on the front of this issue of the West was done by Stockton Mulford. The issue of Ranch romance Magazine shown on this page and dated September 1955 was in its 31st year of publication and was Volume 194. At the time the editor was Helen Tono. It featured novels, novelettes, short stories, serials, and had features and departments. One feature was Ranch Flicker Talk written by movie editor Bob Cummings. In this issue he wrote about 20th Century Fox new western, "The Tall Men," starring Clark Gable, Jane Russell, Cameron Mitchell, and Robert Ryan. The feature article included a two page spread on up and coming actress Jeanne Crain. In a recent conversation with a local man raised in Camas Prairie, he stated his mother loved and looked forward to her copies of the magazine. It included stories like: Bullets for my Birthday by Walker A. Thompkins, Homesteader's Girl by J.L. Bouma, and the Gila Monster by S. Omar Barker.
Andrew Garcia - â€œTough Trip Through Paradiseâ€? Andrew Garcia was of Hispanic descent and came north to Montana in 1876 at the age of 23. First employed by the U.S. government as a herder and packer, he also scouted for the US. military through out Yellowstone and Musselshell country serving with the Sturgis Boys in Blue out of Fort Ellis. In 1887 he met Beaver Tom, a hunter and trapper, who took Garcia on a trip that is considered extremely important historically because it documents the end of the free life of the Plains Indians. He married three Pend d'Oreille women remaining with his favorite In-who-lise who was killed by Blackfeet and whom he buried near Marias Pass. In 1899 he married Barbara Voll and she bore him four sons. Sources allege that the movie, "Little Big Man," starring Dustin Hoffman, was based on Andrew Garcia's life. The book is considered one of the few true stories of what was taking place in the west at the time. Much of his story was never revealed to family members until he passed in 1943. Garcia's writings are kept in an archive in Helena. The book was printed and copies are available in various places, such as libraries in the state.
Film Making in Montana ...
“The Best Bar in America” By Jim Beyer Is Missoula ready for an indigenous, independent film industry? Damon and Eric Ristau of Firewater Film Company think so. In fact, the 30-something brothers are betting on it. The Ristaus devoted a year of their lives and mortgaged their future to write, film and produce the feature length movie, “The Best Bar in America”. They hired local acting talent and shot on locations in famous Montana watering holes and in the barren deserts of Utah. The movie was shot on shoe string and a short one at that." We broke the cardinal rule of independent film making about half way through," Damon said. “That rule is to use other people’s money and never use your credit cards.” The movie finances went tits up early on. It ran way over budget and way over time. It was an expensive education but Damon said it was worth it. They wanted Photograph from the film, “The Best Bar in to “gain experience and tell a fun story.” America.” Locals were recruited with their Modern digital photography allows independent film makers to be low-cost truck and pit bull at the Montana Bar for a without being “low-budget.” A professional digital video camera costs almost chase scene down the small rural streets. nothing to use and computers offer nearly unlimited storage. The Ristaus shot 230 Photograph by Loni Workman. hours of video and used two desktops to edit the finished movie down to 90 minutes. Neither brother received any formal film training. They grew up in rural Eastern Washington and went to high school in Spokane. Eric taught himself the art of film making and photography. He started work as a radio DJ when he was 14. Damon graduated from the Environmental Studies program at the University of Montana in 2003 and never left Missoula. Eric moved back to Missoula after a stint in Salt Lake Cityand Park City, Utah, “Missoula is a great place to make films,” he said. The Ristaus’ founded Firewater Film Company in 2003 which specializes in “high end HD (high definition) video production.” Damon said, “Most of our work has been based in the documentary and non-profit sectors. Past clients include the State of Utah, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Discovery Channel and ABC News.” Eric and Damon wrote a bare-bones script that was “inspired by some of Damon’s motorcycle trips in the desert,” Eric said. “The ideal situation would be a guy riding a bike with a sidecar,” Damon commented. The two men work together so closely that they finish the other’s thoughts. This helped them collaborate on the script and production. The Ristaus met an old man named Northway at the Oxford Bar in Missoula. He was homeless and living in his van. They invited him to sleep on the couch for two or three weeks. Damon said," He was almost like a grandfather figure to us. He was an amazing guy.” The real Northway inspired the character who plays the drinking man’s Yoda to Sander’s sotted Luke Skywalker. Northway is played by a distinguished looking 68-year-old charactor actor who now lives in Whitefish. “We knew about David Ackroyd,” Damon said. “He had a history of working on TV and Hollywood—perfect for Northway.” They found the Sanders character, Andrew Rizzo “by chance,”Eric said. A neighbor told him that “a hell of a talented actor from New York” lived across the street. “It seems so highly unlikely, but it was true.” “We approached Andrew Rizzo. He was interested but needed to see a script before he would commit,” Eric said. “Heck, they all wanted to see a script before they would commit.” Damon quipped. “It took several more months to finish the script. We found the actors last—found people who could play our characters,” Eric retorted. Damon shot back, “Coupled with we can’t pay them any money and take lots of their time.” Rizzo said he sold himself to the Ristau brothers. “I was at Volume 10” to win the part. Then they re-wrote the script to accentuate Rizzo’s natural comedic abilities. “I wanted Sanders to be a more serious character and to let the comedy to come out naturally,” he said. Eric met the third male actor, Greg Collett in a bar in Salt Lake City. The two connected through a mutual interest in the environment. Greg played Tex—a devil-may-care sleazeball bank robber, although he is quite the opposite in real life. Greg and his girlfriend Loni Workman (the official crew photographer and Sportsman Bar floozy character) “were really dedicated,” Eric said. Greg and Loni moved to Missoula on their own dime, Eric said, and Continued on page 10
Best Bar in America continued from page 9
they spent the fall in a cheap apartment in the Stensrud building. Sander’s love interest in the movie, Eden was played by Lee McAfee, age 22. She was in a short film called “Career Opportunities in Poetry.” Lee lives in Missoula and sings professionally. David described her as beautiful with a great voice. She sings at a “going away party” for Northway in the movie. The Ristaus offered their actors a “back-end” pay deal. When the brothers sell the movie, they will pay their actors a percentage. Rizzo said he did not have a contract. It was a handshake deal. Damon paid David’s expenses but no salary up front. Rizzo said everything about the movie “was made manifest. Every time we had a problem, the solution manifested itself” and the movie lurched forward. The pieces fell into place when they had to. Eric said, “Serendipity and synchronicity were important. There were lots of both with this movie.” The “Best Bar in America” is a story about a guy named Sanders with writer’s block that loses his wife and finds the bottle while searching for the best bar in America. He travels around the west meeting interesting people and finds his muse in the form of the burned-out Northway, a bandit named Tex and America’s best barmaid Eden. There is some drinking, some driving, some fighting and some fooling around. In short, stuff happens and Sanders finds himself. The Ristaus are making a statement about the Montana bar culture. Northway extols the mythic “Golden Circle” of bars in “the headwaters” where “there are more bars than churches” and “the residents admire and respect their drunks the way tribal societies respect their shamans.” When you look at the movie trailer on the internet, you see a modern western where the cowboys traded their horses for a motorcycle and sidecar. Serendipity played its part in finding the right vehicle for the heroes to ride. Damon remembers, “I was walking home from work on New Years Day, when a guy passes me on a bike with a home-made sidecar. I started running down Higgins Avenue, trying to follow him. Then two Russian sidecar bikes ride past. This was a sign that the movie would happen.” At the Silver Dollar Bar, Damon saw a customized 1960 BMW with Jawa sidecar and “it was absolutely perfect.” The owner, nicknamed Peeper was “gracious when I asked if it would be OK if for the motorcycle to be in a movie,” Damon said. Later he told Rizzo, “We found the perfect motorcycle, but I am not sure the owner will let us have it. He did say he knew you.” Rizzo exclaimed. “Know Peeper!? I danced naked at Burning Man with him! But you had better not go over there in a suit and tie or else he will throw you out. We’ll go over together and he will loan it to me.” Rizzo said. Peeper loaned the bike to the Ristaus and Rizzo with the admonition, “Of course, I will make a tobacco pouch out of your scrotums if you wreck this bike.” He also loaned them a flat bed trailer and some Snoopy hats for the movie. Rizzo is outgoing, engaging and outwardly friendly. “Sure jump in,” he would tell kids and grown ups who admired the unique BMW sidecar combination. This helped the movie crew gain access to bars in small towns. “The fun was meeting real people in these towns,” Rizzo said. Serendipity led the movie crew to Ingomar and the Jersey Lilly bar, where the stage was set for Sanders’ first confrontation with his boozy future. The Ristaus transported Rizzo, David, Tim Huffman, Big Daddy and Monique Lanier 500 miles east to this town of 13 residents. Later Damon said, “We should have taken Rizzo and the bike out there for an exterior shot and filmed the rest closer to home.” It was an expensive business lesson. The Ristaus ran up a $900 bar bill after only three days. Tim Huffman, owner of the Crystal Video and consummate videophile was cast as the cowboy bartender at the Lilly, but the hippy-haired 300-pounder did not have a cowboy hat. “In Ingomar, we mentioned to a hand at the bar that we needed a hat,” Tim recounted. “He goes out to his truck and pulls one out of the snow in the back.” The cowboy wore out the hat and threw it in the truck about two years ago. Tim slapped the floppy Stetson against his leg and cut out the hat band. “It was still not big enough so we stretched it over the steaming coffee pot until it was big enough to go around my big skull,” and full head of curly hair. “It was the greasiest, most manure-stained hat ever. It looked great [in the movie] and best of all, I got to keep it. I will wear it on the red carpet at Sundance,” Tim chuckled. Sometimes, cool visual images magically happened. Dogs wandered into several shots or colorful characters happened to be in the bar. David told a story about the shoot at the Sportsman Bar in Alberton. “An Indian jockey with traditional Blackfeet name of ‘Shannon' offered to ride his Shetland pony into the bar.” The film crew had to lift the pony, named “Ewok” into the back of a pickup and deliver him to the bar, where they lifted it out again. “Shannon makes an entrance,” David said. “We are shooting toward the back of the bar which was very black. There are some poker machines flashing lights. Out of the blackness comes Shannon in his white cowboy hat on his black pony.” He rides past Rizzo and Lori making out on the pool table, looks at them, dismounts, walks behind the bar and picks up the phone and calls the woman’s husband. He says, ‘You had better get down here right away, because your Continued on page 12
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Best Bar in America continued from page 11
wife is about to get nailed on the pool table.’ Shannon was great,” and unscripted, David said. A lot of the movie was “unscripted” because the actors improvised, ad libbed and some things happened by chance. The film crew would walk into a bar and announce that they were shooting a movie. Some of the bar patrons agreed to be extras and a few had speaking parts. Sometimes the scenes were fresh and authentic and sometimes the extras were too drunk to remember what to say. David said the script was only an outline of the movie. “Movie-making is much more about showing than telling. That's why great novels often make dreadful movies and vice-versa. While film is certainly the director’s medium, a film script is often a blank slate for actors. Look at “Rebel Without a Cause.” Not to compare any of us with James Dean, but that script is not much without him. As Burt Reynolds always says, “Don't say it if you can show it.” The actors' expressions and emotions filled the gaps and put life into weak dialogue. Eric ran the camera and Damon usually organized the activities. He emphasized that the brothers did everything together. “Eric and I co-directed the film, as well as co-wrote, co-produced, and co-edited” Damon was a very hands on director, using his charm and personality to encourage people to do certain things, rather than shout from a chair beside the camera.. The Ristaus used local musicians and original music for the sound track. Music evokes emotion. A good song or instrumental complements the action on the screen. It should not intrude or overwhelm the acting and distract the viewer. The opening scene is overlaid with a western theme that was written by Ryan “Schmed” Maynes. Schmed is also doing the studio work for the movie soundtrack. Damon edited his half of the movie in a cluttered garage between shelves, skis and a Schwinn. Two flat screens stand on a desk and book shelves are stacked with books about film and the movie industry. Eric edited his half at home and the brothers combined the segments in the garage. “It’s cool finding talented people in Missoula. Since we started, we found lots of people who could have been or should have been in the movie.” The Ristaus see this movie as a beginning of a process. “This was a project that we wanted to take on to gain experience and tell a fun story,” Damon said. What they learned will hopefully make it easier in the future. If given the choice between commercial success and artistic success, Damon would rather the movie be an artistic success. “If the story we told comes across to the audience and if the actors are happy with their work, then the movie is a success.” Of course he wants to sell the movie for big bucks so that he can pay back all those karmic debts. Damon and Eric borrowed dozens of props for the movie, including a rattlesnake. They also convinced dozens of people to donate their valuable time to the project. If the movie sells and becomes a commercial success, then Damon said, “It would be nice to pay everyone.” He acknowledges his debts to everyone. Rizzo knew from the first day that the movie would be beautiful to see. Eric “really knows how to frame a shot,” he said. It was a very ambitious script. Some professionals told the Ristaus that they couldn’t do the movie for less than $15 million, but they shot it with “no budget and no time.” The editing and acting will make or break the movie, Rizzo said. “Will the story and acting hold up to the great pictures? Can they [the Ristaus] tell a great story?” he wondered. “Will they consolidate the vision with the editing? Will it be cohesive and make sense?” Filming was not without tension. Toward the end, “We hit emotional speed bumps and things were not jiving,” Rizzo said. It was like the magic was used up. “There was no ego play. We had lots of flow and chi, but when we started to disagree, the serendipity went away.” David recollected, “I did not witness any bickering, although I heard about it after the fact. There was the normal amount of spirited discussion during the shoot of the kind one might expect, especially between siblings.” There was some discussion among the crew whether film making in a small community would work or could work in Western Montana instead of Hollywoodand the LA basin. The Ristaus are proving that Missoulians can make a movie on a Montana budget, but progress has slowed since they have no money for post production." We are working on it in our spare time.” The movie may be ready in June. “But this may be wishful thinking.” (www.bestbarinamerica.com) The movie is planned for release in 2013. It was previewed/premiered at the Wilma Theater and then in Bozeman in 2011. The Ristaus brothers have continue to make documentaries. Damon completed "The Bus", a documentary about VW micro buses which was part of the Montana Documentary film Festival in 2012 and was shown on TV http://www.busmovie.com/ and Eric is currently working on a documentary about motorcycles and motorcyclists. For that movie, he interviewed Peeper and Big Tony, who were some of the bikers in Best Bar.
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Biscuits & Gravy Breakfast Specials
A True Story told by Rick Sherman
End of An Outfit I need to preface this story with the fact that it’s filtered through the eyes and memory of a then twelve-year-old boy. I didn’t know what was going on between my father and his partner in the outfit, but it became pretty clear after that last trip. The two families had been struggling to keep the outfit afloat for several years when my father finally booked the trip that would take us out of the hole and up to the next level of success. A local insurance branch office in Great Falls was inviting the main office big wigs from Chicago out for a trip into the Bob for a week of fishing and floating. They hired the Diamond R to show them a good time. It was time to demonstrate what we could do and generate some big city clientele. It took several trips in to set up and stock the camp at Black Bear. At that time, the trail started at the Spotted Bear Ranger Station, so it was a twenty-mile ride in. There were plans to set up for quite a party, so two of the packhorses carried nothing but booze. My father and Gil felt it necessary to sample a bit of the load on the way in. It was getting dark with a ways to go when Gil started falling off his horse. Dad would help him back on and hand him his pack string lead and continue on until he fell off again. This went on until well after dark. Finally, frustrated and angry, my dad threatened to leave him on the trail. He kept his word. He drug Gil off the trail, tied Gil’s string onto the back of his and headed on into camp. Around daylight Gil staggered into camp soaking wet from crossing the South Fork on foot. He grabbed an ax and went to wake up my dad. Fortunately he heard him coming, but the fight put a dark cloud over the partnership. That evening Ole, the cook, sampled the load a bit heavily himself and fell down the bank to the river, knocking out his front teeth. They rode out the next day to take Ole into the doctor and to get the guests. We had to lease some packhorses to cover the size of this trip. One horse in particular was not a good fit. We called him the Roan. About halfway in, he chose to blow near the front of a long line. I watched from some distance back as one horse after another blew in a chain reaction that traveled back toward me. I decided to bail and threw a leg over as my horse blew. My foot hung up in the stirrup. I remember the cinch, the seat, the cinch, and the seat until my boot came off and I went sailing down the steep side hill. I no sooner quit rolling than my dad was there, scooping me up and checking for injuries. I never have figured out how he got there so fast since he was in the lead. I didn’t get hurt too bad and we continued on once all the loads were back on. I don’t know what the guests were doing during all that, but it must have been a hell of a show. The rest of the trip in and the first couple of days went fairly smoothly. I was oblivious to the bad blood between Gil and my dad, but I could feel the tension without understanding what was happening. The next disaster was the Big Salmon Lake drop float. The plan was to ride up with the boats packed and stay the night at the lake. The next day they would float back to the camp. Going up was fine. Upon arriving we found that Gil had forgotten to pack both the dinner meal for crew and guests and the feed for the horses in a dry camp. The next day both the guests and the horses were a bit grumpy. We set the guys off down the river, packed up the horses and headed back down the trail toward camp. There was a wrangler with a string of empty packhorses ahead of me. I had the empty saddle horses and my dad was behind me with another string of packhorses. We were stretched out and out of sight of each other when my dad had to stop and deal with the Roan who had managed to tangle himself up. As dad was dealing with him, the horse danced into a ground hornet’s nest. They swarmed his string, which caused a stampede down the trail. Dad was knocked over the side of a ravine. By the time he climbed out, they were out of sight. I was just crossing a small bridge with my string when I heard them coming over the hill behind me. I looked back and saw this wild-eyed tangled mass of panicked horses blasting down the hill toward me. I threw my lead away pulling my horse over and off the bridge into the marsh just as they hit the back of my string. I just let them go. I wanted to go back for my dad, but I was in a fight with my horse because he wanted to join the stampede. Just then Dad came loping over the hill. Lord what a relief for both of us. The story for Carl, the wrangler ahead of us, was the same as for me. We got back to camp to a corral full of bruised, bloody horses and eight miles of broken pack equipment behind us. Carl went back up to pick up the pieces as my dad and I patched up horses and equipment. On top of it all, the insurance guys floated in to camp in the middle of all this.
The crowning glory of this story was the last day. The guests were to float out to just before the South Fork Gorge. I was to be their guide. I was a kid who had never been down this river before. My dad told me to watch for the third major creek after Black Bear Creek. Gil would be waiting there with the horses. The creeks all braided long before they actually flowed into the main river. There were little creeks all along the way with no way of telling which one was a major creek. I counted on Gil to being there. He wasn’t. We came around that last bend before the river flows into the Gorge. The South Fork is a pretty big river by the time it gets to this end. It goes into the Gorge through a small crack in a sheer limestone wall. As it goes in, it forms a huge standing wave. We saw that wave and paddled like maniacs for the bank. All we did was get the boats sideways as we were sucked into the canyon. The wave threw the boats up into the air. I remember being airborne surrounded by beer cans, then I was in the bottom of the boat underneath four grown men and most of the beer cans. It was beautiful inside the Gorge. The walls were sheer white and tall and the water was glass smooth and green black. It looked serene and calm and safe, like you would want to continue down its length just to see it all. At that time no one had ever survived a trip through the Gorge. We climbed the walls to get out. As I have mentioned the “guests” were the same insurance people that held the liability insurance for our business. They cancelled us upon their arrival back in Great Falls.I think that the whole outfitting business was over for my dad about the time he left Gil in the trail. Perhaps it was when they decided to sample that load. I sat on the edge of a cliff near the Lodge and sobbed in grief when dad told me we were leaving for good. I have been back a few times to see the old place and share with my kids the place where the stories began. I know though, that those few years were the best of my life and had a great deal to do with who I am now.
Preparations for the Tri-State Veterans Standown To the left are boxes of military surplus staged for being moved into the Sanders County Fairgrounds 4-H barns in
February 25th, 2013 several shipments of military surplus goods arrived at the fairgrounds in Plains, Montana in preparation of the Tri-State Veterans Standown. According to organizer Billy Hill this year they will be unloading five trucks. Volunteers from the VFW's in Plains and Hot Springs were on hand to assist with getting the crates of shoes, back packs, clothing sleeping bags, and supplies into the 4-H barns. The Standown is scheduled for two days in May and is sponsored by the Tri-State Veterans Standown Department of Veterans Affairs, the Montana Food Bank Network, and the Noxon Community Fellowship (Food Bank), and numerous private businesses and individuals who have given contributions. The two day affair offers veterans with or without dependants' free services such as the opportunity to speak with Service Officers for V.A. claims, mental health providers, employment counseling, and physical health providers. Also included is breakfast, lunch, free haircuts and showers. Last year the event garnered approximately 3 thousand participants, some from northern Idaho. Veterans are required to show their DD-214 Discharge, V.A. or Military I.D. The event will be held at the Sanders County Fairgrounds at 30 River Road in Plains on Saturday May 4 and Sunday May 5th between 08:00 hours and 16:00 hours. Anyone wishing to donate financial contributions to the event can contact Billy Hill at 406-847-2407. Page 15
Located on Front Street in the heart of historic downtown Missoula, the Monte Dolack Gallery exhibits the most complete collection of original paintings, fine art prints and posters by Montana artists Monte Dolack and Mary Beth Percival. The Gallery is home to the Front Street Frame Studio. Our professional staff has been providing full service custom framing since 1993. We invite you to stop by and experience a true Missoula, Montana landmark.
Gallery Hours 10 a.m. to 5: 30 p.m. Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays 139 West Front Street, Missoula, Montana 59802 (406) 549-3248 1-899-825-7613 Fax (406) 549-4436
The Symes Hotel & Hot Springs
Photograph by Jake Wallis
209 Wall St. Hot Springs, MT. 406 406--741 741--2361 firstname.lastname@example.org Cozy Rooms Hot mineral soaking pools Live music on weekends
Bathhouse Grill & Cantina Tell the desk clerk you saw this ad in The West and get a 2 for 1 on a $7.00 soaking pass
It was a typical scene of Comanche horror that February afternoon on the staked Plains. Screaming fury swept down on the lone buffalo hunter, and in a mater of seconds his scalp graced the bridle of a Comanche warrior. The name of Marshall Sewell, plainsman and gentleman, was added to the bloody register of Westerners who met death by violence. The warriors rode away their arsenal now augmented by the addition of the dead hunters rifle. It was a Sharps' buffalo gun that the jubilant Indians carried back tot heir village, a magnificent weapon that could throw a full ounce of lead with wonderful power and accuracy. Dark eyes gleamed, covetously around the fires that night as the splendid rifle was passed from hand to hand. It was a welcome addition to the fire power of the Comanche war parties - or so it was regarded, in February of 1877. But by the middle of the month the warriors were to wish they'd never laid eyes on the big Sharps'. When Sewell's body was discovered, the news traveled fast among the buffalo hunters, and a force of forty-five men promptly set out from Rath's trading post on Double Mountain Creek on a mission of vengeance. On March 18 the party appeared at the head of the hidden canyon where the Comanche village stood, and hell broke loose on the Staked Plains. In the first burst of fire from the Comanche lines, a hunter named Jackson pitched from his saddle, mortally wounded by a slug from Sewell's Sharps' in the hands of a keen-eyed warrior. From then on throughout the fight the hollow boom of the buffalo gun could be heard over the sharper crack of the lighter rifles in the Comanche ranks. Fighting for their lives, the hunters were unaware of the powerful medicine at work in the enemy lines. Sewell's rifle was turning out to be a jinx. The first warrior to use the murdered man's gun ws killed by a bullet through the heart. Another brave rushed forward to pick up the prized rifle and fell a few seconds later, mortally hurt. During a lull in the fighting, the warrior son of Chief Black Horse ran through the smoke and took the heavy weapon from the injured man. In the hands of the chief's son it crashed again, before he too was killed. Next the renowned warrior Five Feathers crawled to the body of the chief's son and seized the hot barrel of the death rifle. For Five Feathers, too, his brief possession of the buffalo gun was a one-way ticket to a hunting ground in the sky. It looked for a while as though Five Feathers had broken the curse that shrouded the Sharps'. Then, toward the end of the battle, with the demon scream of the Comanche choking in his throat, Five Feathers died bravely in a storm of lead. Outnumbered by six to one, the hunters withdrew - after taking heavy toll of the Indians -and made their way back to Double Mountain Creek with their wounded. Several weeks later, Captain E. P. Lee and his 10th Cavalry visited the site of the battle and returned with a strange story. Following the death of Five Feathers, the last man to fire the rifle, no Indian had dared to use it. The tribesmen had wrapped it in a blanket, together with the scalp they had ripped from the head of Marshall Sewell only a month before, and left it on the field of battle. Perhaps they hoped to placate the vengeful spirit that stalked the escarpment of the Staked Plains that fatal day. In any case, they wanted no further contact with the dead man's gun, and the death curse that hung over it like a prairie mist.
From Ranch Romance Magazine - an excerpt from Out of the Chutes. There was a wild buffalo hunt in 1870 at Niagara Falls, which was intended as amusement for the populace and was staged by Wild Bill Hickok. Wild Bill had found that taming outlaws didn't pay too well, so he decided to go in for entertainment. He thought a real buffalo hunt would be exciting for Eastern dudes, and therefore profitable to be a Western hero. He shipped six buffalo by train to Niagara Falls - probably choosing that town because it was a tourist attraction even then. The big day was to be June 22, and the buffalo were penned in a big lot for a couple of weeks before that to arouse the curiosity of the townspeople and visitors, while Bill rounded up some Indians. Everyone was in a lather of excitement on the big day. A crowd of 5,000 people was on hand to see the buffalo released. Some of the spectators got so much in the spirit of the thing that they arrived on horseback and chased the buffalo too, this included the local dogs, forty or fifty strong, who also got into the act. But although a good time was had by all, the venture was not a success from Bill Hickok's standpoint. He had neglected to charge admission, expecting to get repaid by contributions from the spectators. It was difficult, though, to pass a hat to a man on horseback chasing a buffalo. And by the time the crowd had calmed down sufficiently to understand that contributions would be gratefully accepted, the show was over. Why pay for something you've already seen? The venture was also not a success from the buffalo's point of view. Wild Bill was too broke to ship them back West, so for the next couple of weeks all of Niagara Falls was eating buffalo steaks, chops and hamburg.
Corn Beef & Cabbage Ingredients: 4 lbs corn beef 4 cups water 1 can onion soup 4 peppercorns 1 clove garlic—minced 1 bay leaf 1/4 tsp crushed rosemary 6 carrots - cut in large pieces 6 potatoes - cut in large pieces 1/2 cup celery - sliced 1 head cabbage - cut in quarters (blend together 3 tablespoons of flour with 3 tablespoons of water) Put corn beef and water in a large heavy pot on the stove. Pour soup over the meat and sprinkle seasonings on top. Cover and simmer on low heat for three and one half hours. Add water if needed. Add vegetables and cook for an hour. Remove the meat and vegetables from the pot and thicken with the blended water and flour.
Important Instructions: Be sure the meat just simmers or it will be tough. Be sure it is tender before adding vegetables. This is for a 4 lb piece of beef. If you use more increase the other things accordingly.
Notes: Instead of a can of onion soup I always have used a very large onion cut in large pieces. This recipe has always turned out delicious for me!
Butte's immigrants left a legacy from the Cornish pasty called a ’pasty’ which was popularized by mine workers who needed something easy to eat in the mines. Made with left over meat and vegetables. Another favorite of the immigrants was povitica—-a Slavic nut bread pastry which is a holiday favorite sold in many supermarkets and bakeries in the Butte area—-and the boneless porkchop sandwich. The pasty, povitica, pork chop sandwich, along with huckleberry products and Scandinavian lefse have arguably become Montana's symbolic foods, known and enjoyed throughout the state and not just in the city of Butte During the celebration of St. Patrick's Day around the 17th of March many prepare the favorite corn beef and cabbage. To the left is a recipe given to the publisher by a resident of Butte. The local butcher shop sells fresh made corn beef with a packet of spices, and it is the best I’ve ever had!
Irish Soda Bread This recipe was given to me by the owner of the Angel by the Lake Bed and Breakfast in Sandpoint, Idaho. I have made it and it is delicious. Set your oven to 375 degrees
Ingredients: 2 cups flour 3/4 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp baking soda 3/4 tsp salt 1 cup buttermilk Mix together the dry ingredients. Stir in the buttermilk. Dough should pull away from sides of the bowl and form a ‘wet’ ball. Knead a few times on floured board forming into a ball and cut an X across the top of the dough about 1/4 inch deep. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake about 40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when yu tap on it.
P.S. I knead bread with whole wheat flour, seems to make a nicer crust.
Notes: Delicious straight from the oven with jam!
Sculptor - Lucky Howser
Lucky Howser was born with a medical condition which affected his mother's pregnancy and wasn't expected to live. Live he did, not even being named until he was twelve years of age. His name reflects what he lived with everyday until he finally was named, "Lucky," a name he says wasn't his choice, but since he'd been called that for the first twelve years of his life, he acquiesced. Howser genealogy is homesteader based. Abraham Howser (Houser) was born in Wanderburg, German in 1740. He came from a family of farmers. At the age of twenty-one he and two of his brothers came to America seeking freedom of religion and speech. He was a Dunkard preacher and refused to pay for preaching. He owned a grist mill and a whiskey still which provided a living for his family. The brother's traveled over the new territory farming in different states. In 1910 two of the brothers came to the Flathead Reservation and settled. Lucky stands outside in a shed where several of Driving into Lucky and his wife Ann's residence is like visiting an outdoor art gallery. Every where you his larger sculptures sit including this eagle look there is a piece of Lucky's inspiration with wood made from a tree trunk. Beside it is a blue heron, carving tucked between flower beds and trees. His and another eagle. Lucky often rides around wife Ann also has lent her hand to the artistic feeling town with a sculpture in the back of his rig. of the place. Lucky has a knack for taking trees and making them into objects of art. Often someone lo- You might think this is art, but the truth this monk is cal would cut down a tree and often at least some portion of it ended up in Lucky's huge shop. sitting over the well head of When he walks you around his property he often name's off the person who donated the piece the ranch. Several other that was made into an eagle, monk, or other animal. He's taken best of show in at least one local monks are in the front yard art show, and often drives around with his latest work in the back of his truck. It is obvious he under some trees. likes to make large pieces. His eagles are impressive, but so are his bears, herons, and other birds. He has a few exquisite abstract pieces, one on a desk in the local bank, where it is obvious he saw something in the wood and just went for it. My visit with him on a chill Sunday the beginning of March was entertaining. He has a large, well developed shop and often crafts tools to assist him in his creations. If his name holds true, this man will find himself a well loved artisan in places other than his own local. Lucky and his wife live in Hot Springs, Montana and can be reached at (406) 741â€“ 3509
From The West Old & New Blog http://thewestoldandnew.wordpress.com
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Photograph Photograph by by Jake Jake Wallis Wallis