#1 The Old Montana State Prison- Deerlodge
Paranormal Investigation: https://youtu.be/QavTJBMFyQw
These walls hold a lot of dark history. Deaths occurred from a violent 1959 riot. You can feel the unnerving energy once you enter the prison grounds. A great place to set up for investigations, the complex is large and active in the paranormal.
#2 Virginia City
American Haunting: https://youtu.be/fj1qd_SI_og
This town allows you to step back in time during the mining days of Montana. Charming and fun! The town’s business shuts down at 4 pm, so get your ghost gear out!
#3 Daly Mansion
Audio Evidence: https://youtu.be/HiF-hocwCng
Rich in history and built by a Montana Copper King, many strange and unexplained things have occurred at the mansion in Hamilton. Come and visit the remains of the pool area on the property or set up a tour of the house. Walk the grounds and hear the past whispers on the wind.
#4 Dumas Brothel- Butte
Ghost Adventures: https://youtu.be/yagvLFBSs1k
The Dumas served as a brothel in Butte for approximately 92 years. Mining towns throughout the West were notorious for their brothels, and Butte was no exception. At one time Butte had a thriving Red Light District. Today it is the only building that remains of the sex worker industry of Butte’s past. Be prepared to be spooked by its cold, dark, and musty spaces and creaking floors.
#5 Garnet Ghost Town
Montana’s Best Preserved Ghost Town: https://youtu.be/svJ5jWBm0V4
Some ghost towns truly are empty and totally uninhabited, aside from archaeologists and occasional tourists passing through. Such is the case high in the hills of west-central Montana, where the historic ghost town of Garnet is located.
Sit back, grab some popcorn, and get ready to see the Land of the Shining Mountains on the big screen
Author: Shane Cox
*All movie art credit belongs to IMDB
5. What Dreams May Come (1998)
There is an easy way and a hard way to see Heaven. The easy way is to live in Montana.
Led by legendary actor and comedian Robin Williams, this movie showed us the true meaning of the word “soulmate”. In this romantic fantasy, William’s character travels through Heaven and Hell to rescue the soul of the woman he loves. Along the way, he will reunite with his old dog Katie and his children who tragically died in a car accident and no I’m not crying I’m just SWEATING THROUGH MY EYES OK!!! (Seriously, it is a great movie, but have a box of tissues on hand)
Some of the most beautiful shots in the movie were filmed in Glacier National Park. While shooting, Williams decided to take a break and tour the area. (Traylor, 2014) He later said:
“If it isn’t God’s backyard, He certainly lives nearby.”
RIP Robin. There will never be another like you
4. Forrest Gump (1994)
Movies and Montana goes together like peas and carrots…
Montana makes a brief yet beautiful cameo in this legendary picture. During the running sequence, the shot of Forrest running though a field of golden wheat was taken just outside Cut Bank, MT. The scene then cuts to him jogging across a stone bridge at the St. Mary Entrance to Glacier National Park. (Movie-Locations: Forrest Gump, 2020)
Though Big Sky Country is only onscreen for few seconds, it was almost left out of the movie entirely! The studio, worried that the project was going too far over budget, threatened to pull the plug in the middle of production. Hanks and Director Robert Zemeckis decided to cover the cost of shooting the iconic running scene and save what is now one of the most beloved movies of all time. (Ashton, 2020)
As if we needed another reason to love Tom Hanks
3. The Untouchables (1987)
That’s the Montana way…
Chicago is great. But when you want your protagonists to charge the bad guys guns blazing while on horseback you pack up production and go to the Treasure State.
Based on real events, the movie follows Elliot Ness as he forms a team of special agents to take down the infamous gangster Al Capone. The movie’s (arguably) best scene takes place at Hardy Bridge just outside of Great Falls. (Movie-Locations: Untouchables, 2020)
This film is criminally underrated. In fact, you should stop reading this list right now and go watch it. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
2. The Revenant (2015)
The movie that FINALLY gave poor Leo his Oscar
While the movie is set in Montana and South Dakota, most of it was filmed in Canada. However, one of the film’s most pulse pounding scenes was shot in the rapids of Kootenai Falls, just downstream from Libby. In this scene Hugh Glass (played by DiCaprio) uses the waterfall to escape from a party of pursuing Arikara hunters. (Movie-Locations: Revenant, 2020)
I just gotta say…y’all know that scene where Leo eats a raw bison liver? Yeah, that wasn’t special effects. Real Liver. Real Reaction. He also actually crawled inside of a dead horse. All I’m saying is that if DiCaprio wanted to live in Montana he would fit in around here just fine. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Honorable Mention: Return to Lonesome Dove (1993)
A Cowboy’s Odyssey
This 4-part mini-series, while technically not a movie, deserves a place on this list. The sequel to the epic adventure Lonesome Dove follows Captain Woodrow F. Call’s return from Texas to his ranch in Montana.
This series is the perfect binge watch for fans of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies. The filming locations span across the state and include Butte, Cardwell, Virginia and Nevada City, Laurel, and Billings. (Return to Lonesome Dove: Filming and Production, 2020)
Fun Fact: My Dad worked on the Set #2 of this movie while he was in college. He was paid $100 a day to pick up and hide barb wire fences so they were not caught on camera. He and his coworker would spend their free time hunting rattlesnakes to turn into boots and hatbands to sell to the California crew.
I’m sorry, but my Dad is cooler than your dad. 🙂
1. A River Runs Through It (1992)
I’ll never leave Montana, Brother
There is no other way to end this list than with the most iconic Montana movie of all time. While most of these entries only take advantage of the state’s amazing scenery, Montana provides the heart and soul of this beautiful story.
While the film was set in Missoula and by the Blackstone river, the scenes in town were filmed in Livingston, MT. Likewise, the fishing scenes were captured in Paradise Valley on the Yellowstone River, the Gallatin River south of Bozeman, and the Boulder River by Big Timber. (Movie-Locations: River Runs Through It, 2020)
So many elements of this movie make it special. Norman Maclean’s story was adapted by Richard Friedenberg and brought to life by director Robert Redford. The entire cast is amazing, with now legendary actor Brad Pitt standing out among the crowd.
If you were born under the Big Sky…you need to watch this movie. If you have, you know why I can’t put the feeling into words. This film reminds us where we come from. It reminds us of Home.
Ashton, W. (2020, January 2). Forrest Gump: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Classic Tom Hanks Movie. Retrieved from Cinema Blend: https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2487844/forrest-gump-10-behind-the-scenes-facts-about-the-classic-tom-hanks-movie
Movie-Locations: Forrest Gump. (2020). Retrieved from Movie-Locations: https://www.movie-locations.com/movies/f/Forrest-Gump.php
Movie-Locations: Revenant. (2020). Retrieved from Movie-Locations: http://movie-locations.com/movies/r/Revenant.php
Movie-Locations: River Runs Through It. (2020). Retrieved from Movie-Locations: http://movie-locations.com/movies/r/River-Runs-Through-It.php
Movie-Locations: Untouchables. (2020). Retrieved from Movie-Locations: http://movie-locations.com/movies/u/Untouchables.php
Return to Lonesome Dove: Filming and Production. (2020). Retrieved from IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106112/locations?ref_=tt_ql_dt_5
Traylor, A. (2014, August 11). Remembering Robin Williams in Montana: His Visit to Glacier National Park. Retrieved from 107.5 Zoo FM: https://1075zoofm.com/robin-williams-montana/#:~:text=Remembering%20Robin%20Williams%20in%20Montana%3A%20His%20Visit%20to%20Glacier%20National%20Park&text=Scenes%20from%20the%20film%20’What,was%20directed%20by%20Vincent%20Ward
Spoiler alert: witches aren’t fugly bitter women like movies and shows depict. I was only a little disappointed when I found this out. I know what you’re thinking: how does one stumble upon this knowledge? Well, over the summer, a friend of mine had mentioned something about witchcraft to me and it sparked my interest (and by sparked my interest, I mean it was quarantine and I had nothing better to do). I spent about a week researching and learning about witchcraft in modern society and learned so many interesting and cool things that I never would have related to modern witchcraft.
Turns out, witchcraft is still practiced to this day and there are covens all over the world! One of the first things I learned when doing my research is most modern witches are actually pretty normal people, meaning they don’t necessarily stand out in a crowd. Witchcraft is all about karma and what you as a person add to this world. They believe that what you put out into the world will come back to you threefold. What this translates to in very mundane terms is if you treat people with kindness and empathy, you will in turn get 3x the amount of kindness and empathy back to you in your life. It’s not an instant gratification, but rather the Golden Rule we were all taught in elementary school; treat others the way you would like to be treated.
There is a variety of witchcraft paths, but the one I found the most interesting is the one called green witchcraft. Green witches are basically plant loving nerds. Many green witches enjoy keeping and maintaining plants by nurturing them and treating them with respect, especially ones that will be used for food down the line. Another path of witchcraft that I had already known about, but did not know it was related to witchcraft is rocks and gems. We’ve all seen jewelry with different gems or rocks in them saying they will do a specific thing if you wear them. For example, rose quartz is known for being the gem of love and compassion. Jewelry is sold with rose quartz advertised as being symbolic of love, and this all stems back to witchcraft and their belief that all natural things have a certain energy, ~vibe~ if you will, to them. Many witches will incorporate different gems and stones into their daily life to help them receive the specific energies they would like or need that day.
There is so much more to witchcraft than the few things I chose to write about and I hope I sparked a little curiosity in you to learn more. After a lot of reading and YouTube videos (by Harmony Nice), I came to the conclusion that witchcraft is either accurate about the meaning of life or a fantastic placebo. Either way, it works for some folks and helps to spread more kindness. Hopefully, if more people educate themselves on other ways of life and practices, this world might become a brighter place.
As you can see, when I say eastern Oregon I do not mean Bend as some travel bloggers do. I mean further east as in closer to Idaho than the coast. Not many people think of beautiful conifer forests, waterfalls, hot springs, fossil beds, historic sites, roaming elk herds, nor majestic mountain lakes when they think about true eastern Oregon. In fact, I would say not many people outside of the few who live here spend much time thinking about eastern Oregon if they think about it at all. This seems to be particularly true when people are making their travel plans, and that is perhaps the best part about it out here. If you dare to go against the grain (and do a little bit of roughin’ it) there are numerous trails with brilliant views, and historic structures of some form awaiting your discovery year-round with little to no crowds. Read on to learn more about the eastern Oregon I bet you STILL don’t know!
Did you know about the National Forests and other public lands in eastern Oregon with miles of all types of trails?
Hike, bike, backpack, ride a horse or ATV, maybe even Nordic ski! It’s all here depending on the time of year.
If you prefer to have a more relaxing visit you can simply camp along a lake, river, or visit a hot spring.
Did you know that eastern Oregon also has one of the most renowned fossil beds in the USA?
They have discovered such unusual fossils like those of ancient, small mammals.
Did you know eastern Oregon had its own gold rush?
Asian immigrants were participants, and there are even a few active claims still.
Did you know eastern Oregon has fire look outs that are still in operation during the summer?
Their often rugged roads end in some of the best views perfect for romantic sunrises or sunsets and dark sky photography. You can probably stop by and have a chat with the look out too!
Did you know. . .I purposely did not give you a lot of specific details?
What good is an adventure if you don’t get to put in the effort to discover it for yourself?! I myself have been disappointed by going to places travel bloggers have already given nearly every detail away about. Putting in the time and effort to find these and other hidden gems out here is one of the reasons I fell so in love with it that I now live out here. I have a continual sense of excitement about the next beautiful creek or historic remnants I may find on my next outing. I do not want to potentially ruin that sense of excitement for you. Come out and discover it further for yourself! I will give you a hint though: having a vehicle, particularly one for rough dirt roads, is a good idea.
I hope you enjoy whatever your next adventure is! I must admit I hope it is out here.