Fifty States Of Fiction: Montana


We can’t always travel to the places on our bucket list. But we can go there with books! I started the Fifty States Of Fiction challenge with the aim of reading one book from every state in the country. Each week in 2017 I’ll be here to talk about a different state, share with you some geographical fun facts, and explore how a novel, play, or personal narrative captures the essence of the area. Want to follow along? Check out this free printable calendar I’ve created just for you! Let’s get started!


Today’s State: Montana

Nickname: Treasure State

Motto: “Gold and Silver”

Bird: Western meadowlark

Flower: Bitterroot

Entered the union in: 1889

Now, pack your bags everybody. We’re about to explore Montana as Norman Maclean portrays it in A River Runs Through It.


Stationed along the rivers of western Montana in the summer of 1937, Norman and his brother, Paul, do what they do best. They fly fish. As the Big Blackfoot River rumbles, they pluck large, barnacle-covered fish from the water. Behind them, the canyon and the old Clearwater bridge stand, watching. On dry land, a covering of pine needles litters the ground. Although Jim McGregor owns the smaller Elkhorn stream as well as the “No Trespassing” sings posted along it, they have permission to fish beneath the cover of the osiers. In the Elkhorn’s deeper waters, meditative Eastern Brook Trout drift lazily, showing off the beauty of their yellow and orange spotted sides, red underbellies, and white-tipped fins. When Norman needs a break from babysitting his brother-in-law, Neal, he and Paul seek out their summer cabin at Seeley Lake. There, they bury beers in the shallow waters to cool off. After an unbearably hot day, they are forced to drive a very sunburnt tagalong back to Wolf Creek, Neal’s small town home. Forty miles away, in the capitol city of Helena, Paul works as a newspaper reporter. When he recounts his ventures, Paul speaks in the poetic style of one giant human-interest story. But, after Paul’s death, it falls to Norman to tell of their experiences fly fishing together on Montana’s many waters.

Have you read any other books set in Montana? Have you traveled there yourself? Make sure to let me know what the Treasure State means to you in the comments! Check back here next week to explore Nebraska through literature.

And remember, if you want to keep up with our schedule as we travel the country, you can download my free printable calendar.

See you all next week!


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