Montana Ghost Dance: Essays on Land and Life

Paperback
Montana has been the last best place for so many people. A century ago, Native Americans gathered here to perform the Ghost Dance-a last, doomed attempt to make white settlers vanish and bring back the old ways of life. Today, people are still pouring into Montana, looking for the pristine wilderness they saw in A River Runs through It. The reality of Montana-indeed, of all the West-has never matched the myths, but this book eloquently explores how the search for a perfect place is driving growth, development, and resource exploitation in Big Sky country. In ten personal essays, John Wright looks at such things as Montana myths; old-timers; immigrants; elk; ways of seeing the landscape; land conservation and land trusts; the fate of the Blackfoot, Bitterroot, and Paradise valleys; and some means of preserving the last, best places. These reflections offer a way of understanding Montana that goes far beyond the headlines about militia groups and celebrities' ranches. Montana never was or will be a pristine wilderness, but Wright believes that much can be saved if natives and newcomers alike see what stands to be lost. His book is a wake-up call, not a ghost dance.