List of people from Montana

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Location of Montana

Montana Listeni/mɒnˈtænə/ is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name, derived from the Spanish word montaña (mountain). Montana has several nicknames, none official,[1] including: "The Treasure State" and "Big Sky Country", and slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more recently, "The Last Best Place". The state ranks fourth in area, but 44th in population, and accordingly has the third-lowest population density in the United States.[2] The economy is primarily based on services, with ranching, wheat farming, oil and coal mining in the east, and lumber, tourism, and hard rock mining in the west.[3] Millions of tourists annually visit Glacier National Park, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park.[4]


Man in a ball camp and white Tshirt holding a thin rod and standing in a field
Ed Bearss narrating history in a field
Man in a suit and tie with combed back hair
Roland Renne while President of Montana State College in 1960
Academics from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Ambrose, Stephen E.Stephen E. Ambrose 1936–2002 Lived in Helena during retirement Professor; historian; biographer [5]
Bearss, EdEd Bearss 1923–present Born in Billings Historian specializing in the American Civil War and World War II; chief historian of the National Park Service (1981–1994); National Park Service Historian Emeritus [6]
Blunt, JudyJudy Blunt 1954–present Born near Malta; attended college in and lives in Missoula Memoirist; associate professor at the University of Montana [7]
Flores, DanDan Flores 1948–present Lives in Missoula Historian and writer on the Western United States; professor and A.B. Hammond Chair in Western History at the University of Montana [8]
Knowles, MalcolmMalcolm Knowles 1913–1997 Born in Livingston Educator noted for the adoption of the theory of andragogy [9]
Maclean, NormanNorman Maclean 1902–1990 Moved to Missoula in 1909 Author; scholar; Dean of Students and William Rainey Harper Professor of English at the University of Chicago [10][11]
Pease, JanineJanine Pease 1949–present Lives on the Crow Indian Reservation Founded Little Big Horn College [12]
Renne, RolandRoland Renne 1905–1989 President of Montana State College (1943–1964) in Bozeman Agricultural economics professor; active in Washington D.C. and overseas agricultural economics work; Democratic candidate for governor of Montana (1964) [13]
Thurow, LesterLester Thurow 1938–present Born in Livingston Rhodes Scholar; economist; former dean of the MIT Sloan School of Management; author of numerous bestsellers on economics; columnist [14][15]
Toole, K. RossK. Ross Toole 1920–1981 Born, raised and college student in Missoula; lived in Missoula and Red Lodge Historian; history writer; A.B. Hammond Professor of Western History at the University of Montana [16]
Welch, JamesJames Welch 1940–2003 Born in Browning; attended college and lived in Missoula Poet; history writer; taught at the University of Washington, Cornell University, and the University of Montana; 1997 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas [17][18]


Man in a cowboy hat and white shirt with thin blue stripes sitting at a table with a microphone
Cartoonist Stan Lynde at the 1982 San Diego Comic Con
Man with brown hair, shirt with tie, and hat
Western painter Charles Marion Russell
Two men making a large ceramic sculpture
John Balistreri (right) assisting Peter Voulkos (left)
Artists from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Adkins, BradBrad Adkins 1973–present Born in Kalispell Artist and curator [19]
Appleby, AnneAnne Appleby 1954–present Lives and works part time in Born in Jefferson City Abstract color field/landscape painter [20]
Autio, RudyRudy Autio 1926–2007 Born in Butte; attended college in Bozeman; lived and taught in Missoula Sculptor and ceramicist; professor of ceramics [21]
Buck, John E.John E. Buck 1946–present Lives part-time in Bozeman Sculptor and printmaker; married to fellow sculptor Deborah Butterfield [22][23]
Butterfield, DeborahDeborah Butterfield 1949–present Lives part-time in Bozeman Sculptor who makes horses out of found objects; married to fellow sculptor John E. Buck [22][23]
Chatham, RussellRussell Chatham 1939–present Lives near Livingston Painter; lithographer; writer; restaurateur [24][25]
Cory, F. Y.F. Y. Cory 1877–1972 Lived in Helena and on a ranch near Canyon Ferry Lake Artist and illustrator [26]
Cumming, WilliamWilliam Cumming 1917–2010 Born in Kalispell Artist; a founder of the Northwest School
Dolack, MonteMonte Dolack 1950–present Born in Great Falls; lives in Missoula Lithographer; painter; poster artist; watercolorist; one of Montana's most popular and widely known contemporary graphic artists; known for whimsical images of animals (trout swimming in a bathtub, elk with their antlers on fire, etc.) [27][28]
Hancock, MalcolmMalcolm Hancock 1936–1993 Lived and died in Great Falls Satirical cartoonist who used the pen name "Mal" [29]
Hays, EthelEthel Hays 1892–1989 Born in and raised in Billings Syndicated cartoonist specializing in flapper-themed comic strips [30]
James, WillWill James 1892–1942 Lived his later adult years at Pryor Creek and in Billings Western artist; author; won the Newbery Medal in 1927 [31]
Linderman, Frank BirdFrank Bird Linderman 1869–1938 Lived in Sheridan, Demersville (now Kalispell), Helena, Butte, and Flathead Lake Western sculptor and writer; Native American ally; Montana State Representative (1903–1905); Montana Assistant Secretary of State (1905–1907) [32][33]
Lynde, StanStan Lynde 1931–2013 Born in Billings; raised on sheep ranch near Lodge Grass; attended college in Missoula; lived in last years of his life Helena Cartoonist who drew the comic strips Rick O'Shay and Latigo; western mystery novelist [34][35]
Paxson, Edgar SamuelEdgar Samuel Paxson 1852–1919 Moved to Montana at age 20; lived in Deer Lodge, Butte, and Missoula 19th-century realist painter [36]
Ralston, J. K.J. K. Ralston 1896–1987 Born in Choteau; lived in Helena, Dawson County, and Billings Western painter of the American Old West whose primary topics were the American West and images of cowboys and American Indians [37]
Red Star, KevinKevin Red Star 1943–present Born and raised on the Crow Indian Reservation; attended college in Bozeman and Billings; lives in Lodge Grass Contemporary Native Artist; some of his work is in the Smithsonian Institution [38]
Reiss, WinoldWinold Reiss 1886–1953 Spent significant time in Montana; ashes spread by the Blackfeet along the eastern edge of Glacier National Park Painter; made over 250 paintings of Native Americans, especially the Blackfeet [39]
Russell, Charles Marion "C.M."Charles Marion "C.M." Russell 1864–1926 Moved to Montana at age 16; lived in Cascade, and Great Falls Western painter; storyteller; author; primary topics were the American Old West and images of cowboys and American Indians [40][41]
Scriver, RobertRobert Scriver 1914–1999 Born on the Blackfeet Reservation; lived near Glacier National Park Sculptor of western themes [42][43]
Voulkos, PeterPeter Voulkos 1924–2002 Born, raised, and attended college in Bozeman; lived in Helena Abstract expressionist ceramicist [44]


Woman in light dress and hat standing on a white horse
Evelyn Cameron standing on a horse, circa 1915
Photographers from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Cameron, EvelynEvelyn Cameron 1868–1928 Lived in Terry Photographer; moved to Terry in the late 19th century with her naturalist husband Ewen; together they took pictures of Montana prairie life [45][46]
Haynes, Frank JayFrank Jay Haynes 1853–1921 Spent extensive time working in and photographing Montana Photographer; publisher; entrepreneur; played a major role in documenting the settlement and early history of the Northwest through photographs; official photographer of the Northern Pacific Railway and Yellowstone National Park; operated early transportation concessions in the park from the West Yellowstone area [47]
Jackson, William HenryWilliam Henry Jackson 1843–1942 Spent extensive time photographing Montana, especially the Yellowstone region Painter; Civil War and geological survey photographer; explorer of the American West; obtained the first photographs of Fort Ellis and settlements and geological features in the Paradise Valley along the Yellowstone River (1871) [48]
Lautman, Robert C.Robert C. Lautman 1923–2009 Born in Butte; attended college in Bozeman Architectural photographer with extensive portfolio of buildings of national (U.S.) importance [49]
Schlechten, AlbertAlbert Schlechten 1876–1961 Photographer in Bozeman and Anaconda With his brother Alfred, purchased the Bozeman photography business of Grant and Tippet, which was renamed "Schlechten Brothers"; later went into farming; then owned a photography studio in Anaconda; made large format camera series of photos of Yellowstone National Park [50]
Schlechten, AlfredAlfred Schlechten 1877–1970 Photographer in Bozeman, Montana With his brother Albert, purchased the Bozeman photography business of Grant and Tippet, which was renamed "Schlechten Brothers"; operated a solo portrait studio (1900–1940s) [50]
Schlechten, ChrisChris Schlechten 19??–197? Photographer in Bozeman, Montana Son of Alfred Schlechten; created a spoof college annual at Montana State College (1933); ran a studio in West Yellowstone, Montana, and conducted extensive photography of Yellowstone National Park; took over Schlechten Brothers studio in the 1940s [50][51]


Montanans participate in a wide variety of sports including: baseball, basketball, boxing, cycling, football, golf, rodeo, figure skating, skiing, and wrestling.

Man in a rodeo clown outfit at a rodeo
Rodeo clown Flint Rasmussen in 2007
Athletes from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Donovan, PatPat Donovan 1953–present Attended high school in Helena National Football League left tackle (1975–1983); four-time Pro Bowler; played in three Super Bowls, winning one [52]
Jackson, PhilPhil Jackson 1945–present Born and lived for several years in Deer Lodge National Basketball Association (NBA) power forward (1968–1980) and head coach (1990–2011); considered one of the Top 10 coaches in NBA history [53][54][55]
Leipheimer, LeviLevi Leipheimer 1973–1993 and more Born and raised in Butte, Montana American professional road bicycle racer. Won the 2007, 2008 and 2009 editions of the Tour of California, the 2006 Dauphiné Libéré and the 2005 Deutschland Tour. [56][57]
Linderman, BillBill Linderman 1920–1965 Born in Bridger; raised in Red Lodge Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champion All-Around Cowboy (1950 & 1953); elected to ProRodeo Hall of Fame (1979) [58][59][60]
McNally, DaveDave McNally 1942–2002 Born and lived in Billings Major League Baseball starting pitcher (1962–1975) [61][62]
Schmidt, ScotScot Schmidt 1961–present Born in Helena First ever professional extreme skier [63][64]
Wigger, LonesLones Wigger 1937–present Born in Great Falls Rifle shooter; three-time Olympic medalist—gold and silver in the 1964 Summer Olympics and gold in the 1972 Summer Olympics; once held 80 national championships and 29 world records [65][66]


Woman with dark glasses and short hair facing right
Writer Barbara Ehrenreich in 2006
Authors from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Baker, DorothyDorothy Baker 1907–1968 Born in Missoula Novelist [67]
Bass, RickRick Bass 1958–present Moved to Yaak Valley, near Troy in 1987; lives in Missoula Novelist; memoirist; environmental activist [68]
Bower, B. M.B. M. Bower 1871–1940 Lived most of her youth near Big Sandy Author of novels, short stories; and screenplays about the American Old West [69]
Brautigan, RichardRichard Brautigan 1935–1984 Lived in Paradise Valley during the late 1970s Novelist; poet; short story writer [70]
Cahill, TimTim Cahill 1944–present Lives in Livingston Travel writer; founding editor of Outside magazine [71]
Coates, Grace StoneGrace Stone Coates 1881–1976 Moved to Montana as an adult; lived in Stevensville, Butte, and Martinsdale Short story writer, novelist; poet; journalist [72]
Craven, MargaretMargaret Craven 1901–1980 Born in Helena Short story writer; novelist; journalist [73]
Doig, IvanIvan Doig 1939–present Born in White Sulphur Springs; raised there and in Pondera County; lived near Choteau Novelist specializing in Montana and western themes [74]
Ehrenreich, BarbaraBarbara Ehrenreich 1941–present Born and raised in Butte Columnist; essayist; political activist; feminist [75]
Guthrie, Jr., A. B.A. B. Guthrie, Jr. 1901–1991 Moved to Montana as an infant; raised in Choteau Novelist; screenwriter; historian; literary historian; won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1950; grandfather of Eden Atwood [76][77]
Harrison, JimJim Harrison 1937–present Lives Paradise Valley Author; poet; essayist; food writer [78]
Hjortsberg, WilliamWilliam Hjortsberg 1941–present Longtime resident of Park County Novelist; screenwriter [79]
Howard, Joseph KinseyJoseph Kinsey Howard 1906–1951 Lived in Great Falls Journalist; historian; author; specialized in the history, culture, and economic circumstances of Montana; Howard's 1943 book, Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome is considered a landmark [80][81]
Hugo, RichardRichard Hugo 1923–1982 Lived in Missoula Poet; taught creative writing at the University of Montana [82]
Johnson, Dorothy M.Dorothy M. Johnson 1905–1984 Moved to Whitefish as a child; attended college in, lived in, and taught college in Missoula Author of American Old West fiction [83][84]
Kittredge, WilliamWilliam Kittredge 1932–present Taught college in Missoula; lived in Missoula since 1969 Author; professor [85]
Lancaster, CraigCraig Lancaster 1970–present Long term resident of Billings, which is frequently featured in his novels Novelist, short story writer, sports writer [86]
McFadden, CyraCyra McFadden 1939–present Born in Great Falls; lived in Missoula Novelist; memoirist [87]
McGuane, ThomasThomas McGuane 1939–present Moved to Montana in 1968; lived in Paradise Valley and McLeod Novelist; short story writer; essayist; screenplay writer [88]
Meloy, MaileMaile Meloy 1972–present Born and raised in Helena Fiction writer; sister of Colin Meloy [89][90]
Nelson, AndrewAndrew Nelson 1893–1975 Born in Great Falls Missionary; linguist; lexicographer [91]
Quammen, DavidDavid Quammen 1948–present Moved to and lives in Bozeman since circa 1973 Fiction, science, and travel writer [92]
Paolini, ChristopherChristopher Paolini 1983–present Raised and lives in Paradise Valley Fantasy writer [93]
Schultz, James WillardJames Willard Schultz 1859–1947 Lived in Browning, Carroll, and Bozeman; buried on the Blackfeet Reservation Also known as Apikuni; author; explorer; Glacier National Park guide; fur trader; historian of the Blackfoot Indians [94]
Stegner, WallaceWallace Stegner 1909–1993 Raised in Great Falls Historian; novelist; short story writer; environmentalist;, often called "The Dean of Western Writers"; won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1972) [95]
Svee, GaryGary Svee 1943–present Born, raised, and lives in Billings; attended college in Missoula Journalist; author [96]

Business figures[edit]


Architects from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Brinkman, FredFred Brinkman 1892–1961 Lived in Kalispell; died in Flathead County Architect; a dozen of Brinkman's extant works in and around Kalispell have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places [97]
Reamer, RobertRobert Reamer 1873–1938 Designed historic buildings in Billings, Helena, Livingston and Gardiner Architect; most noted for the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park [98]
Willson, Fred FieldingFred Fielding Willson 1877–1956 Born and lived in Bozeman Architect; designed many buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places [99][100]


Entrepreneurs from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Bair, Charles M.Charles M. Bair 1857–1943 Lived near Billings, Lavina, and Martinsdale Railroadman; sheep husbandry; philanthropist [101][102][103]
Child, Harry W.Harry W. Child 1857–1931 Lived in Helena Entrepreneur who managed development and ranching companies in Helena; a founder and longtime president of the Yellowstone Park Company [104]
Turner, TedTed Turner 1938–present Lives on a ranch near Bozeman Entrepreneur; philanthropist; raises buffalo [105]
Rogers, James D.James D. Rogers 1949?-present Lives in Billings President and CEO of Kampgrounds of America (KOA) [106]
Ryan, John D.John D. Ryan 1864–1933 Lived in Butte Copper magnate; president of Anaconda Copper Mining Company; creator of Montana Power Company [107]
Washington, DennisDennis Washington 1934–present Lives in Missoula Entrepreneur; industrialist; philanthropist [108][109]
Yancey, John F.John F. Yancey 1826–1903 Buried in Gardiner; substantial business connections there and in Crevice Creek, Montana Yellowstone National Park concessionaire who operated Yancey's Pleasant Valley Hotel near Tower Junction in Yellowstone (1882–1903) [110]


Bald man in white shirt and dark vest, with beard
Bishop Daniel Tuttle in 1906
Clergy from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Carroll, John PatrickJohn Patrick Carroll 1864–1925 Lived in Helena Second Bishop of Helena; Carroll College in Helena is named in his honor [111]
Prophet, Elizabeth ClareElizabeth Clare Prophet 1939–2009 Lived on Royal Teton Ranch near Gardiner, died in Bozeman New Age religious figure [112][113]
Sample, Alexander KingAlexander King Sample 1960–present Born in Kalispell, Montana American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church; twelfth and current Bishop of Marquette, Michigan [114]
Tuttle, DanielDaniel Tuttle 1837–1923 Spent considerable time in Montana as an Episcopal bishop Ordained a bishop of the Episcopal Church in 1866; first assignment was first Episcopal Bishop of Montana (1866–1880), a missionary field that included Montana, Utah, and Idaho at the time [115]

Entertainment and performing arts[edit]

Montanans participate in many aspects of the entertainment and performing arts fields including: acting, animation, directing, and music.

Man in dark vest, white shirt, dark cowboy hat, and western tie
Actor Gary Cooper in High Noon in 1952
Man in jacket with white hair
Director David Lynch
Entertainers from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Ament, JeffJeff Ament 1963–present Born in Havre; raised in Big Sandy; attended college and resides in Missoula Bassist of Pearl Jam [116][117]
Cooper, GaryGary Cooper 1901–1961 Born and raised on a ranch near Helena Actor who specialized in westerns; nominated for five Academy Awards and won twice for Sergeant York (1942) and High Noon (1952) [118][119]
Lynch, DavidDavid Lynch 1946–present Born in Missoula Film and television director; nominated for four Academy Awards [120]
Parker, JeanJean Parker 1915–2005 Born in Deer Lodge Actress; She appeared in 70 movies from 1932 through 1966. In 1932 Parker posed as a flower girl and living poster in a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade, where she was seen by Ida Koverman, secretary to MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer. The following day the studio called her on the phone and invited her for a screen test.[121] She attended Pasadena schools and graduated from John Muir High School. Her original aspirations were in the fine arts and illustration.[122] She had a successful career at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer MGM Studios. [123][124]
Raye, MarthaMartha Raye 1916–1994 Born in Butte Actress; standards singer; nurse; strong supporter of American military; toured with the United Service Organizations (USO) during World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War; only woman buried in the Special Forces cemetery at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and was buried with full military honors there though never on active duty; known as "Colonel Maggie" to the American military; an honorary Green Beret; awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993 for her lifetime support to the American military
Williams, MichelleMichelle Williams 1980–present Born and raised in Kalispell Academy Award-nominated actress [125]


Journalists collect and disseminate information about current events, people, trends, and issues. Their work is acknowledged as journalism.[126] The following individuals are prominent journalists from Montana.

Journalists from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Huntley, ChetChet Huntley 1911–1974 Born in Cardwell; attended high school in Whitehall; attended college in Bozeman; died in Big Sky Television newscaster; co-anchored the evening news program The Huntley-Brinkley Report [127][128]
Musburger, BrentBrent Musburger 1939–present Raised in Billings; lives part-time in Big Timber Sportscaster; host of The NFL Today (1975–1989) [129][130]
Wood, MollyMolly Wood 1975–present Born in Helena; attended college and graduated from University of Montana Technology journalist and host of CNET's video series "Always On" with CNET TV.


Prior to statehood in 1889, the U. S. Army played a key role in facilitating settlement via actions against Native Americans, exploration and surveying. During World War I over 40,000 Montanans served in the armed forces, 25% more than any other state on a per-capita basis. Over 1500 Montanans died in World War I.[131] World War II brought air bases to Montana with the establishment of Malmstrom AFB, Montana in 1941 outside Great Falls, Montana. The Cold War saw the plains of eastern Montana become Minuteman Missile fields.[132] The following individuals were prominent members of the United States armed forces and/or participated in significant military events in Montana.

Medal of Honor recipients[edit]

Male US Marine in green jacket and hat with hands on hips and trees in background
Marine PFC Donald Jack Ruhl circa 1943–1945
Medal of Honor recipients from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Galt, William WylieWilliam Wylie Galt 1919–1944 Native of Geyser, in Judith Basin County Army Captain; Medal of Honor recipient for actions in Italy during World War II; killed in action [133][134]
McLennon, JohnJohn McLennon 1855–1888 Enlisted at Fort Ellis, near Bozeman; awarded Medal of Honor at Battle of the Big Hole, in southwest Montana Army Sergeant; Medal of Honor recipient for actions in Montana during the Nez Perce War of 1877 [133][135]
Moran, John E.John E. Moran 1856–1930 Lived and died in Great Falls Army Captain; Medal of Honor recipient for actions during the Philippine–American War in 1900 [133][136]
Parrish, LaverneLaverne Parrish 1918–1945 Raised in Pablo and Ronan Army Tech 4 (medic); Medal of Honor recipient for actions in The Philippines during World War II; killed in action [133][137]
Powers, Leo J.Leo J. Powers 1909–1967 From Madison County Army Private First Class; Medal of Honor recipient for actions in Italy during the Battle of Monte Cassino [133][137]
Ruhl, Donald J.Donald J. Ruhl 1923–1945 Raised near Columbus Marine Private First Class; Medal of Honor recipient for actions during the Battle of Iwo Jima; killed in action [137][138]
Schauer, HenryHenry Schauer 1918–1997 From Scobey Army Private First Class; Medal of Honor recipient for actions in Italy during World War II [137][138]
Smith, Cornelius C.Cornelius C. Smith 1869–1936 Moved to Helena in 1888; joined the Montana National Guard in 1889 Army Corporal; Medal of Honor recipient for actions in South Dakota during the Sioux Wars of 1891 [133][135][139]

Montana territorial period[edit]

American Indian sitting with long pony tails and a single feather in hair
Hunkpapa Sioux leader Sitting Bull in 1885
Military from Montana territorial and pre-territorial period
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Bull, SittingSitting Bull 1831?–1890 Spent significant portions of his life in southeastern Montana Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux holy man who led his people during years of resistance to United States government policies; vision of soldiers falling into camp was significant to fighters in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. [140]
Doane, Gustavus CheyneyGustavus Cheyney Doane 1840–1892 Stationed at Fort Ellis and buried in Bozeman U.S. Army Cavalry Captain; explorer; inventor; Civil War soldier who played a prominent role in the exploration of Yellowstone National Park as a member of the Washburn–Langford–Doane Expedition [141]
Glass, LookingLooking Glass 1832?–1877 Principal architect of the military campaign for his people through much of western Montana during the Nez Perce War War leader of the Nez Perce; initially opposed going to war with the whites [142]
Leg, WoodenWooden Leg 1858–1940 Spent significant portions of his life in southeastern Montana Northern Cheyenne warrior who fought in the Battle of the Little Bighorn and several other battles in the late 1800s [143]
Raynolds, William F.William F. Raynolds 1820–1894 Led Raynolds Expedition (1859–1860) to the Yellowstone River and Bighorn Canyon; Raynolds Pass named in his honor U.S. Army Colonel; explorer; engineer; Mexican War and Civil War officer; member of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers [144]
Reno, MarcusMarcus Reno 1834–1889 Buried in the Custer National Cemetery (1967) with honors, on the Little Bighorn Battlefield Career military officer in the American Civil War and in the Black Hills War against the Lakota (Sioux) and Northern Cheyenne; had significant role in the Battle of Little Big Horn [145]
Bird, WhiteWhite Bird 18??–1892 Led the military campaign for his people through much of western Montana during the Nez Perce War War leader of the Lamátta band of the Nez Perce; led his band to and stayed in Pincher Creek, Alberta, Canada [146]
Wolf, LittleLittle Wolf 1820?–1904 Born in and spent most of his life in southeastern Montana Leader of the Northern Cheyenne; was not present at the Battle of the Little Bighorn but played roles preceding and after it; led his people in many other battles and the Northern Cheyenne Exodus [147]

State of Montana[edit]

Man sitting in US Navy admiral's dress uniform
Admiral Jay Johnson while Chief of Naval Operations in 1996
Military from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Chittenden, Hiram M.Hiram M. Chittenden 1858–1917 Built North Entrance Road and Roosevelt Arch in Yellowstone (Gardiner) Seattle district engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers; in Yellowstone (1891–1892, 1899–1906) [148]
Gerrity, Thomas PatrickThomas Patrick Gerrity 1913–1968 Born in Harlowton United States Air Force general; commander of the Air Force Logistics Command [149]
Johnson, Jay L.Jay L. Johnson 1946–present Born in Great Falls Naval pilot; 26th Chief of Naval Operations (1996–2000) [150]
Running, NelsNels Running 19??–present Born and raised in Frenchtown Air Force Major General; Vietnam War veteran; awarded 7 Distinguished Flying Crosses [151]
Sharp, U.S. GrantU.S. Grant Sharp 1906–2001 Born in Chinook; raised in Fort Benton United States Navy admiral; Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) (1963–1964); Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Command (CINCPAC) (1964–1968); related to Ulysses S. Grant by marriage [152]
Thatcher, DavidDavid Thatcher 1921–present Born and raised in Bridger Army Air Force Staff Sergeant in World War II; crewmember of The Ruptured Duck (B-25) that was part of the Doolittle Raid; awards include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters [153]

Pioneers (pre-1900)[edit]

Prior to 1850, Montana was unsettled territory. Much of the state was part of a much larger Dakota Territory in 1863 and the western most portion of the state became part of the Oregon Territory in 1848. The territory was the realm of fur traders and Native Americans. The first European settlements were Christian missions in the western part of the state (1821). A fur trading settlement at Fort Benton on the Missouri River was established in 1847. In the 1850s, pioneers traveling along the Mormon and Oregon Trails started moving north into the Beaverhead River country establishing Montana's first cattle ranches. Gold was first discovered in Montana at Gold Creek near present day Garrison, Montana in 1852. Major gold strikes were made at Alder Gulch, Montana in 1864 spawning present day Virginia City, Montana and Bannack, Montana, the first territorial capital. In 1883 the Northern Pacific Railway completed its transcontinental route across Montana followed by the Great Northern Railway in 1893. From the first gold strikes to the beginning of the 20th century, pioneers flowed into Montana to establish mines, cattle ranches, lumber mills, banks, mercantiles, tourism, Yellowstone National Park and farms across the state. The following individuals played a prominent role in this pioneer period of Montana history.

Woman in western style clothes holding a rifle
Calamity Jane in 1895
Man in beard ans suit
Nathaniel P. Langford
Man in suit with beard
Nelson Story circa 1900
portrait of man in suit
Seth Bullock 1893
Pioneers (pre-1900) from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Bozeman, JohnJohn Bozeman 1835–1867 Lived in Bozeman and Deer Lodge Entrepreneur; established the Bozeman Trail (1863), a cutoff route from the Oregon Trail in Wyoming to Bannack, Montana; guided miners to Virginia City through the Gallatin Valley; established town of Bozeman in Gallatin Valley [154]
Bullock, SethSeth Bullock 1849–1919 Lived in Helena Entrepreneur; lawman; legislator; Montana territorial senator, sheriff of Lewis and Clark County, Montana, hardware store owner, hotel owner and sheriff in Deadwood, South Dakota. [155]
Clark, William A.William A. Clark 1839–1925 Lived in Bannack, Deer Lodge, and Butte Entrepreneur; Copper King; banker; railroader; United States Senator (1899–1900, 1901–1907) [156][157]
Daly, MarcusMarcus Daly 1841–1900 Lived in Butte Entrepreneur; Copper King; horse breeder [157][158]
De Smet, Pierre-JeanPierre-Jean De Smet 1801–1873 Established Christian missions in Flathead Valley and Bitterroot Valley of Montana Belgian Roman Catholic priest and member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits); missionary work among the Native Americans of the Western United States in the mid-19th century [159]
Earp, MorganMorgan Earp 1851–1882 Lived in Butte (1877–1880); law officer there (1879–1880) Brother of Deputy U.S. Marshals Virgil and Wyatt Earp; participated in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral [160]
Everts, Truman C.Truman C. Everts 1816–1901 Lived in Helena Member of the 1870 Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition exploring the area which later became Yellowstone National Park; became lost for 37 days during the 1870 expedition and later wrote about his experiences for Scribner's Monthly; appointed Assessor of Internal Revenue for the Montana Territory by President Abraham Lincoln (1864–1870) [161][162]
Heinze, F. AugustusF. Augustus Heinze 1869–1914 Lived in Butte Entrepreneur; Copper King [157][163]
Jane, CalamityCalamity Jane 1852–1903 Lived in Miles City, Livingston and Paradise Valley Also known as Martha Jane Cannary Burke; frontierswoman; professional scout; acquaintance of Wild Bill Hickok; fighter of Native American Indians [164]
Johnson, Liver-EatingLiver-Eating Johnson 1824?–1900 Lived near Alder Gulch and Red Lodge Mountain man of the American Old West; inspiration for the film Jeremiah Johnson (1972) [165]
Kohrs, ConradConrad Kohrs 1869–1914 Lived near Deer Lodge Cattle baron; the home ranch near Deer Lodge, Montana is now the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site [166]
Langford, Nathaniel P.Nathaniel P. Langford 1832–1911 Lived in Helena Explorer; businessman; bureaucrat; vigilante; historian; played an important role in the early years of the Montana gold fields, territorial government and the creation of Yellowstone National Park; appointed Collector of Internal Revenue and National Bank Examiner for the Montana Territorial government (1864–1869) [167]
Star, SolSol Star 1840–1917 Lived in Helena Businessman; bureaucrat; he served as territorial auditor and personal secretary to the governor. He partnered with Seth Bullock in a hardware store in Deadwood, South Dakota by the promise of a great deal of business stemming from the gold rush. [168]
Story, NelsonNelson Story 1838–1926 Lived near and in Bozeman Cattle rancher and "Cattle King"; gold miner; vigilante; led first major cattle drive from Texas into Montana (1866) along the Bozeman Trail, which inspired Lonesome Dove [169]
Washburn, Henry D.Henry D. Washburn 1832–1871 Lived in Helena Led the 1870 Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition to explore what would become Yellowstone National Park; Mount Washburn, located within the park, is named for him; surveyor general of Montana in 1869 and served until his death (1869–1871) U.S. Representative from Indiana; general in the Union Army during the American Civil War [170]
Willson, Lester S.Lester S. Willson 1839–1919 Lived in and buried in Bozeman U.S. Civil War officer in the Union Army; Assistant Quartermaster General of New York; Montana merchant and politician in Bozeman, Montana [171][172][173]


Senator and ambassador Mike Mansfield
Portrait of woman in dark hair and white dress
Politician Jeannette Rankin

Montana became a territory on May 26, 1864. The territorial government was first formed at the first territorial capital Bannack. Later the territorial capital was moved to Virginia City (1865), and Helena (1875). On November 8, 1889, Montana became a state and Helena remained the capital. During the territorial period, most senior government positions were appointed by the U.S. President. Once Montana became a state, elections were held for state and federal offices. The U.S. President still appointed judges to the federal courts in Montana. Prominent Montana politicians include the longest serving Senate Majority Leader, Senator Mike Mansfield and first woman Congresswoman, Jeannette Rankin.


Judges from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Battin, James FranklinJames Franklin Battin 1925–1996 Raised, attended college, and died in Billings United States Representative from Montana (1961–1969); judge for United States District Court for the District of Montana (1969–1990, chief judge from 1978) [174][175]
Browning, James R.James R. Browning 1918–present Born in Great Falls; raised in Belt; attended college in Bozeman and law school in Missoula Judge on United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [176]
Gray, Karla M.Karla M. Gray 1947–present Lived in Butte and Helena Second female justice and first female chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court (1991–2008, chief justice 2000–2008) [177][178][179]
Thomas, Sidney RunyanSidney Runyan Thomas 1953–present Born, raised and attended college in Bozeman; attended law school in Missoula Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; professor [180]

Political leaders and activists[edit]

American Indian male in headdress and traditional regalia
Chief Plenty Coups circa 1908
American Indian male sitting with one feather in hair and wrapped in a patterned blanket
Chief Joseph in the late 1800s
Woman in white dress and dark hair
Lawyer and pioneer of women's rights Ella Haskell
Man with thinning hair in suit and wire glasses
United States Senator Burton K. Wheeler
Political leaders and activists from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Cobell, Elouise P.Elouise P. Cobell 1946–2011[181] Born and lived on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation Accountant; banker; rancher; lead plaintiff in Cobell v. Salazar, a successful $3.4 billion class action settlement on behalf of Native Americans against the federal government [182][183]
Coups, PlentyPlenty Coups 1848–1932 Born in Montana, possibly near Billings; lived in south-central Montana most of his life; spent later years near Pryor Chief of the Mountain Crows, or Apsáalooke, band of the Crow Nation [184][185]
Haskell, Ella J. KnowlesElla J. Knowles Haskell 1860–1911 Moved to Montana from New Hampshire after finishing college; lived and worked in Helena, Butte, and then Glendive Pioneer of women's rights in Montana; teacher; first woman to practice law in Montana and the first woman ever to plead a case before the U.S. Circuit Court; first woman to run for state Attorney General [186]
Horse-Capture, GeorgeGeorge Horse-Capture 1937–present Graduated from high school in Butte; taught college in Great Falls Anthropologist; writer; political activist; participated in the Native American occupation of Alcatraz Island [187]
Hunkins, RayRay Hunkins 1939–present Born in Culver City, California; reared in Billings Lawyer and rancher in Wheatland, Wyoming; Republican gubernatorial nominee in Wyoming in 2006 [188]
Joseph, ChiefChief Joseph 1840–1904 Led his people through much of western Montana during the Nez Perce War, eventually surrendering in the Bear Paw Mountains, close to the Canada–US border Chief of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce; humanitarian; peacemaker [189]
Juneau, DeniseDenise Juneau 1967–present Lived in Billings, Browning, Bozeman, Missoula, and Helena Teacher; Montana State Superintendent of Public Instruction; head of Montana Office of Public Instruction; first American Indian woman to be elected to statewide executive office in Montana; member of Mandan and Hidatsa tribes [190]
Kemmis, DanielDaniel Kemmis 1946–present Born and raised in eastern Montana; attended law school in Missoula Author; lawyer; speaker and minority leader of the Montana House of Representatives (1983–1985); mayor of Missoula (1990–1996) [191]
Leforge, ThomasThomas Leforge 1850–1931 Moved to Virginia City as a teen Montana militiaman; scout; camp follower; often lived with the Crow Nation; author of historical account Memoirs of a White Crow Indian [192]
Mansfield, MikeMike Mansfield 1903–2001 Moved to Great Falls as at a very young age; attended college in Butte and Missoula Served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps; miner; professor; Senator (1953–1977); longest serving Senate Majority Leader (1961–1977); ambassador to Japan (1977–1988) [193][194]
Old Person, EarlEarl Old Person 1929–present Born and lives on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation Chief of the Blackfoot Confederacy [195]
Racicot, MarcMarc Racicot 1948–present Born in Thompson Falls; raised in Miles City and Libby Governor of Montana (1993–2001); chairman of the Republican National Committee (2002–2003); lawyer [196][197]
Rankin, JeannetteJeannette Rankin 1880–1973 Born near and attended college in Missoula First female member of the United States Congress (1917–1919, 1941–1943); only member of Congress to vote against United States entry into World War II; sister of Wellington D. Rankin [198][199]
Rankin, Wellington D.Wellington D. Rankin 1884–1966 Born near and attended college in Missoula Attorney; Montana Attorney General (1920–26); landowner; brother of Jeannette Rankin [200][201]
Roth, Jr., William V.William V. Roth, Jr. 1921–2003 Born in Great Falls; raised in Helena US Senator from Delaware (1971–2001); namesake of Roth IRA [202]
Thorkelson, JacobJacob Thorkelson 1876–1945 Moved to Montana as an adult in 1913; lived in Dillon Navigator, medical doctor, reserve naval officer, United States Representative from Montana (1939–1941) [203]
Venne, CarlCarl Venne 1946–2009 Born in Helena; raised and lived on the Crow Indian Reservation Chairman of the Crow Nation (2002–2009) [204][205]
Wheeler, Burton K.Burton K. Wheeler 1876–1945 Settled in Butte after losing his belongings in a poker game during a train stop in Butte while on the way to Seattle, Washington Lawyer and United States Senator from Montana (1923–1947) [206][207]
Yellowtail, BillBill Yellowtail 1948–present Born in Wyola; lived in Helena and Bozeman Administrator; member of Montana Senate (1985–1993); member of the Crow Nation [208]
Yellowtail, RobertRobert Yellowtail 1889?–1988 Born and raised in Lodge Grass Lawyer; Indian leader; member of the Crow Nation [209]

State legislators[edit]

The Montana State Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Montana. It is composed of the 100-member Montana House of Representatives and the 50-member Montana Senate.[210]


Dan Bailey, ca 1970s

Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time.[211] The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology.[212] Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun". Since the late 1800s, Montana has been a mecca for fly fishing, hunting, hiking, climbing and other recreations. The following individuals are prominent in the recreational history of Montana.

Recreationalists from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Anker, ConradConrad Anker 1962–present Lives in Bozeman Rock climber, mountaineer, and author famous for his challenging ascents in the high Himalaya and Antarctica. [213]
Bailey, DanDan Bailey 1904–1982 Lived in Livingston fly-shop owner; innovative fly developer; staunch Western conservationist [214]
Grant, George F.George F. Grant 1906–2008 Born and lived in Butte Angler; innovative fly developer; author; conservationist; active for many years on the Big Hole River [215]
Lowe, AlexAlex Lowe 1958–1999 Lived in Bozeman Mountain climber; American Alpine Club's Underhill Award (1995); The North Face climbing team; mountain peak near Bozeman named in his honor [216]
Marshall, BobBob Marshall 1901–1939 Worked near Missoula; Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana named in his honor Forester; wilderness advocate; co-founder of The Wilderness Society [217][218]
Wynn, Frank B.Frank B. Wynn  ?–1922 Died in Glacier National Park; spent considerable time climbing in Montana Psychologist; environmental conservationist and alpinist; credited with many first ascents in Glacier National Park [219]


Man in a beard and glasses in a space suit
Loren Acton in a space suit in 1985
Close up photo of bald man in a gray suit
Vaccine specialist Maurice Hilleman
Old man in suit with gray hair and glasses
Nobel Prize in Chemistry laurette Harold Urey
Scientists from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Acton, LorenLoren Acton 1936–present Born in Lewistown; attended college in Bozeman Physicist and astronaut who flew on Space Shuttle mission STS-51-F as a payload specialist; unsuccessful candidate for the Montana legislature in 2006; physics professor at Montana State University [220]
Burgdorfer, WillyWilly Burgdorfer 192?–present Lived in Hamilton Medical entomologist; discovered the bacterial pathogen that causes Lyme disease, a spirochete which was named Borrelia burgdorferi in his honor; worked for many years at the Rocky Mountain Laboratory (RML) in Hamilton, a U.S. National Institutes of Health research facility [221]
Despain, Don G.Don G. Despain 1940–present Lives in Bozeman Botanist; plant ecologist; fire behavior specialist; specializes in the flora of Yellowstone National Park [222]
Grinnell, George BirdGeorge Bird Grinnell 1849–1938 Significant contributions to the preservation of Glacier National Park and bison in Montana; Grinnell Glacier named in his honor Anthropologist; historian; naturalist; writer; associate of James Willard Schultz [223]
Hayden, ToreyTorey Hayden 1951–present Born in Livingston; attended high school in Billings Child psychologist; non-fiction author; special education teacher [224]
Hilleman, MauriceMaurice Hilleman 1919–2005 Born and raised near Miles City; attended college in Bozeman Microbiologist who developed over three dozen vacciness; credited with saving more lives than any other scientist of the 20th century; Robert Gallo described him as "the most successful vaccinologist in history" [225][226][227]
Hogan, LesterLester Hogan 1920–2008 Born and raised in Great Falls; attended college in Bozeman Physicist and a pioneer in microwave and semiconductor technology [228]
Holter, Norman Jefferis "Jeff"Norman Jefferis "Jeff" Holter 1914–1983 Born attended college, and died in Helena Biophysicist; invented the Holter monitor; awarded the Laufman-Greatbatch Prize for his contributions to medical technology by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation in 1979 [229]
Hood, LeroyLeroy Hood 1938–present Born in Missoula Biologist; physician; biochemist; Lemelson–MIT Prize recipient; member of National Inventors Hall of Fame [230]
Horner, JackJack Horner 1946–present Born in Shelby; attended college in and resides in Bozeman Paleontologist; discovered and named Maiasaura, providing the first clear evidence that some dinosaurs cared for their young; technical advisor for all of the Jurassic Park films, including being partial inspiration for the characters Dr. Alan Grant [231][232]
Ricketts, Howard TaylorHoward Taylor Ricketts 1871–1910 Worked in the Bitterroot Valley on Rocky Mountain spotted fever Bacteriologist; pathogen causing Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Rickettsia rickettsii was named after him [233]
Urey, HaroldHarold Urey 1893–1981 Studied zoology in Missoula Won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934 [234]
Weissman, IrvingIrving Weissman 1939–present Born and studied science in Great Falls Professor at Stanford University; director of the Stanford Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine [235][236]


Black woman with short hair standing at a rail in a library second floor
Alma Smith Jacobs at a library circa 1960s
Other people from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Breuning, WalterWalter Breuning 1896–2011 Moved to Montana at age 18; lived and died in Great Falls Supercentenarian; lived to age 114; at one time the world's oldest living man [237][238]
Jacobs, Alma SmithAlma Smith Jacobs 1916–1997 Born in Lewistown; grew up in Great Falls; lived in Helena; died in Bozeman Librarian; head of Great Falls Public Library (1954–1973); first African American Montana State Librarian (1973–1981) [239][240]
Mortenson, GregGreg Mortenson 1957–present Lives in Bozeman Mountain climber; philanthropist [241][242]
Seed, HuckHuck Seed 1969–present Grew up in Corvallis Professional poker player [243]
Wicklund, SusanSusan Wicklund 1954–present Lives in Livingston Physician; operated women's clinics in Bozeman and Livingston [244][245]

Infamous Montanans[edit]

Man with beard in dungy clothes leaning back in a chair
Harvey "Kid Curry" Logan in an undated photo
Infamous people from Montana
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Boyle, W. A.W. A. Boyle 1904–1985 Born and raised in Bald Butte, Montana; later lived in other parts of Montana President of United Mine Workers of America union (1963–1972); later convicted in a murder case that also involved embezzlement [246][247]
Boyle, Kyle AaronKyle Aaron Boyle 1977–2006 Born and raised in Whitefish Mass murderer responsible for Seattle's Capitol Hill massacre [248]
Kaczynski, TedTed Kaczynski 1942–present Lived near Lincoln at the time of his capture Domestic American terrorist known as the Unabomber [249][250]
Logan, Harvey "Kid Curry"Harvey "Kid Curry" Logan 1867–1904 Spent several years in various parts of Montana, especially in what is now Chouteau County and Phillips County Outlaw; circumstances of death disputed [251][252][253]
Plummer, HenryHenry Plummer 1832–1864 lived in Bannack, then part of Idaho Territory Sheriff/outlaw of Bannack; hanged by vigilantes [254]
Weston, Russell EugeneRussell Eugene Weston 1956–present Lived in Rimini most of his adult life prior to his arrest Committed to a mental institution after the 1998 United States Capitol shootings [255]

Fictional Montanans[edit]

Woman in white knit blouse with hat, sunglasses and red hair
Marg Helgenberger, who portrays Catherine Willows, in 2007
Fictional Montanans
Name Lifetime Montana connection Comments Refs
Beauregarde, VioletViolet Beauregarde Not stated Born and raised in Miles City per the 1971 film but in other adaptations is stated as being from two different cities in Georgia Fictional character in the Roald Dahl children's books Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, and the former's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) film adaptations [256]
Hill, PeggyPeggy Hill 1965–present Born on a cattle ranch in Montana Fictional character in the animated series King of the Hill [257][258]
Monroe, LindsayLindsay Monroe Not stated Born and raised in Bozeman Fictional character from the CBS crime drama CSI: NY [259]
Willows, CatherineCatherine Willows 1963–present CBS biography originally stated she was from Bozeman; later it was changed to Las Vegas, Nevada Fictional character on the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation [260]

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