ISBN: 0-87842-465-2 (1)
Producer: Montana PBS
Backroads of Montana
Amusing and amazing tales of life and times in rural Montana.
This video includes the following episodes:
Episode One “Virgelle to Victor” (1991) – Backroads of Montana was first broadcast in 1991. There is still a ferry at Virgelle although Bob and Lorraine Otto won’t greet you when you ring the buzzer. Bob died a few years ago and Lorraine now lives in Big Sandy. Their niece runs the ferry. There is now a bridge at Loma, but you still have to take a ferry in Carter. The Virgelle Mercantile is still open – they’ve added a few more homesteader cabins and the luxury of a nice bathhouse. Don claims that it’s getting too busy in Virgelle and he’s thinking of moving to someplace a little quieter. That wouldn’t be the Bitterroot where the barnstormers are still buzzing the skies with their model planes.
Episode Two “Custer to Columbia Falls” (1991) – You can still buy a canoe from Grey Morley in Swan Lake. Sonya Tetlie, the Doorknob lady passed away a few years ago. And for the record, she didn’t really condone theft of doorknobs. Custer Battlefield is now officially known as the Little Big Horn Battlefield. That story started a trend of retelling of Montana history on Backroads – as you’ll see in coming episodes we found many fascinating tales to tell. Hang gliding and paragliding are still big sports in Missoula. We also started going on location in this episode. That trend would also continue – it’s a way for us to tell one more story while we’re introducing the others.
Episode Three “Polaris to Joliet” (1992) – The Polar Bar in Polaris was one of those places that we discovered on our way to someplace else. We returned to do that story just in time. Walt Melcher, the gritty cowboy who entertained his guests with the songs of his youth sold the bar’s liquor license and closed up shop soon after our visit. Walt died in June of 1997. He was 91. The Ippisch Schoolhouse Bed & Breakfast closed and Les Ippisch died in the summer of 2005. The Bed & Breakfast has reopened under new management. They plan to reinstate the Christmas sale in 2006.
Episode Four “Miles City to the Missions” (1993) –The Miles City Chamber of Commerce ended the balloon roundup a few years ago. Bill Seward, the owner of the Jersey Lilly has passed on, but the restaurant is still open. They have so many tourists now that they’ve added some vegetarian items to the menu. And they still have those beans. The “King of the Bootmakers,” Mike Ives, died in 2006. He left an unfinished pair of boots on his bench.