A magnificent US state filled with friendly people, cows, and a few famous kooks. Located east of Idaho, west of North Dakota and South Dakota, north of Wyoming, and south of the Canadian provinces of British Colombia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. The capital is Helena, other major towns include Missoula, Butte, Great Falls, and Billings.

Montana's eastern and western parts are geographically and economically quite different: the western portion of the state is mountainous and forested, with timber, mining, and tourism (to see the magnicifent scenery as its main industries, while the eastern portion is flat and dry, a land of wheat farming and cattle ranching.

Montana is a huge state with a relatively small population. The area is 147,046 square miles and the state has a population of appox. 880,000, for a population density of 6.0 per square mile. While the population is overwhelmingly white, 6% of the state's residents are Native American. The Flathead (Federated Tribe of the Salish-Kootenai), Fort Peck (Assiniboine and Sioux, Rocky Boy's (Corruption of the Stone Child band of the Chippewa (Ojibwa)-Cree), and Crow Indian Reservations are found in the state.

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and a section of Yellowstone Park are to be found in the state. Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the country outside of the Great Lakes.

The Berkeley Pit, the largest CERCLA (superfund) site in the country, is a former mine and lifeless pool of mining wastes located outside of the sad old mining town of Butte.

Famous Montanans include painter Charles M. Russell, congresswoman Jeannette Rankin, and newscaster Chet Huntley. While the Unabomber (Ted Kaczynski) lived in a small cabin in the state, he was actually a product of U.C. Berkeley who moved to Montana because there would be nobody nearby to harass him.

Montana has repealed its old "Reasonable & Prudent" speed limit which garnered its highways the moniker "Montanabahn", and replaced it with a limit of 75mph.

The state has no sales tax.


The stripped gray aisle
of pine, late this spring--
Walking where the moon did,
some soft stellar light
that hinged on the words we
were not saying.
I could feel them left whole
behind my tongue
collected in the breath that
spilled white
from my mouth.
What was due to me was in
the wind that passed between
our hands, everything
in that space, as it unraveled--
The north, come again, your eyes
lit sharp, and the needles
rolled quickly between
rough callous, crushed and wild--
These things, a watch,
a calendar's worth of
empty sky--
How we move away from
all that rain renews,
hearts silent,
hearts singing.

Other interesting facts about Montana:

  • Gambling is legal there, but for some reason there are no big casinos. Every convenience store has a slot machine in it though.
  • There are theoretically leash laws in Montana, but no one cares. Dogs can go just about anywhere they want to. They don't yet have the right to vote, though.
  • The Western half on Montana was underwater fairly recently. See the node on Lake Missoula for the details.
  • Montanas are more libertarian than Republican, stereotypes notwithstanding. Very few Montanans are in favor of gun control, but then polygamy and drug use are also common in Montana, and it doesn't bother anyone.
  • There is no open container law in Montana, as long as you are below the legal blood alcohol limit of .10, you can drink and drive at the same time.
  • Although the state usually turns out Republican in national elections, in state elections, (at least in 2000), the results were very close.
  • In Missoula, MT, Ralph Nader got close to half the vote. Statewide, he got around 8 percent of the vote.
  • Almost every city in Montana, no matter how small, has a 20 foot tall letter of the cities initial on a hill just outside of town.
  • It is really, really, cold in Montana, and also really, really, hot. Sometimes at the same time. And a pass that is closed in winter is probably closed from September to May.
  • The experiment on lifting the speed limit to the contrary, I have noticed that in the cities at least, Montanans drive much slower then other people.
  • About half of all Montanans come from either California, Oregon or Washington, or at least it seems like they do.
  • Subarus are very common.
  • The sky actually is bigger.
  • You have to go there yourself.

Yet another song entitled "Montana" appears on the Phish release A Live One. It is actually an excerpt from a Tweezer performed 11/28/94 at the Field House at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. What was dubbed "Montana" begins at about 15 minutes into a sonic adventure that lasts almost 45. It was never played before or since.

Considering this information in contrast to the 31-minute Tweezer elsewhere on A Live One is a good way to begin to understand how much a Phish tune is capable of changing from night to night--especially Tweezer, the flagship jamming tune of mid-to-late 1994. Its successfully enjoyable experimentations provoked the band to stretch out other, older tunes into brand-new journeys that last over half an hour. Prominent examples include:

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