Montana Geography and Famous Natives

Geography of Montana

The western third of Montana is covered by over 50 individual ranges of the Rocky Mountains, with the most significant being the Great Belt, Bitterroots and Lewis. Glacier National Park, considered the most rugged place in the continental 48 states, is home to plentiful (unelevated) ice covered peaks. The Continental Divide (imaginary line) indicates the absolute highest points of the earth, where on either side of the same rivers will flow downhill, east or west. That divide runs from northwestern Canada, south along the ridges of Montana’s Rocky Mountains, then south all the way into Mexico, where it follows the peaks of the Western Sierra Madre.

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The Great Plains of North America slope eastward from the Rocky Mountains and cover the land balance of Montana; rolling countryside, wide river valleys and acres of prairie grass cover the landscape for as far as the eye can see.

The Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison rivers combine to form the headwaters of the Missouri River as it rises in southern Montana and flows, in a winding path, all the way to St. Louis, Missouri, a distance of over 2,500 miles. The Yellowstone River, originating in southwestern Wyoming, flows through the state into North Dakota, where it joins the Missouri. Smaller rivers and streams are commonplace, as are alpine lakes, tundra and glacier ice in the higher elevations of the northern mountains.

Montana Famous Natives

People listed are almost always native to the state. We do (on occasion) include those who have either lived within the state for most of their adult lives or have made significant contributions to the state in their personal endeavors.

A-B

  • Philip Aeberg composer, musician
  • Jeff Ament guitarist
  • Written by Dorothy Baker
  • Dirk Benedict actor
  • Erik Bergust Olympic gold medalist
  • Brad Beard Animator/Director
  • Opera singer Judith Blegan

C

  • Mary Clearman Carried away author, poet
  • Actor/Comedian Dana Carvey
  • Gary Cooper actor
  • Many Coups shouts the Indian leader

D

  • Written by Ivan Doig
  • Artist Monte Dolaca
  • Patrick Duffy actor

E-H

  • Troy Evans actor
  • Maurice Hilleman microbiologist (mumps vaccine)
  • John R. Horner dinosaur paleontologist
  • Television correspondent Cheta Huntley

J-K

  • Phil Jackson basketball coach
  • Motorcycle Daredevil Evel Knievel
  • Jerry Kramer football player

L

  • Actress Myrna Loy
  • David Lynch director
  • Stan Lind cartoonist

M

  • Dave McNally baseball player
  • Written by William D’Arcy McNickle
  • Lee Metcalfe politician
  • George Montgomery actor

P-V

  • Charlie Pride country singer
  • Janet Rankin is the first woman in the American home
  • Actress Martha Rey
  • Michael Smuin choreographer
  • Lester Thurow economist, author
  • Peter Wooldos artist

W-Y

  • James Welch author
  • Olympic Games Shooter Lones Wigger
  • Actress Michelle Williams
  • Indian Crow Leader by Robert Yellovtel

Montana State

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