Monthly Highlights - August 2017

Fort Peck Dam
Work had just begun, and already it was the largest dam in the world. It provided hope and the prospect of a regular paycheck during the darkest days of the Great Depression. The dam was an engineering feat in a place as harsh and desolate as any on earth. Thousands of men and their families faced unforgiving conditions to build the Fort Peck Dam, a project bold in design, daring in execution and far reaching in its effects. Airs Tuesday, 8/1 at 7pm, Thursday, 8/3 at 4am, Wednesday, 8/9 at 12pm, Sunday, 8/27 at 10am

Never Long Gone: The Mission Mountain Wood Band Story
In 1971, two young musicians from Missoula, Montana, took a trip in a van and began a journey that continues to this day. Against the backdrop of cultural change that swept the nation, a group of Montanans with talent, big dreams and a tremendous sense of fun explored a sound that defied category and captivated audiences at home and across the country.
Airs Wednesday, 8/2 at 1am, Friday, 8/4 at 5am

How the West is Fun: Gold Rush (No. 104)
Four Montana middle-school students discover how hard it was to be a gold prospector in the 1860's. They pan for gold and learn about gold's scientific properties. Produced by John Twiggs for KUFM-TV/Montana Public Television, UM. Contact John Twiggs (406) 243-4640. Airs Wednesday, 8/2 at 11:30am

11th & Grant with Eric Funk: Dave Walther & the Dusty Pockets (No. 1206)
Bozeman based Dave Walther & The Dusty Pockets showcase their original music influenced by the roots of American folk, soul, and blues. Traversing terrain where blues and soul intersect with traditional folk, it's a sound both urbane and earthy. Featuring Dave Walther on guitar and vocals, Steve Brown on bass, Matt Rogers on guitar, and Dean Wakerlin on drums, the group radiates heart and soul. Airs Thursday, 8/3 at 7pm, Saturday, 8/5 at 9:36pm, Monday, 8/7 at 2am

Aber Day Kegger Documentary
This documentary traces the evolution of the Aber Day Benefit Kegger from its humble beginnings in 1972, through its meteoric growth over the next eight years, to its eventual conclusion in 1979. In the process, the event managed to leave its mark on the tens of thousands who attended, the beneficiaries who received its contributions, the community who hosted the event, and in Guinness World Records which recognized the event as the world's largest benefit kegger.  Airs Friday, 8/4 at 3am, Sunday, 8/6 at 10am

Backroads of Montana: Hook, Line and Singer (No. 138)
Backroads meets a western Montana man who has worked hard to improve access to the state's great outdoors. A terrifying highway accident left Chris Clasby a quadriplegic, but it couldn't diminish his passion for hunting and fishing. His spirit comes through as we tag along on a fishing trip on the Missouri River. Next is a tour of Rock City near Valier, a sandstone metropolis of hoodoos carved by Two Medicine River. The show profiles Chontay Standing Rock, a student at Stone Child College on the Rocky Boy Reservation, who has a unique approach to American Indian songs. He adds some English words and a striking stage presence to put his own spin on traditional music. And in Deer Lodge Backroads visits retired rancher, Gene Hensen, whose unlikely collection of home appliances grew from necessity. William Marcus hosts the program from the Fergus County Courthouse in Lewistown. Airs Saturday, 8/5 at 5pm

Montana Ag Live: Biological Weed Controls (No. 4707) 
Biological control specialist at Montana State University Jeff Littlefield will address the success of biological weed control efforts in Montana and how Montanans can utilize this technology to help with their weed control efforts. Airs Sunday, 8/6 at 11am

Butte, America
Grounded in the dramatic personal stories of five generations of mining families, and narrated by Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, this program tells the tale of Butte, Montana. Butte was once the world's largest producer of copper — the "Richest Hill on Earth," the town that "plumbed and electrified America," the Pittsburgh of the West. The community's toughness, vitality and solidarity speak to what's missing in America today, while raising profound questions about the costs and consequences of industrialization and use of natural resources. Airs Monday, 8/7 at 7:59pm

Playing for the World: 1904 Fort Shaw Indian Girls' Basketball Team
In 1902, a unique combination of Native women came together at a boarding school in Montana. They used the new sport of basketball to help them adjust to a rapidly changing world. Their travels and experiences led them to places they never imagined. Ultimately, these women played for something much larger than themselves. Airs Monday, 8/7 at 9:06pm, Wednesday, 8/9 at 5am

Glacier Park's Night of the Grizzlies
On the night of August 12, 1967, grizzly bears in Glacier National Park killed two young women and severely mauled one man. For everyone involved, it remains an unforgettable night of crisis, intense fear, bravery and, ultimately, grief. This dramatic and tragic story, and how it eventually influenced the fate of the grizzly bear in the continental United States, takes center stage in the historical documentary. Archival material, photographs, re-creations and gripping on-camera interviews with survivors, witnesses, family members, journalists and biologists, provide a complete account of those events. Veteran film and television actor J.K. Simmons (Law and Order, Juno, Up in the Air, The Closer) narrates. Airs Wednesday, 8/9 at 7pm, Friday, 8/11 at 3:30am, Sunday, 8/13 at 2am

Yellowstone in Four Seasons
Yellowstone has four seasons that can change at any time. Summer is for eating, fall is for mating, winter is for surviving and spring is for re-birth. But the vast common ground of any visit to Yellowstone, regardless of the season, is this: Mother Nature has worked millions of years to sculpt this grand treasure, and her finest work is on display for us all to appreciate and enjoy. Yellowstone's splendor lies in its solitude, it's grandness, it's complexity, and it's simplicity. For thousands of years, this real life drama has performed the same four-act play over and over again. Airs Wednesday, 8/9 at 1am and 8:30pm, Sunday, 8/13 at 3:30am

Voices of Fire
Voices of Fire explores the role wildfires play on the Western landscape. How will the ranchers and the ecosystem rebound from the tragic Soda Fire and what can be done to prevent another Soda Fire in the future? The film uses the Soda Fire as a case study to discuss how to manage and prevent future wildfires in the area. Airs Thursday, 8/10 at 7pm, Wednesday, 8/16 at 1am

Montana Rx: Unintended Consequences
Explore Montana's unique struggle with prescription drug abuse. A Browning grandmother and Billings student face tragedies that have shaped their lives. Airs Thursday, 8/10 at 7:30pm, Wednesday, 8/30 at 1am

Backroads of Montana: Not Forgotten (No. 139)
Backroads remembers a DeBorgia man who left behind a legacy on film. He went from western Montana lumberjack to improbable filmmaker and, in the process, provided memories to share. It's not possible to share a tasty artifact from Montana's military past in Miles City — you'll find out why. Did you ever wonder what a cow was thinking? We'll meet a Toston woman who took that a step further and wrote songs about it. Listen in on Judy Williams' entertaining concert and see how her approach to having fun has impacted others. And learn the traditions and family ties that inspire Crow Indian artist Kevin Red Star during visits to his studio in Roberts and family ranch near Pryor. Airs Saturday, 8/12 at 5pm

Finding Traction
Finding Traction presents the inspirational story of ultra-runner Nikki Kimball's quest to become the fastest person in history to run America's oldest hiking trail, the 273-mile Long Trail.  Through Nikki's incredible journey, racing towards a dream and against time, we gain a new perspective on what we all share in terms of endurance and the human spirit. Airs Sunday, 8/13 at 10am

Montana Ag Live: How Does Public Debt Affect Agriculture? (No. 4708)
Retired Montana State University economist Myles Watts will address the effect of public debt on Montana's economy including the agricultural sector. Airs Sunday, 8/13 at 11am

Gravel in Her Gut and Spit in Her Eye
Dorothy Johnson was a Western writer ahead of her time. Women saved men, heroes died unwept and unsung, whites lived with Indians and benefited from the experience. Three of her stories were made into films and many critics consider "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" to be the cornerstone of the modern western. This documentary looks back on Dorothy's life and her place in history. Airs Thursday, 8/17 at 7pm, Sunday, 8/20 at 10:30am, Tuesday, 8/22 at 2:30am, Monday, 8/28 at 3:30am

Paradise and Purgatory: Hemingway of the L Bar T and St. V's
Ernest Hemingway spent the summer and fall of 1930 hunting and fishing at the L Bar T, a dude ranch twelve miles south of Cooke City,MT. Although his vacation was initially a great success, it nearly ended in tragedy. Airs Thursday, 8/17 at 7:30pm, Monday, 8/21 at 3:30am, Wednesday, 8/23 at 5:30am

Backroads of Montana: Making Connections (No. 140)
In this episode, meet Iris Dodge who was inspired to record the vanishing cowboy life in paint and poems. Spend a fun day in Butte at the annual Lineman's Rodeo where professionals and amateurs show off their skills. In Jefferson City, explore the flowers, plants and trees at Tizer Gardens and Arboretum and then visit Kalispell to meet a vibrant 84-year-old woman who still teaches dance classes. William Marcus hosts the program from the annual Creston Fire Department Auction and Country Fair in northwest Montana. Airs Saturday, 8/19 at 5pm

Montana Ag Live: Growth Through Agriculture Program (No. 4709)
Angie Nelson with the Montana Department of Agriculture will be here to talk about the Growth Through Agriculture program which provides loans to develop new products and processes in Montana. Airs Sunday, 8/20 at 11am

Montana Mosaics: 20th Century People and Events:
History of Montana's Native Americans (No. 104) 

This episode details the Federal and State policies that sought to strip Native Americans of their culture and traditions, such as the mandatory boarding schools for Indian children and a policy of re-locating adult Native Americans to jobs in the cities. Airs Sunday, 8/20 at 10am

11th & Grant with Eric Funk: Last Chance Dixieland Jazz Band (No. 501) 
Meet the musicians from Helena, Missoula, and Kalispell who make up The Last Chance Dixieland Jazz Band. In the early 1900s, on the heels of ragtime, another American music emerged: Dixieland. In this genre, some of the music is written out and some of it is improvised. The Last Chance Dixieland Jazz Band offers a fine example of traditional jazz in all of its toe tappin' glory.  Airs Thursday, 8/24 at 7pm, Saturday, 8/26 at 9:28pm, Monday, 8/28 at 2:30am

Backroads of Montana: Marking Passages (No. 141)
We watch the closing of dinosaur-digging season near Bynum, listen to a centenarian bugler pay his respects, follow a Polson man in his quest to raise the state's largest pumpkin and recount one man's efforts to preserve a special rock quarry near Geraldine. William Marcus hosts the program from the 30th annual Hunter's Feed in Ennis. Airs Saturday, 8/26 at 5pm

Montana Ag Live: Bees: the Key to Our Future? (No. 4710)
The buzz in the news is still about bees and Michelle Flenniken, MSU's resident bee expert, will discuss the current state of bees and what Montanans can do to increase the population. Airs Sunday, 8/27 at 11am

Charles M. Russell Nwr: Nature's Timeless Landscape
The Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge is a sprawling slice of the American West. Located in the heart of Montana's breaks country, the refuge has abundant wildlife species including sharp-tailed grouse, sage grouse, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, elk and over 236 kinds of migratory birds. Stretching more than 125 miles from east to west along the Missouri River, the refuge is not one destination, but many. Airs Thursday, 8/31 at 7pm

We Sing
What does it mean to sing at the drum? How does kinship transform losses? How do powwows link families and traditions? Blackfeet and Salish elders and youth integrate past and present through kinship and commemorative performance. Together their voices make a song of innovation and resilience. Airs Thursday, 8/31 at 7:30pm


Monthly Highlights

Each month, MontanaPBS presents new programs and favorites from the past that have been produced in the state. For a detailed schedule with airdates and descriptions of the upcoming Montana programs, view the featured Monthly Highlights.

Future Productions

MontanaPBS stations KUSM-TV/Bozeman and KUFM-TV/Missoula are always hard at work on new stories for our viewers. View a listing of the productions that are in our program pipeline.

Production Services

KUFM-TV and KUSM-TV offer facilities and professional television Production Services for individuals or organizations interested in producing a program.


Improved and more economical television production technologies, such as the digital video (DV) format, have made it easier than ever before for individuals to create their own programs for potential broadcast. MontanaPBS encourages these Independent Producers, and in some cases we may be able to provide some assistance on your project. Visit our Independents page for more information.