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Evelyn Cameron: Pictures From A Worthy Life

First Aired Sunday, March 01, 2009

Evelyn Cameron left a life in England and found a sense of peace on the Montana prairie.

Evelyn Cameron: Pictures From a Worthy Life

Evelyn Cameron: Pictures From a Worthy Life

Rating: NR

A legacy of photographs and writings provide an intimate portrait of pioneer life.

This documentary film tells the story of Evelyn Cameron, an extraordinary woman pioneer who left behind an unrivaled legacy -- thousands of photographic images and thirty-five years of diaries that detailed life in eastern Montana at the turn of the 20th century. From 1894 to1928, Evelyn photographed the changing face of Montana horse and cattle drives, sheep herding, the wool trade, the railroad, and the arrival of homesteaders.

To take her pictures, Evelyn often rode horseback for fifty miles or more and frequently climbed precipitous mountains on foot with her heavy camera equipment strapped to her back. Evelyn Cameron loved Montana and flourished here - taking on the hard work of running a ranch, keeping a market garden and taking photographs of the wildlife and immigrants alike. Her photography turned into a business which rescued the family finances and allowed Evelyn and her husband to remain on the Eve Ranch near Terry, Montana.

Produced in high definition digital video, the film juxtaposes the stark and majestic eastern Montana landscape with Cameron’s stunning photographic images. The story of the film comes from Evelyn’s own words -- her diaries describing her daily life in the Montana badlands.

Producer John Twiggs says of making the film, "It was a treasure trove of source material to work with, both visual and written. While the source material is rare, I think we learned that Evelyn Cameron represented a lot of women on the prairie at that time -- women who embraced the hard work and sacrifice of frontier life and reveled in the accomplishment of succeeding under difficult circumstances. Evelyn Cameron found a sense of peace in how she lived her life and that makes this a timeless story that should be told again and again."

Evelyn Cameron: Pictures from a Worthy Life

  • Written, directed, filmed and produced by John Twiggs, KUFM-TV/MontanaPBS
  • Executive Producer, William Marcus, KUFM-TV/MontanaPBS
  • Documentary Consultant, Donna Lucey, author, Photographing Montana 1894-1928, The Life and Work of Evelyn Cameron
  • With support from: Travel Montana, Montana’s Cultural Trust, Greater Montana Foundation, Montana Committee for the Humanities, The University of Montana, and The Friends of Montana PBS

The March 18th, 2006 opening of a new Evelyn Cameron Exhibit at the Montana Historical Society in Helena featured director John Twiggs, sharing the challenges and surprises he experienced over the five years of producing the film.

For more information about Evelyn Cameron, the Prairie County Museum and Terry, Montana visit the Evelyn Cameron Foundation.