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More Montana-made movies hit the big screen

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It’s been just over 25 years since the iconic Montana film “A River Runs Through It” was released in theaters nationwide. For many viewers, it was their first glimpse of the awe-inspiring landscape of southwest Montana.

A young Brad Pitt spends much of the film peacefully casting a line out into the Gallatin River with easily recognizable Gallatin Canyon landmarks, like Storm Castle peak, in the background.

The film, which can be interpreted as a love letter to the pristine outdoors and fly fishing, might be the most famous movie to be filmed in the region, but it’s certainly not the only one.

In 2017, the highly anticipated “Walking Out,” by Missoula brothers Alex Smith and Andrew J. Smith was released in select theaters. The Smith brothers, also responsible for “The Slaughter Rule” and “Winter in the Blood,” are committed to making films entirely set in Montana. “Walking Out” tells the story of an estranged father and son who are forced to rely on one another to survive in the unforgiving Montana wilderness.

“The Ballad of Lefty Brown,” directed by Jared Moshe, is the latest Hollywood film to set their cameras on the picturesque scenery of southwest Montana. Filmed in Bannack State Park, 25 miles southwest of Dillon, Montana, the Wild West film stars Bill Pullman, who taught at Montana State University early in his career.

Pullman plays side-kick Lefty Brown, who is pulled into the fray when his longtime partner and newly elected senator (Peter Fonda) is murdered. Lefty assembles a posse to enact revenge and, in doing so, viewers are taken on a cinematic tour of the sun-soaked plains of Montana. The sweeping shots of horseback riding and the big Montana sky might reignite the public’s interest in the region in very much the same way “A River Runs Through It” did long ago.

Other lesser known films that immortalize the region include “Everything that Rises,” a film directed by and starring Dennis Quaid as a Montana rancher trying to maintain his lands after a family tragedy. “The Last Ride,” stars a young Mickey Rourke who falls in love with a free spirit. A particularly memorable bar fight is set in Gallatin Gateway’s historic waterhole, Stacey’s.

To learn more about Big Sky and southwest Montana, visit the Visit Big Sky blog at

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