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MONTANA 1864

Ken Egan Jr

One hundred and fifty years ago, the land that would become the state of Montana was mostly wild and untrammeled, as it had been for millennia. But then, everything changed. And Ken Egan Jr. wanted to know why. He looked for a book to explain the events of 1864. But didn’t find one. So he wrote his own, which turned out to be a humbling process for this Montana-born scholar.

Ken Egan Jr
Ken Egan Jr, author of MONTANA 1864

The book is MONTANA 1864: Indians, Emigrants, and God in the Territorial Year. The author is Ken Egan, Jr., Executive Director of Humanities Montana. All author royalties go to support the programs and grants of Humanities Montana, an independent nonprofit organization that supports public discussion of history, literature, Native American cultures, and more. Humanities Montana supports some programming on Montana Public Radio.

About the book:

In 1864, vast herds of buffalo roamed the northern short-grass prairie and numerous Native American nations lived on both sides of the adjacent Continental Divide. Lewis and Clark had come and gone, and so had most of the fur trappers and mountain men. The land that would become Montana was mostly still the wild and untrammeled landscape it had been for millennia.

That all changed in a single year—1864—because of gold, the Civil War, and the relentless push of white Americans into Indian lands. By the end of that pivotal year in the history of Montana—and in the history of the American West—Montana was the newest United States territory.

In Montana 1864, writer and scholar Ken Egan Jr. captures this momentous year with a tapestry of riveting stories about Indians, traders, gold miners, trail blazers, fortune-seekers, settlers, Vigilantes, and outlaws—the characters who changed Montana, and those who resisted the change with words and war.

Chérie Newman is an arts and humanities producer and on-air host for Montana Public Radio, and a freelance writer. Her weekly literary program, The Write Question, is broadcast on several public radio stations, and available online at PRX.org and MTPR.org.
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