C.M. Russell Auto Tour

Charles Marion Russell is a Montana favorite son. So much so, that a statue of the  artist is only one of two that represent Montana in the U.S. Capitol. Russell came to Montana at age 16 to work on a sheep ranch. He later found work with a trapper who became a rancher, learning the ways of the West. Russell’s artistic fame began when he depicted the harsh winter of 1886 in a watercolor that was  eventually displayed in a shop window in Helena. The painting, captioned “Waiting for a Chinook,” became one of his best known works. Settling in Great Falls, he began working as a full time artist and met his wife Nancy, who is credited with making him internationally known. Overall, he created about 4000 works that illustrate the Montana West in a variety of mediums, including oils, watercolors, drawings, and sculpture in wax, clay, plaster and others. He was so venerated by Montanans that children in Great Falls were released from school to watch his funeral procession. Russell’s art provides a window into the past seen through the eyes of a cowboy’s cowboy. Striking visuals showcase Native Americans, buffalo, wolves, the open range, mountain men, and miners. In 1987, the Montana Legislature declared Route 87 between Great Falls and Lewistown the Charles M. Russell Trail. This trip follows that route.

Montana's Favorite Son

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