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By Rick and Susie Graetz
University of Montana Department of Geography 

Montana Remains 'High, Wide and Handsome'


Rick and Susie Graetz

The high peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains.

“Colorado is high, having more peaks within its borders than any other state. Wyoming is wide, with the breadth of the plains between the Bighorns and the Grand Tetons. California is handsome, with a splendor of success. It takes all three adjectives to describe Montana.”

In 1941, Donald Curloss Peattie, a naturalist of the 1920s through the 1950s, included these words in his book “The Road of a Naturalist.” In 1943, Montana newsman and writer Joseph Kinsey Howard took the three descriptives and titled his book “Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome,” which when first released recei...

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