Ranches are being consolidated, the population is aging, diesel costs as much as 4 dollars a gallon, nearly double the price just 5 years ago, and no one knows where the jobs will come from in the coming years. Traditions are changing as demographics shift. Hutterite colonies, with their communal Anabaptist way of life, dot the prairies of eastern Montana, but the religious in the cities are moving toward newer religions such as Pentecostalism, and methamphetamine has become a god all to its own. Glaciers are melting, the population is aging, and a beetle-borne disease threatens to wipe out the forests. Cowboys cling to the rambling way of life, jobs are drying up, and statewide gambling has taken a heavy toll on many. And yet, people remain optimistic that the clouds will blow over and that the future will be bright. New industries are popping up, exploiting the drastic underemployment, and tourism continues to pump money into the economy.
This is one of my most personal projects and serves as an attempt to understand the place I call home. My great grandparents emigrated from eastern Europe and carved out a way of life on the plains of central Montana. Now, a whole new generation is finding out what it takes to survive in the so-called Last Best Place.