MISSOULA – Vintage travel films, an aged piece of sweet memorabilia, songs from a bovine point of view and contemporary American Indian art make up a new episode of the popular MontanaPBS travelogue series “Backroads of Montana.” The program premieres at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, with a repeat at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 31, on MontanaPBS.
The program begins with the story of De Borgia native Don Cooper, who was trained as a lumberjack. During his time in the Alaskan woods, he loaned a fellow worker $70 and, as collateral, got a film camera. He began taking nature and travel footage, eventually leaving a legacy of a dozen finished films complete with insightful and funny commentary.
The “Backroads” team attends a birthday party at the Range Riders Museum in Miles City. The guest of honor is one of the museum’s most unusual artifacts.
The next stop is in Bigfork for an event featuring Judy Williams, a Toston-area ranch wife. Williams tries to imagine what the cows are thinking. Using popular songs, she interprets their musings and has put together a popular series of bovine-themed routines.
For the final story, the program moves from music to art with a feature on Crow Indian artist Kevin Red Star from Roberts and Pryor. He’s built a successful career with a style that combines impressionism and traditional themes and symbols.
William Marcus hosts the program from Bannack State Park near Dillon, which has been restored fully following a devastating flood in July 2013.
“Backroads of Montana” is funded by the Greater Montana Foundation, the Montana Office of Tourism and the University of Montana. MontanaPBS is a statewide collaborative service of KUFM-TV at UM and KUSM-TV at Montana State University. Check local listings for channels.