The Call of the Mountains
The Artists of Glacier National Park
June 27 to October 12, 2002
Charles M. Russell
authors of the
early Twentieth Century like Frank Bird Linderman, Mary Roberts
Rinehart, and James Willard Schultz turned their experiences
Glacier National Park area into best-sellers. Other writers like Agnes
Laut and James Whilt were inspired to poetry, or wrote
histories of the Northern Rockies.
Frank Bird Linderman (1869
- 1938) Frank Bird Linderman arrived in the Flathead Valley in
March 1885 at the age of sixteen. He made a living for seven
years as a trapper and guide in the Flathead and Swan Valleys
before becoming assayer at the Curlew mine, south of Missoula.
He married Minnie Jane Johns in 1893, and settled in Sheridan,
Montana running an assay office. Six years later he bought the
Sheridan Chinook newspaper, and his writing career began.
Linderman had political ambitions and was elected to the State
Legislature in 1903 and 1905. In 1905, he moved to Helena, after
being appointed Assistant Secretary of State, and resided there
for the next twelve years.
Linderman became friendly with many
local Native leaders, including Rocky Boy (Stone Child) of the
Chippewa, and Little Bear of the Cree. Originally migrating to
the northern plains from the Canadian Great Lakes, the Chippewa
and Cree had been left out of the reservation process and many
became squatters on any open land they could find. In 1908,
Linderman met with many influential Montanans, including Senator
Paris Gibson, and artist Charlie Russell to advocate the idea of
creating a reservation for these wandering, dispossessed people.
Writing almost five hundred letters and telegrams over a
ten-year period to support his cause, Linderman used his
political influence to persuade the legislature. In 1916, his
ceaseless campaign culminated in the creation of the Rocky Boy
Indian Reservation near Havre, Montana.
Linderman had always
been intrigued with Indian culture and, partly inspired by
George Bird Grinnell, he became totally immersed in their
legends, customs. and beliefs. In Sentember 1915, Charles
Scribner's Sons released Linderman's Indian Why Stories, a
collection of Blackfeet, Chippewa, and Cree legends retold by a
fictional character named War Eagle, molded after Chippewa
leader, Chief Penneto. Dedicated to his friends Grinnell and
Russell, it was illustrated by Charlie Russell himself! The book
was warmly received by the public, and wildly popular with
children. Linderman went on to write numerous volumes on Indian
subjects. Through an interpreter, Linderman interviewed Chief
Plenty-Coups on the Crow Reservation. In 1931, the John Day
Company published Linderman's American; The Life and Story of a
Great Indian, Plenty-Coups, Chief of the Crows, of the most
powerful and revealing hooks ever written on the Plains Indians.
Plenty-Coups gave Linderman the name "Sign-Talker."
the twenty-fifth anniversary of Glacier National Park, Linderman
was chosen by the Great Northern Railway to write the text for a
book introducing the magnificent Blackfeet portraits by Winold
Reiss. In the afterword, Linderman himself is profiled:
"(his) Blackfeet name is Iron Tooth ... The old Kootenai
called him Bird Singer, and the Crees and Chippewa called him
Sings Like A Bird ..."
Although historically important,
Linderman's books had limited commercial success. He lamented,
"The critics all praise my books, but the public won't buy
them...." Frank Bird Linderman would be pleased to know
that many of his books are still in print today, and are enjoyed
by western history enthusiasts around the world.
James Willard Schultz (1851
- 1947) James Willard Schultz was born in Boonville, New York in
1859. As a youth he developed a passion for the outdoors,
spending much of his time in the Adirondacks. Following his
junior year at the Peekskill Military Academy on the Hudson
River, Schultz traveled to St. Louis to visit his uncle. He
eagerly listened to tales of adventure spun by riverboat crews
returning from the West. Fascinated by their stories of
Montana's wilderness, Schultz booked passage and headed up the
Missouri for Fort Benton.
Shortly after he arrived, Schultz met
Joseph Kipp, an early settler of the region and well-known
prospector, trader, army scout, and rancher. Kipp took the young
easterner under his wing. While spending the next several years
with Kipp and his Blackfeet in-laws, Shultz kept details of his
experiences in Montana. Chief Running Crane gave him the name
"Apikuni." Kipp's wife, Double Strike Woman, arranged the marriage
between fifteen year old Fine Shield Woman and James Willard
Fine Shield Woman bore his first son, Hart Merriam
Schultz, who later became a famous artist using his Blackfeet
name Lone Wolf. From his earliest days as a hunting guide James was
known as a gifted storyteller, and some of his adventures with
Eastern clients found their way into print in a book called
Sport Among The Rockies. After the sudden death of Fine Shield
Woman from heart disease, Schultz agreed to take Ralph Pulitzer,
the son of the famous journalist, on a hunting trip where they
illegally shot four bighorn rams. Pulitzer was fined, and
Schultz fled the state. Drifting, he spent time in Arizona where
he wrote his most famous work My Life As An Indian, using the
pen name W. B. Anderson. The book was first serialized in Field
and Stream, and published in 1907 with photographs by George
Bird Grinnell. He settled in California and worked for the L.A.
Times as a literary editor.
His popularity continued to
increase, and in 1914, Schultz made the decision to return to
Montana. With his new prominence, he was somewhat of a
celebrity. Each summer, beginning in 1915, Schulz and his wife
were brought by the Great Northern Railway from Southern
California and given lodging in the Park. In an effort to bring
further national attention to the area, Schultz engaged some of
his Blackfeet friends to visit important sites in Glacier.
Photographer Roland Reed accompanied the party and shot dramatic
images of the Blackfeet amidst spectacular settings. Schultz
used Reed's photographs to illustrate the resulting book
Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park, which chronicled
Native legends and was dedicated to Louis Hill, the president of
Although Schultz had little formal education, he
proved to be a prolific writer, often finishing two or three
books a year. It is estimated that since 1911, over 2 million
copies of his books had been printed, with My Life As An Indian
accounting for nearly 500,000 of the total number. In addition
to the 37 books published in his lifetime, four other
manuscripts were published posthumously.
One of Schultz's
greatest accomplishments was his leadership of The Indian
Welfare League, an organization that struggled to attain full
citizenship for all Native Americans. Schultz's writings remain
popular today. The James Willard Schultz Society, founded in
1976, publishes a quarterly and holds its conventions in Glacier
National Park. Schultz brought to the American people compelling
narratives of the Blackfeet, written with the compassion and
understanding that could only come from his own experience.
Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958)
Mary Roberts Rinehart was one of the most famous mystery writers
in America when she wrote Through Glacier Park in 1916. The
Man in Lower Ten (1906) and The Circular Staircase
(1907) are among the earliest works by an American author still
in print. Through Glacier Park was a departure from her
suspenseful style. Sprinkled with photographs, it documented her
300-mile horseback trip across Glacier National Park led by the
famous dude rancher, Howard Eaton. At first, Rinehart was
somewhat averse to traveling with Eaton and his dudes, but her
days in Glacier proved to be a wonderful experience.
In 1918 she penned a sequel, Tenting To-Night. It
showcased images of the Park by several photographers, including
Ted Marble and Fred Kiser. Rinehart's enthusiasm for Glacier
National Park was noticed by Louis Hill of the Great Northern
Railway, and she was commissioned to write introductions for
An Appreciation of Glacier National Park
If you are normal and philosophical, if you love
your country, if you are willing to learn how little you count
in the eternal scheme of things, go ride in the Rocky Mountains
and save your soul. There are no "Keep off the Grass"
signs in Glacier National Park. It is the wildest part of
America. If the Government had not preserved it, it would have
preserved itself but you and I would not have seen it. It is
perhaps the most unique of all our parks, as it is undoubtedly
the most magnificent. Seen from an automobile or a horse,
Glacier National Park is a good place to visit.
Here the Rocky Mountains run northwest and southeast, and in
their glacier carved basins are great spaces; cool shadowy
depths in which lie blue lakes; mountain-sides threaded with
white, where, from some hidden lake or glacier far above, the
overflow falls a thousand feet or more, and over all the great
silence of the Rockies.
Here nerves that have been tightened for years slowly
Here is the last home of a vanishing race - the Blackfeet
Indians. Here is the last stand of the Rocky Mountain sheep and
the Rocky Mountain goal; here are elk, deer, black and grizzly
bears, and mountain lions. Here are trails that follow the old
game trails along the mountainside; here are meadows of June
roses, forget-me-not, larkspur, and Indian paintbrush growing
beside glaciers, snowfields and trails of a beauty to make you
gasp. Here and there a trail leads through a snowfield; the hot
sun seems to make no impression on these glacier-like patches.
Flowers grow at their very borders, striped squirrels and
whistling marmots run about, quite fearless, or sit up and watch
the passing of horses and riders so close they can almost be
The call of the mountains is a real call.
Throw off the impedimenta of civilization. Go out to the West
and ride the mountain trails.
Throw out your chest and breathe-look across green valleys to
wild peaks where mountain sheep stand impassive on the edge of
space. Then the mountains will get you. You will go back. The
call is a real call. I have traveled a great deal of Europe. The
Alps have never held this lure for me. Perhaps it is because
these mountains are my own-in my own country.
Cities call - I have heard them. But there is no voice in all
the world so insistent to me as the wordless call of these
mountains. I shall go back. Those who go once always hope to go
back. The lure of the great free spaces is in their blood.
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Agnes Laut (1871-1936)
Agnes Laut was a Canadian author.
One of her best known early works was the historical novel, Pathfinders
of the West: The Thrilling Story of The Adventures of The Men
Who Discovered The Great Northwest-Radisson, La Verendrye,
Lewis and Clark (1904), featuring illustrations by Philip
R. Goodwin, John Marchand and Frederic Remington. In 1925, the
president of the Great Northern Railway, Ralph Budd, invited
Agnes Laut and other notables to join the upper Missouri
Historical Expedition. Beginning in St. Paul, the expedition was
a celebration of the railroad's influence on the Northern Plains
and Rocky Mountain region. This expedition was the inspiration
for two books by Laut, Blazed Trail of the Old Frontier and
Enchanted Trails of Glacier Park which featured
human-interest stories by James Willard Schultz, illustrations
by artists Charles M. Russell and John Clarke, plus photographs
by Roland Reed.
was a popular poet who wrote at least three volumes about
Glacier National Park and it's environs; Rhymes of the
Rockies, Mountain Memories, and Giggles from
Glacier Guides. His poem about the North Fork of the
Flathead River is on display in Call of the Mountains.