When Montana became the 41st state in 1889, an old pinoeer lamented, “Now she's gone to hell,” but most Montanans embraced statehood as the inevitable culmination of one of the most rapid and dramatic transformations in United States history.
Only twenty-five years after becoming a territory, Montana was profoundly different: the buffalo slaughtered and gone, the Indian wars fought and ended, the tribal nations confined to reservations, cattle and sheep raised by the tens of thousands, Butte exploded into a rich, wide-open town, and railroads built to link the once remote land with the world.
Montana 1889 tells the many stories of this overwhelming transformation by entering into the lives, emotions, and decisions of diverse peoples cooperating and competing on this contested ground. As in Ken Egan’s highly acclaimed Montana 1864, these stories are told month by month, deftly showing the flow and friction of events and the unfolding destinies of individuals and nations.
"This is the best kind of history...exquisitely crafted. There is no doubt that Ken Egan is one of the most gifted Montana historians of our generation."
—Robert R. Swartout, Jr., Professor Emeritus of History, Carroll College (Helena, Montana)