At 690 miles in length, the Yellowstone river is the longest undammed river in the lower 48 American states. With its source in Wyoming, it then flows north through Yellowstone Park, down Paradise Valley before taking a sharp turn east to flow through the prairies of eastern Montana to its confluence with the Missouri in North Dakota.

Apart from its beauty and its status as a 'blue ribbon' trout stream that attracts fishermen from all over the world, its course also encapsulates most of the historical highs and lows of the history of the American West. From the pioneering exploration by Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery, to the Indian wars, and the near extinction of the buffalo. Then the age of the cowboy and cattle ranching,  and the railways and the homesteader movement,

John has canoed long sections of the Yellowstone river and spent many weeks in Yellowstone Park, and this lecture explores many aspects of the wonderful state of Montana, regarded by many as 'The last best place.'  He discusses how Yellowstone Park manages to absorb 3 million visitors every year while still keeping the wild experience of the 'back country'. He's interviewed the Director of the park and rangers responsible for Grizzly bear management and the controversial reintroduction of the wolf.

John shares the belief in the need for a greater Yellowstone ecosystem to allow the wildlife to spread out from the boundaries of the park. However this conflicts with the surrounding area that has some of the fastest-growing population in the States.

On leaving the Park John tells of his adventures along the river valley. From 'Radon Therapy' in disused silver mines, to white water rafting, from ghost towns to dinosaur hunts, from the battle of Little Big Horn to the catch of the paddlefish for their caviar.  He tells of visits to saddle-makers, boot makers, hat makers who make products that are still bought by people who ride horses for a living and not just recreation. He discusses the conflict between traditionalists and eco liberals. He tells of the multi-million dollar trout fishing industry and the threats to its future. He visits the abandoned cabins of the homesteaders who believed the stories spun by the railroad companies that eastern Montana would make wonderful agricultural land. 

All the romance and violence of the American West in one talk!

Illustrated with great pictures.



  The ghost town of Bannack


Little Bighorn Battlefield


       Mural showing railway promotional material that was distributed to attract homesteaders to eastern Montana.

                                                                                                                            Pile of bison skulls.