A young man from Missouri named Charlie Russell arrived in the Judith Basin in 1880. For the next ten years, the cowboy artist lived and worked here; the Western epic was faithfully captured with his paints and canvas, and many of the scenes are from the Judith Basin.
Charlie's art provides a window into the past to tell the story of American Indians, buffalo and wolves, cowboys and the open range, mountain men and miners, and the inevitable change that came with progresshomesteaders, railroads, highways. And, the story is told where it happenedout on the range and in the mountains where people can experience the West as it was, and as it is today.
The Montana Legislature designated Highway 87 between Great Falls and Lewistown as the "Charles M. Russell Trail." Explore the Judith Basin
ride the Russell trail! The land continues to stir the imagination and spirit today as it did for a cowboy artist over 100 years ago. And visit the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana.
An interpretive booklet for the C.M. Russell Auto Tour is available from the Central Montana office by calling 1-800-527-5348.
Download Printable Byway Map