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Why Montana? Montana natives and transplants tell the story of why it is they moved here, why they never left, why they left and came back.

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The Montana Department of Commerce works with statewide and local partners, private industry and small businesses to enhance and sustain economic prosperity in Montana. - Montana Is On The Move

This month’s Serendipity kicks off a new feature called “Why Montana?” Montana natives and transplants tell the story of why it is they moved here, why they never left, why they left and came back, in short, why they call Montana home. If you’d like to share your story, let us know by sending an e-mail to">[email protected].

Eastern Montana is an acquired taste, even when the images in the rear-view mirror of the 1968 Tornado are the not-so-good lands of North Dakota and the cornfields of northwestern Iowa.

It’s June 1971, I’m with my brother, Dick, and his wife, Ann, who are leaving the Twin Cities to settle in Cut Bank. I’m exploring, untethered. The Hi-Line towns along U.S. 2 shuffle by — Fort Peck, Glasgow, Malta, Shelby and finally, the nation’s icebox. A decade later Cut Bankians would capitalize on their chilly humor and proudly prop penguin garbage cans along all the corners of Main Street, which also happens to be the neck between points northeast and Glacier National Park.

In Bergin’s Café, the strong life lines etched on the faces of the ranch hands and oil field workers speak of an outdoor work ethic, honed in a semi-arid world — large daily doses of wind and sunshine along the Rocky Mountain Front. The proprietor is Olive Bergin, and she fries a mean, grass-fed hunk of cow.

The publisher of the Pioneer Press, Frank Whetstone, walks into Bergin’s. Quick to engage new friends, especially ones who plan to settle in these parts, raise a family and become new subscribers, he offers an afternoon ride to Lake Frances, over to Sunburst and the Sweetgrass Hills, and back to Cut Bank.

Dave Shors – Managing Editor, Helena Independent Record

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