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Richard Hugo famously wrote in bars and about bars. Back in Missoula, old friend’s of his narrated the rise and fall of local “rapscallionism” to us over dinner – telling stories of what had happened to who in which bar and vividly conveying how the town continues to change as businesses die and switch hands.  Seven miles east, Harold’s still stands, formerly the Milltown Union Bar, where Hugo was a longtime regular. Our days of driving were largely spent passing through open stretches of ranch and farmland, punctuated by skinny rivers, mountain swells, and tiny towns nestled in between. Each town had a bar, and many had a few – old bars, mostly, that had seen busier days. Today, some sit abandoned and boarded up while others harbor a handful of patrons huddled at one end. Others are crowded and loud all hours of the day as business picks up thanks to summer rodeos, fishing contests, and tourists like us.


Bars 2-5

Bars 2-7

Bars 2-3

Bars 2-2

Bars 2-1

Bars 2-4

Bars 2-6

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