TBT: A River Runs Through It” and how it changed Montana

A 2012 from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reflects on the impact of A River Runs Through It on Montana 20 years after its release in 1992. Eleven years later, the pandemic and Yellowstone have pushed similar impacts into the stratosphere.

So Hollywood came to Southwest Montana, bringing in stars like Robert Redford, who directed and co-produced the movie, and Brad Pitt, who was still a budding actor. Hundreds of locals lined up to try out for parts in the film, and women squealed at seeing Redford in the streets. The community was abuzz.

A headline in a 1991 issue of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle read: “Redford says the film may bring changes.”

How right he was.


One thought on “TBT: A River Runs Through It” and how it changed Montana

  1. Not just Montana, but many other places around the world. Argentine Patagonia in the 1993-94 was filled with new to the flyfishing, mostly elderly American upscale gentlemen who had seen the film (along with Robert Duvall’s Lonesome Dove on television a year or two earlier) and were all looking for a piece of the last of the Old West before the Modern Fall. There was the Gierach Trout Bum Effect, too – suddenly everybody wanted to be one (or, as it turned out, watch some rich old guy fishing and doing none yorself, fishing guide). It even came to lost in ancient time and limited space Britain, with American-style stripped pine Fly Stores springing up and everybody suddenly an operator or must-have star (to beginners) guide on rivers that really didn’t them.

    Dream started, dream duly ended a few years back (at least, over here), with those who didn’t know how things were before a hyped-up Hollywood and Big Brand Dream replaced the old ways left thinking “Christ, was all that about…?” and people like me trying not to do “Told er so” schadenfreude.

    Never done that myself, so mean-spirited and such a bad look. Always just tried to get to interesting places before the rest of the suddenly ever-growing pack got wind of it, found where they were then turned up and ran all over them.

    Very few of those fellas fishing these days.

    Boote out.

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