Missoula, Montana is one of the most beautiful cities in the Northwest. And yes, a river does run through it. Missoula is located near the three rivers to be exact, The Clark Fork River, The Blackfoot River, and The Bitterroot River.
Missoula's amazing location and proximity to three rivers draws fly fisherman from all over the world, has inspired artists and writers, and even filmmakers. The city is frequently mentioned in novels of Ernest Hemingway, Stephen Frey, Chuck Palahniuk, James Lee Burke, James Crumley, and Norman Maclean.
One of the most famous portrayals of Missoula was by Norman Maclean in his 1976 novel, A River Runs Through It which was made into a film directed by Robert Redford in 1992. "The story is a semi-autobiographical novella about Macleans Presbyterian family in early 20th century Montana whose views on life are filtered through their passion for fly-fishing."
This story has influenced many Missoulians and has drawn people to our community for years. I've actually met several people who moved to Missoula as a result of seeing A River Runs Through It. One former co-worker had never even been to Montana. She was living in California and saw the movie and decided one day to pick up and move to Missoula!
Some of Macleans classic lines about Missoula include:
"The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana."
"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters."
"In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others. He told us about Christ's disciples being fishermen, and we were to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fishermen and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman."
"I am in love with Montana . . . Montana seems to me to be what a small boy would think Texas is like from hearing Texans."
"On the Big Blackfoot River above the mouth of Belmont Creek the banks are fringed by large Ponderosa pines. In the slanting sun of late afternoon the shadows of great branches reached across the river, and the trees took the river in their arms."