“C.M. Russell and the American West” premieres

PBS documentary debuts Sept. 9 as part of Raise the Roof for the Russells

New & Notable

The C.M. Russell Museum and the community of Great Falls will host the world premiere of the Montana PBS documentary “C.M. Russell and the American West,” Sept. 9 at the Mansfield Theater. The screening caps three days of community-sponsored events titled “Raise the Roof for the Russells” to welcome the film that underscores Russell’s place among the great American artists.

“A young Charlie Russell fell in love with Montana and called Great Falls home. His legacy is an immeasurable inspiration to, and influence on, the people here,” said Tom Petrie, chairman of the C.M. Russell Museum board. “Our community support and dedication to launching a film that brings Charlie’s fascinating story and timeless message to the world is both exciting and humbling. The spirit of the American West remains impressive in Great Falls.”

C.M. Russell
Artist C.M. Russell in his studio (courtesy Gilcrease Museum)Photo © Gilcrease Museum

Those sentiments were echoed by Great Falls Mayor Bob Kelley, who said, “The community of Great Falls is excited to share the story of her favorite son with all his followers throughout the state and the nation. Charlie’s story is just one of the many things we are proud of. I hope visitors and residents take advantage of such a wonderful celebration.”

The documentary features voice talent from Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons, Bill Pullman and Kathy Baker.

The schedule for “Raise the Roof for the Russells” includes the following events. All will be held at the C.M. Russell Museum unless otherwise noted.

  • An invitation-only Josephine Trigg Award Dinner honoring Norma Ashby on Sept. 7
  • The public opening ceremony for the Frederic G. and Ginger K. Renner Research Center on Sept. 8 at 11 a.m.
  • A member opening of the Josephine Trigg Collection Gallery Exhibition and the Strand Collection Exhibition on Sept. 8 at 4 p.m.
  • An auction to benefit the Russell House and Studio presented by Petrie Partners on Sept. 8 at 6 p.m.
  • A Russell Riders Outdoor Sculpture Garden ceremony on Sept. 9 at 2 p.m.
  • A chuck wagon barbecue on Sept. 9 at 3 p.m. presented by Benefis Health System
  • Exclusive early premiere access event at the Mansfield Theater on Sept. 9 at 5 p.m.
  • The world premiere screening of “C.M. Russell and the American West” at the Mansfield Theater on Sept. 9 from 6 – 9 p.m. presented by Benefis Health System

Tickets and event details are available online at www.cmrussell.org and by calling the C.M. Russell Museum ticket line at 406-727-1939.

 About the Montana PBS C.M. Russell Documentary

“C.M. Russell and the American West” examines the life and art of Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926). The film explores his arrival in Montana as a youth, his apprenticeship and work as a cowboy on the open range, and his self-taught, almost explosive growth into an iconic American artist who affected generations.

Russell’s body of work was panoramic and modern in his sensitivity to subject matter, from a reverence for the land and wildlife to his positive depictions of American Indians. The film was created by Producer/Director Gus Chambers and Producer/Writer Paul Zalis. William Marcus and Aaron Pruitt of MontanaPBS are Executive Producers.

The free screening tour also includes the following stops:

Sunday, Sept. 10 2 p.m. Helena, Civic Center
Saturday, Sept. 23 6 p.m. Bozeman, Emerson Crawford Theater
Saturday, Sept. 30 6 p.m. Billings, Babcock Theater
Friday, Oct. 6 6 p.m. Missoula, Wilma Theater
Sunday, Oct. 8 2 p.m. Butte, Mother Lode Theater
Saturday, Oct. 14 6 p.m. Kalispell, Flathead Valley Community College