people of the west

Often times in the American narrative, people in the west are but specks of sentience lost in endless swaths of landscape and livestock. They're also usually white and wearing a cowboy hat. But while things were never that simple out here, they are especially false today. The following profiles have been selected to show the true range of characters we live amongst.  

Freddy E.


Freddy E. was a brash, outspoken Seattle artist who reveled in his rising stardom on social media. So his 150,000 Twitter followers were stunned when the young man tweeted out a suicide note and took his own life. Through interviews with his family and friends, it emerged that Fredrick Buhl was a tireless creator who struggled to make sense of a world in which two of his best friends were shot and killed in front of him and fame carried a double edge. Read the full story here. 

Jim Messina

Photo courtesy of the White House

Photo courtesy of the White House

Jim Messina started his political career running mayoral campaigns in Missoula, Montana. By 2009, he was one of President Barack Obama's closest advisors. How did he do it? As it turns out, lots of hard-nosed politics that didn't shy away from gay-bating and getting people fired. Read a pdf of the profile here

Jonas Rides at the Door

Photo courtesy of Jonas Rides at the Door

Photo courtesy of Jonas Rides at the Door


Jonas Rides at the Door is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet tribe of Montana who served three tours in Iraq. Along the way, he lost friends in the battlefield and buried himself in countless bottles of booze to try and forget the pain. But he was spared the fate of so many emotionally wounded veterans when he returned to the Blackfeet reservation and participated in ancient tribal rituals that have been used there for centuries to help warriors process their time at war. The full story can be found in the Fall 2014 issue of Montana Quarterly, or read here.


U.S. Federal Judge Donald Molloy

U.S. Federal Judge Donald Molloy has been a pivotal force in some of the biggest issues in the west, from wolves, to the Libby asbestos saga, to how we use our public lands. But who is he? In this profile, I get behind the stand to tell readers about the Butte-born fighter who hates to miss a UM Grizzly football game and holds grave reservations about the future of American democracy. Read the full story here.   


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