Montana Medicine Show

Montana history in two-minute episodes, airing Sunday 10am, Tuesday and Thursday at 12pm and 6pm, and Saturday 12pm.

Sam Peckinpah Montana Medicine Show

  1. Sam Peckinpah
  2. Whistling Billy
  3. Wi Jun Jon
  4. Montana's Early Whiskey Trade

[There] are stories like that of Earl the elk, who was tagged in Montana and roamed all the way to Kansas City, Mo. One inspiring story was that of Minnie Spotted Wolf, the first Native American woman to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps, a Blackfeet woman who signed up during World War II.

Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Host Derek Strahn

B. Derek Strahn hosts and writes Montana Medicine Show. He is a historian, high school teacher, folk/blues musician, and author of the book The Montana Medicine Show’s Genuine Montana History (Amazon), selected as one of the Top Montana Books by the Great Falls Tribune.

Derek Strahn, with his warm smile and a twinkle in his eye, seems to be the type of character you might find in one of his own Montana history tales. He’s the kind of person you just want to sit down with in front of a warm fire, serve up hot cocoa, and kindly demand, “Tell me everything you know about Montana’s past!”

Bozeman Magazine

Born 1965 in Wisconsin, Strahn has lived in southwest Montana since 1976. He received a Master of Arts in History from Montana State University, was historic preservationist for the City of Bozeman, and teaches history at Bozeman High School. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History named him the 2010 Preserve American History: Montana Teacher of the Year.

Strahn’s work as a historic preservation consultant included the lead historian role for the Butte-Anaconda National Historic Landmark District project. He lives in Bozeman with his wife and three sons.

The Montana Medicine Show's Genuine Montana History (book cover)

A rare collection indeed, bringing together more than 100 stories taken from episodes of the author’s popular and very entertaining radio program

Big Sky Journal
Strahn’s presentation at the Montana Historical Society


Grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Gilhousen Family Foundation, Greater Montana Foundation, and Montana History Foundation have supported production of Montana Medicine Show.


Host/writer: Derek Strahn
Engineer: Brodie Cates
Producer: James Kehoe
Theme music: Mike Videon

Montana History Foundation
Greater Montana Foundation
Gilhousen Family Foundation
Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Strahn features people, places and events that helped shape the state. Among the interesting facts:

  • Running Eagle, for whom the waterfall in Glacier National Park is named, was the Joan of Arc of the Blackfeet and died in 1850 on a horse-stealing raid. “A war party of 1,000 men who had … at their head the Queen of the Plains,” a fur trader described in the 1840s.
  • John Baptiste Charbonneau, also known as Sacajawea’s son Pomp, helped blaze the Gila Trail, which became Route 66. He was a gold miner in California and died on his way to Montana gold fields.
  • In the 1970s, a vein of gold was found under the foundations of a bank in Helena’s Last Chance Gulch, where miners have extracted $221 million worth of gold since 1864.
  • Sports Illustrated called a 185-round, bare-fisted boxing match in Virginia City “a grueling display of courage and stamina.” The fighters battled for a $1,000 purse and fought to a draw after “one of the longest and most brutal fights in American ring history.”
  • Squatter and toll-booth operator James George, for whom Yankee Jim Canyon near Yellowstone is named, entertained poet Rudyard Kipling, President T. Roosevelt and declared, “People from all over the world have stopped at my place — millionaires, royal dukes, lords and presidents. … I don’t have a fancy house, but they come to see me anyway.”
  • Montana Sen. James Murray was among the few Americans who, despite “little to gain and much to lose,” condemned the Holocaust before the attack on Pear Harbor, when Montanans were generally isolationists and Jews were barely one-third of one percent of the state’s population. He helped convince President F.D. Roosevelt to save 200,000 Jews in the final months of World War II.
Great Falls Tribune