April 5, 2063

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In today’s Tribune, Rich Ecke takes note of the connection between Great Falls and “Star Trek.” As I wrote back in 2006:

The setting for Star Trek: First Contact is “a missile complex in central Montana.” In other words – right here where I live! They’re referring, of course, to Malmstrom Air Force Base. Or, to be more precise, one of our many launch silos in the surrounding area. The first warp-drive capable vessel launched from Earth is actually one of our ICBMs, it seems, although it has been retro-fitted for space-flight. And according to the film, Zefram Cochrane’s “first contact” with an alien race – the Vulcans – occurs right here on April 5, 2063.
So when I’m 96 years old, living in Great Falls, I will be able to witness this historic event! How cool is that?!

Ecke isn’t pleased with the depiction of Montanans in the movie, however:

That film’s portrayal of Montanans was uncomplimentary, as usual. People lived crudely, and Cochrane, played by veteran character actor James Cromwell, is a scruffy guy who drinks whiskey like it was water. This was one of the best “Star Trek” movies, and it’s nice Montana got its due, despite the usual disparagement of Montanans on film. When was the last time you saw a movie set in Montana where people had all their teeth and were not grunting or cussing?

Well…but the Montana of 2063 isn’t quite the “Montana” of today (or the 1990s) – it’s got more of a semi-post-apocalyptic feel to it, and I don’t think that comparing the “Montanans” of that period to today’s residents and citizens is quite right.

On the other hand, some other media depictions of Montana – Great Falls, in one instance – have left me somewhat ruffled.


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