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Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown

Parts Unknown: Montana. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 15, 2016 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:19] ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: Some people must live in great spaces where the sky goes on forever. Where everyone must bend to the land. Where to hunt, to fish, to sleep under that big sky aren't activities, but a way of life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was right here in those mountains that Cheyenne and Crow battle took place, but I like it. It's very peaceful, huh?

BOURDAIN: What was it like a hundred years ago? Two hundred years ago?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not much different. This was never forested. This is the dry side of the river because the primary winds come from the west. Rain tends to blow over here that brings the snow to the mountains.

BOURDAIN: Legendary writer and poet Jim Harrison is one of those people and this is his home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Am I as old as I am? Maybe not. Time is an industry that could tip us upside down. Yesterday I was seven in the woods. A bandage covered my blind eye. Sixty eight years ago later I could still inhabit that boy's body. I start thinking about a time in between. It is the burden of life to be in the ages without seeing the end of time.

BOURDAIN: Next time you turn off a news cycle filled with shouting bobble-heads convinced that America is devolving into a moronic inferno, questioning the greatness of your nation, maybe you should come here. Here are your purple mountains majesty. This is the landscape, the generations dreamers, despots, adventurers, explorers, crack pots and heroes fought and died for. It's one of the most beautiful places on earth. There is no place like it. Montana. Many have come to claim their piece over the years, but before the prospectors and explorers there were the plains Indians. The Absarika (ph) have been master horsemen since they adopted Spanish-introduced mustangs in the 18th Century.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: General Black Jack Pershing. He called the Native Americans the centaurs of the plains.

BOURDAIN: Better known as the Crow they were once part of the larger Hadassah Tribe. Centuries ago they split off on their own and wandered or were pushed by conflict with the Blackfeet, Cheyenne and Dakota until settling here in the Yellowstone River Valley.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That horse became everything to our people.

BOURDAIN: Kennard Real Bird (ph) grew up ranching and raising horses here at medicine tail coulee which happens to be the exact spot where General George Custer had the worst day of his life. Kennard raises horses for rodeo, the riding and for this, Indian relay racing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The athletic ability on them kids are just amazing. The competition is intense.

BOURDAIN: They travel all over to compete at this collarbone smashing, skull cracking, bones snappingly dangerous sport. Former allies and former blood enemies alike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It requires a lot of courage.

BOURDAIN: I'll bet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a high threshold for pain. It's representative of a warrior mentality.


BOURDAIN: One rider, three horses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they're lined up and gun goes off. It's like a spontaneous combustion.

[21:05:12] BOURDAIN: Top speed is around 40 miles an hour and after each lap the rider dismounts at full freaking gallop and leaps hopefully on to the next horse. Yes, it's as dangerous and difficult as it looks. The prizes at big events run into the thousands of dollars, but really, it's about bragging rights. And pride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being in motion, in rhythm in time and in one, the death horse, they develop strength of character, and once they conquer that fear, that feeling of accomplishment is so great, when they walk back from that race they have this sense of pride and self-worth of sky high. Now they've identified with their ancestors.

BOURDAIN: Ken's wife Diane has prepared a lunch of buffalo steaks, potato salad, fry bread and Indian pudding made of Juneberry stewed with flour and sugar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I looked at my ancestors, they didn't have diabetes and they didn't have much cancer. They were very strong, durable people, and I said, well, I'm going to start eating nothing, but buffalo.

BOURDAIN: Over the course of your life, how much has this area changed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quite a bit. We went and picked up a four-wheeler last Sunday. It'll be the first four-wheeler on the place.

BOURDAIN: Given those changes, what are the crow people going to be doing in 20 years? Thirty years? The horse is going to play an important part of the culture still?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think so, yes. Because what's a place going to be like without horses? I wouldn't want to be there.

BOURDAIN: Who owns this land? Can anyone really own it? Who gets to use it? These are big questions that cut across traditional ideological lines out here where they have real meaning, not theoretical meaning. All this belongs to one man. This guy. Bill Galt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're about a half mile from the confluence of rock creek and the Smith River.

BOURDAIN: Galt ranch is 100,000 acres of grazing land, mountains, cliffs and valleys. There's also some of the best trout fishing on the planet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill, the water level on the creek looks good.

BOURDAIN: This is Bill's friend, the author and journalist David McCumber. They disagree on land use, a major issue. Remember when you could do that and still be friends?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lee Kinsey is a professional outfitter who bill leases some areas of his property to for fishing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All this to outwit a fish?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Go ahead and just let that tip high just straight up in the air. Good. Perfect.

BOURDAIN: Bill's fifth generation Montana, whose principal business is raising cattle. He's no weekend cowboy. This is work and he pays a lot of attention to his land and a big issue for him and for just about everybody around here is the 1984 stream access law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody that could access a stream via a public means could, in fact, use the stream even if it was private ground as long as they stayed within the ordinary high watermark of the stream.

BOURDAIN: Widely heralded by sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts, the law did not go down well with landowners like Bill.

Oh, got him.

BOURDAIN: Something took a bite.


BOURDAIN: He's still got a fish right in there, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I see him. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perfect! Hoop set, set! Whoa! Fish of the day.

Nice brownie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right! Beautiful thing! That's pretty, but I will not eat you today, my friend. Not today.

BOURDAIN: For lunch, a modest protein-centric repast of steak, a wagyu Angus hybrid bred and raised right here on Bill's ranch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's the marbling on the wagyu steak. That's what makes them good.

BOURDAIN: Oh, that's nice.

And it's pretty damn tasty, I can tell you.

BOURDAIN: So you hold an opposing view, is that correct, on access?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The idea behind the stream access law that if you stay in water, it's public. I agree with that concept.

BOURDAIN: But where do you draw the line for private property risk? If the state were to pass a law that your restroom was public because of the public needed it in your house.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But just because this isn't my backyard doesn't mean it doesn't isn't any less mine than your toilet is yours. We still pay taxes on every foot of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm an old school lefty, you got to say, I kind of completely understand the property owner's point of view here. There would be no ambiguity in my feeling if I inherited this land and it had been in my family for generations and I looked around at it and wanted to keep people like it is.

BOURDAIN: If I were to go at a bar in town, and then I would ask, how do you feel about this issue, where would it break? What do most people say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Orlando. Certainly divided right now in the middle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people are going to say, when I was a kid I used to be able to go hunt and fish. And I can't now, stuff is getting closed up. I have some sympathy for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody that's not complying has come access merely has to step into the stream when he hears you coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. The spirit of it makes sense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The spirit of it is thievery. We own it and I took it and it's not stealing it without compensation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's still here.

[21:10:35] BOURDAIN: This isn't about being a good neighbor. Right? I mean, so, if people ask nicely more often than not, you're going to say yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do. We used to be --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before stream access, we sort of required somebody to have commission if they just behave themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. After stream access is when the outfitters came into the world not because we wanted to make money, but we wanted somebody there patrolling and policing it. The outfitters take care of it.

BOURDAIN: A small stream like this can only take so much pressure.


BOURDAIN: And so, we try to manage it and fish it responsibly, if somebody wants to walk all the way from the Smith five miles up to here and do it legally, I say all of the more power to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what I'm saying.


[21:14:31] BOURDAIN: At first look, you'd think this is the worst place on earth. A ravaged, toxics, God-forsaken hill threatened from above, riddled with darkness below, but you'd be wrong. Butte, Montana. It is, in fact, heartbreakingly, poignantly beautiful. The gallous frames seem eyesores for only a second before it becomes clear why they're points of fierce pride for locals for whom they signify and commemorate anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For Montanas, many people consider it sort of a black eye. I happen to think it's sort of the essence of Montana.

BOURDAIN: Aaron Parrett was born in Butte. He's a professor of literature and a chronicler of the city's colorful literary history.

There is something beautiful about this city, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. The enduring decay.

BOURDAIN: Like in Detroit or a buffalo or a Cleveland, you can see the aspirations of the builders or the people who they were building for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I've gotten older I kind of think about it the way Europeans romanticized those ruins in Greece and Rome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beat us. America is a crapulous (ph).

BOURDAIN: In its heyday, Butte produced tens of billions of dollars' worth of copper that built, well, America. That helped power the country, defended against Germany and Japan. Without this hill, no copper wire, no electricity. At the turn of the century, Marcus Daly's amalgamated company consumed its competitors and became anaconda copper. By the '20s, the company as it's referred to was one of the largest corporations in America. Generating staggering wealth by todays' or any days standards. People came from all over the world to make their fortunes here or simply for steady work, a better life.

Cornish, Welsh, a lot of Eastern Europeans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Croatians, Serbs, very ethnically diverse.

BOURDAIN: By Montana standards or by any standards?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say by any standards, it's kind of a micro version of New York City.

BOURDAIN: Meaderville was an Italian neighborhood and developed a tradition of supper clubs. Lidia's was opened in 1946 by Linda Michelet (ph) in the Fourmile, the valley below Butte.

So what is a supper club? I've heard about this tradition, but I don't really understand what distinguisher a supper club from a restaurant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least in Montana the supper clubs are a variation on Meaderville-style involves this anti-pasto beginning.

BOURDAIN: Sliced beats, sweet potato salad, salami and cheese, side salad, pickled peppers and breadsticks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then when you actually get your entree, you get oddly enough get ravioli or spaghetti or here both, but also French fries.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That may be unique to Montana.

BOURDAIN: For Ontre, huge scallops and white wine sauce - me noticing were pretty much -- around here, I go for the extra thick tenderloin of beef, thank you very much. This is whacky. It makes no sense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is somewhat bizarre to have scallops and French fries.

BOURDAIN: Yes. Meaderville no longer around?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it's not. It was followed up by the pit in the early 60s.

BOURDAIN: For the 70 years, it was hard rock mining blasting and digging tunnels deep into the ground, by the 1950s mining was moving increasingly to above ground, open pit which meant fewer jobs and a bigger, more visible footprint. By 1955, the Berkeley pit had become the largest open-pit copper mine in the world. As it expanded it devoured Meaderville and surrounding neighborhoods. There was money down there to be dug out of the ground and that's what Butte had always been about from the beginning.

In 1983, the pumps that held back the groundwater from thousands of miles of tunnels beneath the city were turned off. The pit filled with 30 billion gallons of water, and as mine tailings and mineral refuse contaminated the water, it became a giant insanely toxic lake of sulfuric acid. A monument to greed and heedless exploitation of the earth and something eerily, yet tragically beautiful.

BOURDAIN: If you're still living here, you have to have some kind of weird, perverse pride in the pit?


BOURDAIN: Correct me if I'm wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You nailed it. Obviously, the pit is an enduring emblem of that rapacious capitalist greed but you also have people near who are proud of where they live. The history of Butte, in many ways, is you know, this town that should have died, but never did. Part of that is luck, geographically, but also the character of the people here. You know, they endured.

[21:19:14] BOURDAIN: As you might have gathered by now, this is a working-class town and unusual in that it's a union town. A proudly union town in an otherwise very red state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Butte is the most interesting, important town in America that nobody knows about.

BOURDAIN: Bryant McGregor is the owner of the silver dollar saloon in what was once Butte's Chinatown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we call ourselves Butte America?

BOURDAIN: Amanda Curtis, a former state congresswoman was born of the labor movement. She's a unionist and an advocate for workers and this solidly Union City she calls home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you got off the boat at Ellis Island it said Butte pinned to your shirt and it wasn't Butte, Montana, right? It was Butte, America. We were founded by European immigrants who came from socialist countries with all of these crazy socialist ideas.

BOURDAIN: Would you say Montana in a stereotypical way fairly relatively socially conservative?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, absolutely, but Butte is a labor town.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody knows anything about union history. And now, they don't teach it. When the country was at its peak, unions were at their peak. Wages were at their peak, unions were at their peak.

BOURDAIN: That was then, this is now. This is the era of I've got mine, Jack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what makes Butte different. It's not I've got mine.

BOURDAIN: It isn't?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've grown community out of taking care of each other.

BOURDAIN: You have to remember what it was like for workers before unions, if you can imagine. Men worked under ground for as little as $3 a day, 10 to 12-hour shifts, six days a week. Thousands died over the years in industrial accidents or from silicosis, lungs ravaged by the airborne silica dust.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't have any rights in your workplace unless you bond together and have a collective voice.

BOURDAIN: In a one-company town despite hiring assassins and strike- breakers, Buttes thousands of workers successfully managed to unionize. Labor costs increased while copper prices slammed. Anaconda responded by moving their production increasingly south. Way south. To Chile with such impediment as labor laws and fair wages were more malleable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We serve as the example about what happens if you allow unfettered capitalism.

BOURDAIN: But isn't there something beautiful about unfettered capitalism? Because look, this structure here --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, we powered the entire world.

BOURDAIN: As somebody making their money in the God damn United States of America first.


BOURDAIN: I feel I'm a patriot and you're taking jobs away from America to export them overseas.


BOURDAIN: You're not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we've been talking about this for decades in this country right? Keep our jobs here.



[21:25:55] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time sinks slowly to the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench. She's tired of light and it's feared Black.

BOURDAIN: They say that Butte is a mile high and a mile deep and to get an idea of what they mean you've got to go down. Down deep into the hill. An intricate warren of tunnels riddled through the rock and soil that lay beneath the city was flooded forever by water and darkness. The orphan boy mine is one of the few remaining hard rock mines in the city.

Today it serves as a training facility for the Montana tech school of mines and engineering.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are five generations of mining here. In order to survive and provide the resources for America, these people were super skillful.

BOURDAIN: Jim Keane is a state senator and labor advocate who grew up working the mines of Butte.

How many miles of tunnel under Butte total?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten thousand miles of tunnel.

BOURDAIN: Ten thousand miles.


BOURDAIN: Like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're smaller, usually.

BOURDAIN: Larry Hoffman is a longtime mining engineer and instructor. Matt Krattinger is a new guy. A hard rock miner by day, he likes to relax by spending his free time down here playing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I come mining for fun on my days off.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It gets in your blood and you get a lot of pride in it.

BOURDAIN: These guys like it underground, and even more, they seem to like drilling holes deep into the rock face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to drill?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pull that out. And then you get the feel for where the weight sets on it.

BOURDAIN: Yes. Cool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do that several hundred times a day, though. It's good!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The community recognized the miner was at the top of the food chain. When I grew up he was considered just like a doctor or a lawyer because everybody knew he was the one making everything work. The other thing about mining is that it's so intensive. I mean, you need engineers. You need guys running ventilation, mechanic or carpenter or a pipe fitter. It's just such a diverse asset to have all these different types of people. That's what was so good about it.

BOURDAIN: Mining was always dangerous, but these men are proud of what they do and of the generations who came before them, who built neighborhoods and schools and helped power the nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They loved their work. They raised their families. They worked all the time.

BOURDAIN: It was a destination with hopes and dreams of hard work leading to a better life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, the company is a son of a bitch, let's face it, but they were our son of a bitch. So, you know, that's just the way it was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The community worked to support the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's the fun part!


How many holes do you usually drill to make a round?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between 20 and 30.

BOURDAIN: What is a round?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This pattern has to be drilled out and every time you advance the face that is a round. You drill it, you load it. You blast it, you muck it, you bolt it and you drill it again and that's a cycle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in the loading process right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all prime and top priming in this hole. Quick, fill it away.

BOURDAIN: Back in the day it was dynamite, but in the -- they started switching over to this stuff. Anfo, ammonium nitrate and fuel oil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got everything in charge and uploaded. Now we get to time it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is kind of where I got hooked on mining.

[21:30:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I set that first round off. This is kind of where I got hooked on mining. And I set that first round off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do we do another one?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's fascinating. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is where it all starts.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody got everything out? Four seconds of silence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, everybody's good? Everybody's ready?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Fire on the hole.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to mining.

BOURDAIN: That's deeply satisfying.


BOURDAIN: Oh yeah. Very cool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we see the smoke?

BOURDAIN: Through that vent, get out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. The smoke will start moving towards us. We got to get in the smoke.

BOURDAIN: Oh yeah. Smells like victory. This is the smell of mining.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll see if it all worked at last.

BOURDAIN: That shock wave is awesome.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is like being an astronaut right now. When we go in there you can be the first person in the world to see what you're seeing.


BOURDAIN: Did you break it?


BOURDAIN: Nice. Well, happy that it worked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very happy with it. It really came out just the way it should.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well that's another six-foot advance. And that is around.

BOURDAIN: Beautiful thing.


BOURDAIN: I fell in love with the dark and the blowing things up and the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people is a big thing. You meet some of the most interesting people.


[21:35:38] BOURDAIN: About one third of Montana is public land. It was set aside for the people of the United States of America.

Generally speaking, it is intended for multipurpose use. Timber harvest, grazing land, hiking, fishing, hunting and mining. These open lands are important to hunters and anglers like Dan Bailey. He's the Montana representative for Pheasants Forever. An organization working to conserve pheasants and other wild life in careful management.

DAN BAILEY, PHEASANTS FOREVER REPRESENTATIVE: So this is a piece of property that's owned by Pheasants Forever. It's open to public access. This is through Montana's block management system. We signed in, they collect all of the tags. They know who's on the property.

BOURDAIN: Today, me and my friend Joe Rogan are going after some delicious pheasant for dinner.


BOURDAIN: Joe is of course the voice of the UFC and the host of the widely popular podcast "The Joe Rogan Experience".

In recent years, Joe has become an advocate from the notion that you should, whenever possible, know where your food comes from.

ROGAN: The connection that you have with your food when you kill it yourself, you know, it's just -- it's a totally different experience.

BOURDAIN: I believe that if you choose to eat meat that you -- there should be a little bit of guilt and shame involved. Something did die. So there should be a sense of loss and then understanding.

BAILEY: Right here, this is it. I mean you know where your food comes from. That's as small circle as you can get.

It's only the three things we can hunt here, a Hungarian Partridge which is a small bird and the big kind of sharp-tailed grouse and then rooster pheasants. So no hen pheasants so I'll call out what it is. BOURDAIN: Yeah. I'm going to wait for you because I'm sure that would be what I identify.

BAILEY: It's only one person on one side of Joe. I need one person on the other and I'll run the dogs in the middle.

BOURDAIN: Which way they're going to break, do you think, they could get?

BAILEY: In any which way. We're hoping over us.

BOURDAIN: Hen, hen, hen, hen, hen, hen, hen.

ROGAN: What happens if you accidentally shoot the hen? Do you get in trouble?

BOURDAIN: Work still, you've heard about the walk of shame? So you really, you have a split second to determine whether it's a shootable bird, I think.

ROGAN: Okay. Well, we'll count on you.

BAILEY: That's a rooster.

BOURDAIN: I could have shot at that too. That was an easy shot, shit.

ROGAN: From those, yeah one of those days, huh.

BAILEY: Public land in Montana, we're fortunate we have a lot of them. But, you know, they get a lot of pressure and so when you get one of these birds it's pretty special.

ROGAN: Public hunting is always, always a lot of work.

BAILEY: In general, anybody and everybody can come out here and chase your birds so.

BOURDAIN: I can see a bunch of birds out there.


ROGAN: I saw a bunch of pheasants scattered. Let's get serious about this.

BOURDAIN: All right.

BAILEY: We'll take these dogs to the river.

BOURDAIN: Rooster.

ROGAN: Oh nice shot.


BOURDAIN: Going to get up on that bank. ROGAN: Who got it?

BAILEY: Anthony caught it.

ROGAN: Nice.

BAILEY: I missed that one over here.

BOURDAIN: Good boy. Come (inaudible), come on. Good boy. Come on jugger.

ROGAN: Nice shot.

BOURDAIN: Bring here. Bring it here. Come on.

BAILEY: Nice job.

BOURDAIN: There you go, Montana rooster.


ROGAN: All right, man. Start plucking.

BOURDAIN: With one in the bag, we meet up with the rest of our party to cook and drink and eat.

Land Tawney is a fifth generation Montanan and an active conservationist. Hal Herring is a journalist for Field & Stream.