Episode 9: 

The Day History Stopped Being Drunk in Great Falls

Rebecca and Mari have Park Ranger and Educational Coordinator, Duane Buchi, from the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center as an expert about the center and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In perfect storyteller fashion, Duane shares stories about the Corps of Discovery, John Colter’s shenanigans, and gives his take on what that mysterious noise that Lewis and Clark heard near the Sun River.

Find out more information about the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center here.


Show Notes and Pull Quotes

25% of people that visit Great Falls, Montana go to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is the largest of its kind, at 25,000 square feet. Unlike other interpretive centers along the Lewis and Clark Trail, the interpretive center in Great Falls tells the entire store of the expedition, farther than focusing on just the 32 days that Lewis and Clark spent here portaging the falls.

Duane recommends guests budget 2 hours for their visit at the interpretive center. You can easily spend more time there, but you’ll probably want to grab some in the middle.

During the summer months, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is open 7 days a week, for 9am to 6pm. They also have live demonstrations during the weekends in the summer. Demonstrations include tipi building, how to make a fire (using bison poop), Native games, bird watching, small arms, and more.

The outside amphitheater will have a shade for use during summer 2021.

People have their wedding at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, and there have been outside weddings every month of the year there.

Children are often the first ones to get a spark when trying to build a fire using the materials that Lewis and Clark did during their expedition.

There were over 10,000 across the plains that provided plenty of poop for the Corps of Discovery to use to make fire. The poop seasoned the food with a spicy flavor.

Members of the expedition ate about 5-8 lbs of meat per day.

John Colter had to sue Lewis’ estate to get his pay from the expedition.

We can’t even attempt summarize Duane’s awesome recap of John Colter’s “flight,” you’ll have to listen for yourself.

The story of the “One that got away,” is from the bear’s point of view of almost catching Lewis.

Lewis discovered the Great Falls of the Missouri on June 13, 2005.

The metal boats were a failure because they didn’t have the pitch from the evergreen trees that were readily available in Missouri, but not in Great Falls.

Recorded Claims Explained

Watch the full videos of Duane’s demonstrations on our YouTube. But a fair warning, the audio isn’t the best- it was recorded in our early editing days.

There are more bibles written the Corps of Discovery than there are words in the Bible.

How many fights do you think they had along the way?

Kristin, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center just offered you a job. Will you take it?

Do you think it true that the ratios for the expedition included just enough whiskey to get them far enough away from St. Louis that when they ran out, they really couldn’t return home?

John Colter is Duane’s favorite character of the expedition, and he is now our favorite too.

So you’re the dam expert? Let us know if our claim is wrong.

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