I was strolling down the sidewalk the other day in downtown Bozeman and I ended up in front of the Ellen Theatre, one of the downtowns Crown Jewels and a beautiful piece of Bozeman history.

I saw a bunch of little stars that were part of the sidewalk, and on the stars were names. I will be honest, I only recognized one of the names. At first, I thought, "No, it can't be. Not THE Gary Cooper, it has to be a mistake".

Nope.  No mistake, Gary Cooper or "Coop" as he was called by his friends had some serious ties to Bozeman and Montana.

Cooper, was born Frank James Cooper in Helena back in May of 1901. His parents came from England and had settled here in Montana. His father bought a ranch and Cooper would spend his summers on the ranch doing "cowboy" stuff, which would no doubt come in handy when we would later start in some major Westerns.

His mother wanted him to have a "Proper English Education" so he was enrolled in school overseas.  He wasn't much of a fan of that, and after coming back to the states and quitting school, his father arranged for him to enroll at Gallatin County High in Bozeman.

There he would meet one of the people that he credits for changing his life, Ida Davis.  Davis was an English Teacher and she must have seen something in Cooper because she encouraged him to pursue Drama and Debate.

Portrait Of Gary Cooper
Getty Images

The rest, as they say, is history.

Cooper started out in Silent Movies and would of course become one of the biggest Movie Stars of all time.  With three Academy Awards, he was and is, a household name.

Coop passed away back in 1961. While he is buried New York State, he is without a doubt, a true Montana legend.

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