MISSOULA – The MontanaPBS documentary production “Charlie Russell’s Old West” received the 2021 Western Heritage Award for Documentary from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum during a Sept. 18 black-tie event in Oklahoma City.

The museum honors the best of western literature, photography, magazine, poetry, music, film and television. The film’s director and co-producer Gus Chambers and writer/co-producer Paul Zalis were honored in the Film and Television category.

(Photo: Montana PBS)
(Photo: Montana PBS)

“We’re deeply honored to be receiving this recognition for our program on an iconic Western artist who is one of Montana’s most celebrated citizens,” Zalis said. “We’re thankful to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for applauding our story with this prestigious award.”

Charlie Russell’s Old West” told the story of Montana’s cowboy artist. No one played a larger role in mythologizing the cowboy’s place in American culture than Russell. The program explores his art and life as he witnessed and documented the end of the Wild West open range as America entered the 20th Century.

Other winners in the Film and Television category include the motion picture “News of the World,” starring Tom Hanks, and “Yellowstone” starring Kevin Costner. The 2020 winner of the documentary award was Ken Burns, Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey for their documentary “Country Music.”

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City is America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture. Founded in 1955, the museum collects, preserves and exhibits an internationally renowned collection of Western art and artifacts while sponsoring dynamic educational programs to stimulate interest in the enduring legacy of the American West. For more information, visit nationalcowboymuseum.org.

MontanaPBS (KUFM-TV in Missoula, KUSM-TV in Bozeman, KUKL-TV in Kalispell, KBGS-TV in Billings, KUGF-TV in Great Falls and KUHM-TV in Helena) is a service of the University of Montana and Montana State University. For more information, visit http://www.montanapbs.org.

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