July 29, 2011


by Stephen Bly
Copyright 2008

A lot of towns in the Old West went ‘boom and bust.’ Such as mining towns like Winnemucca, Nevada or Wallace, Idaho. . .or oil towns like Gillette or Rock Springs, Wyoming. Some were timber towns like our own Winchester, Idaho.

I have great respect for the folks who weather the booms and busts and keep a town going. That’s why I wrote the poem, “Pork City, Montana.”

Pork City is a fictitious place. But here’s how it came to be.

I drove out to the Black Hills of South Dakota one time to do research. While singing an old cowboy song, out of the corner of my eye I spied an exit sign for Pork City. I laughed when I realized it really read Park City.

But the rest of the trip across Montana, I pondered the history of the town that might have been called Pork City. Here’s the result.

Copyright 1994

Pork City, Montana in ‘23
was changin’ for all the world to see
The slaughterhouse sold and hogs ran free
Pork City, Montana in ‘23

Roustabouts swarmed like locusts in the sand
Derricks sprouted up where the sage used to stand
Iron pipe laced this wilderness land
Crude oil flowed, the economy fanned

Pork City, Montana in ‘53
as desolate a place as you’ll ever see
Stores boarded up, it was time to flee
Pork City, Montana in ‘53

Weeds in the blacktop, porches ‘bout to fold
Shingles in the yard, wood stoves growin’ cold
Rows of hundred dollar houses, ever’ one of ‘em unsold
Families uprooted, their stories never told

Pork City, Montana in ‘93
As lively a place as you’ll ever want to see
A shoppin’ mall’s where the slaughterhouse used to be
Pork City, Montana in ‘93

They returned to the land, to graze and to till
Of big city livin’ they all had their fill
They claim they’ll stay and I reckon they will
Sharin’ them sunsets with wild hogs on the hill

Throw The Devil Off The Train
Available Now:  
Throw The Devil Off The Train

Coming March 2012:  
Stuart Brannon's Final Shot


Caroline said...

Funny and interesting too. Pork, Park City. I imagine the stores sold lots of smelly stuff. lol


Janet Bly said...

Caroline: Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.