This island mountain range stands in stark contrast to the surrounding plains. Its rugged granite peaks are snow-capped a good part of the year. The majestic peaks, alpine lakes, cascading streams and infinite views make this one of Montana’s most magnificent alpine areas. The Robert Redford movie Jeremiah Johnson was based on the life of Liver Eatin’ Johnson, who frequented these mountains.
The Crazy Mountains were formed by igneous rock and carved by glaciers. They have been inhabited by man for 11,500 years and now provide beauty and recreation to the people of Big Timber and her visitors. Indians, most recently the Shoshone and Crow, have camped in the canyons, drunk the clear water from the streams, and eaten of the vast herds of deer, antelope, and elk. Between 1860 and 1880 the Indians gave way to trappers, traders, and settlers.
The Crazies weren’t named until the 1860s with fact blending with fiction about how they came by their title. In the first theory, Indians called them the “Mad Mountains” for their steepness, rugged beauty, and haunting winds that blow down the canyon. Geology plays a part in the second theory. The lava upthrusts are young in perspective of time and do not fit in with the neighboring rock formations, hence the name “Crazy”. In the third, and most widely accepted, a woman-some say Indian and some say white-went mad on the prairie, possibly due to the death of her family, and took refuge in the mountains. Indian belief required the crazy people be left alone and so she was.
However the name came about, the fact remains, the Crazy Mountains are a beautiful backdrop for the surrounding area and offer much in the way of recreation.