Runaway Bride

Marlene at  the 1910 teacherage that was restored by Kiefer Sutherland for Julia Roberts.

This is a story of connections between celebrities; the story of actors from Brokeback Mountain, The Runaway Bride, and “24”.


Guess who was in line with me at Super 1 a few weeks ago?  I can’t be absolutely certain that it was him, because I didn’t ask, but it definitely looked like him. He was good looking enough, that’s for sure.

Whenever I see a star, or somebody I think is a celebrity, I toss the possibilities around in my head. That’s it!

I don’t pester them.

I leave them alone.

I respect their individual privacy and don’t beg for an autograph or confirmation of their identity.

If our eyes meet, I exchange a smile of recognition. I think that’s part of what famous people like about Montana.

They go about their business incognito. And fans don’t hound them.

(Having said that, I must confess that my family and I behaved like paparazzi to Mr. Nerison. He’s the man who lives in our neighborhood and made the news after being attacked by a grizzly while jogging in the park. I wrote a post about his attack. His daughter read the post, and got a little irritated by my choice of words. She left a comment on the article to put me in my place. We’re generally laid back and don’t chase people down. But of course, when we saw Mr. Nerison walking around the neighborhood with a bandaged leg, we simply had to stop him and talk to him about his bear encounter. I wanted to let him know that by no means did I take his bear attack lightly.)

But I digress. I’ll get to the point of who I saw in the store.

It was a few days before July 4th and E and I were in the express lane of the supermarket getting some last-minute supplies for our family’s trip to Virginia City.

A tall, nice looking guy, with an item or two, walked up behind us and got in line.

Seeing that he had fewer items than I, I was at the limit of 15, I said he could go ahead. (No, you don’t have to be good-looking for me to let you ahead. I always do this at the grocery when I see someone with just a few things, and I wish more people would do it for me.)

He said, “thank you”, and stepped ahead in line.

As we were standing there waiting to check out he looked at my Peace Tea on the conveyor belt and said, “That’s pretty good iced tea.”

I responded, “Yeah, we like it after taking a hike.”

Could it be Jake?

It wasn’t until after he checked out and left the store that I pondered whether or not he may have been a celebrity.

I thought about asking the cashier‘s opinion, but decided against it. On the way home, I told my daughter that I thought the guy looked sort of familiar – like a movie star – but I couldn’t think of his name.

I went home and Googled Brokeback Mountain. That’s the only movie I could think of that I knew this guy was in.

The pictures, the height, and age of Jake Gyllenhaal matched the description of the man in jeans and a T-shirt at Super 1. So who knows?

Because of the title of this article, I imagine you thought it was going to be the actor Richard Gere. Right?

Perhaps you’re wondering why I titled this post “Runaway Bride”.

The Whole Truth About Half Moon

It began with an article in Sunday’s paper titled, “The Whole Truth About Half Moon”. Here’s what the article had to say.

Half Moon is a name that’s been given to more than one historic spot in the north end of the Flathead Valley. The article explained how the term “Half Moon” came about, where Half Moon is and how many Half Moon locations there are around the valley. It also said that in 1910 a Half Moon School had been built along with a teacherage. In 1974 someone had moved the restored school to the North Fork Road.

Then in the early 1990’s the movie star Kiefer Sutherland moved the teacherage to his 300 acre ranch and made it into a studio for his then fiancee Julia Roberts.


David on the porch of Julia Roberts’ studio.


Kiefer and Julia planned to marry in June of 1991. But Roberts broke the engagement three days before the wedding. She ran off to Europe with another man.

Subsequently, Kiefer Sutherland sold the building and property. But a cornerstone on the teacherage still reads Sutherland Ranch.  It appears Julia is a runaway bride in real life, not just in the movies.

After reading the article my husband and I decided to take a Sunday afternoon drive to the ranch. It is located in a lovely spot in the valley. We thought it a great photo opportunity. And thought you might like to see Julia’s studio and the cornerstone.


Sutherland Ranch cornerstone west of Columbia Falls, Montana


As I stood on the porch absorbing the view,  I thought about Julia’s running away.


Looking south from the studio porch


Whether Julia makes a habit of leaving men at the altar, I wouldn’t know.  Although I do recommend any woman or man that isn’t absolutely certain about who they are marrying, run prior to the nuptials, not after.

Julia, if you are out there and want to tell me your side of the story, I’ll be happy to listen.

Before Julia ran away from Kiefer,  the couple visited the ranch and evidently enjoyed riding horses in its tranquil surroundings.

Many celebrities have taken up residence under the Big Sky. Wide open spaces, beautiful country, and easy living are just a few of the reasons that make it an attractive place to kick up one’s heels and relax.

Perhaps the most important is Montanans respect for individual privacy. I like that.



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