The Richest Hill on Earth is a story about Jim Hastings, a young copper miner in Butte Montana. As a lanky, scrawny kid, he was bullied by Montie Garret who also has taken a job working for the Anaconda Mining Company. Jim doesn’t like Montie, and to make matters worse, his best friend, and love of his life, Claudette, started dating Montie earlier in the year. Claudette works at Hasting’s Mercantile for Jim’s father, Harold. Harold would love to see his son take over the family business, but Jim doesn’t believe working in a store would make him a man. The mine is where the men are made. Claudette also worries about Jim’s safety in the mines, citing stories of accidents that Montie has told her about.

At work, Jim and Montie are paired together to work in the new tunnel. While working, Jim’s lantern runs out of oil and he returns to the mouth of the tunnel to refill his lantern, leaving Montie at the face to finish up the shoring. Suddenly, the ground shakes and Jim realizes that the tunnel behind him is collapsing with Montie still in it. He runs back down the tunnel to try and save him, but the tunnel is blocked with Montie lost in the rubble.

After some time, Jim reflects on his decision to work in such a dangerous place and decides that what is important is not proving himself to be a man but being able to live an honest life and be there for his family.

The Richest Hill on Earth is the nickname of Butte, Montana but, for Jim Hasting, it comes to be the richest hill of all is where your family is.


Jacey McHenry is a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide and is interested in history and aviation. She is pursuing a BSA in Aeronautics and works as a civilian Aircraft Quality Assurance Specialist for the Navy's F/A-28 Super Hornets. Previously, she has worked at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City where she restored historic military airplanes. She is also a Navy veteran having served as an Aviation Structural Mechanic. In her spare time, she raises chickens, reads both fiction and non-fiction history books, and enjoys camping and off-roading.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.