TLN Investigates: Zefram Cochrane & First Contact


Some of you may be asking “Who the heck is Zefram Cochrane?”

Well, in the Star Trek universe, he’s the man we have to thank for warp drive. He was a human scientist who built the first warp drive on Earth. His ship was launched on April 5, 2063 and was spotted by a Vulcan ship on a survey mission. The Vulcans then landed and first contact was made between humans and Vulcans.

In the movie Star Trek: First Contact the Borg travel back in time to sabotage this momentous event in the hopes that they can more easily conquer Earth. Spoiler alert! They are, of course, thwarted by Picard and crew.

One fact that most intrigued me upon first watching this movie was the fact that Bozeman, Montana was named as the site of first contact and I happened to live just outside of Bozeman for several years as a teenager.

Bozeman 5

During a recent trip to the area, I decided to attempt to visit the site of first contact for myself. Alas, I soon discovered that the city was oblivious to its claim to fame and no such site was easily identified. So I decided to do some digging and see if the movie had been filmed on location.

I’m disappointed to say that although Bozeman is specifically named, it wasn’t actually where the movie was filmed. Instead they filmed at a missile museum in Arizona for the shots of Cochrane’s ship, the Phoenix. The outdoor shots were actually done in the Angeles National Forest in California.

Bozeman 1

I came across various descriptions of Bozeman in articles about its connection to the Star Trek universe, all referring to Bozeman as a small town or even a shanty town. In reality, Bozeman is the 4th largest city in the state. Surrounded by beautiful landscape, Bozeman itself is a charming college town with a wonderful historical downtown.

In Star Trek: First Contact, Bozeman really does appear to be more of a shanty town; however, the events of the film are set in 2063 after the world had been devastated by a third World War.

*All photos in this post were taken by Lady Dynamo outside of Bozeman, MT.

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