If you go to Five Guys, the chain that does the best burgers and fries in the States IMHO, they have up a board saying where the potatoes used that day came from. And chances are they are from Idaho. Idaho rejoices in being called the Potato State, and even has a potato museum in Blackfoot.
In many regards Idaho is similar to Montana and Wyoming. Lands of huge open spaces. Idaho also has a small native American population, and I decided to stop by to check out one of the reservations, the Fort Hall Indian Agency of the Shoshone Bannock Tribes. I had passed through a few reservations on my travels, and had generally got to understand a generality of how they operated. There is usually a casino at the start of the reservation, because the reservations are not restricted by state laws on gambling - Unfortunately most of the punters tend to be Indians, rather than outsiders. Then there is a selection of community facilities, a store, perhaps a trading post selling Indian wares, and clusters of small, simple dwellings. There are few people around, just the occasional pickup truck driving by and some kids playing in the street. Unemployment is roughly 50% in most reservations, and the social struggles of these communities is apparent in posters decrying domestic violence, reminders of the risks of drinking and driving and the presence of addiction treatment centres. I can't speak to the quality of life on the reservations, but it doesn't feel good. It is hard to say how the Indian nations would have evolved if they had been allowed to roam the West as they once did. Somehow it is hard to see how they could have avoided the positive aspects of European culture - health care, domestic appliances and literacy, for example - and with it the negative aspects too.
Next stop: Utah.