Suggested Reading List
Very Close to Trouble - The Johnny Grant Memoir
Author: Johnny Grant, Author; Lyndel Meikle, Author/Editor
Description: Johnny Grant's memoirs have been edited here to focus on his life in the 1850s and '60s when he spent time on the western Montana frontier as an early pioneer and trader. The short chapters are packed with eyewitness accounts of frontier life for a real life glimpse into rough and tumble times - hangings, gold discovery, the Mormon uprising of 1857 and more.
Montana, High Wide and Handsome
Author: Joseph Kinsey Howard
Description: This classic history by one of Montana's most talented, influential and significant authors was first published in 1943. A spirited, appreciative testimony to the great prairie, its indigenous peoples, geography, climate, turf battles, economy and environment, the book became an unquestioned landmark in Montana’s literary history and is considered by many to be the most influential and evocative work every published about the state’s past. This new edition includes a preface by A. B. Guthrie, Jr. and an introduction by William Kittredge
A Day Late and a Dollar Short
Author: Spike Van Cleve
Description: Gloriously written short stories of ranching in days gone by for nuances of Montana - poignant, funny, real. Read this before you come to Big Sky Country. The author was born on the family ranch in 1912, attended Harvard University and returned to Montana where he and his wife, Barbara, continued to ranch and to operate the historic LAZY K BAR Dude Ranch. Among other offices, he served as president of the Dude Ranchers Association and as chairman of the board of trustees and a director of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center. For his most poignant and lovely story in this collection, Cody and Terry, and for the movie documentary, Spike-Montana Horseman he was awarded Wrangler Awards from the Cowboy Hall of Fame
Montana Pay-Dirt: A Guide to the Mining Camps of the Treasure State
Author: Muriel Sibell Wolle
Description: This history of Montana's most famous mining camps is accurately and thoroughly chronicled via Wolle's extensive archival research, fascinating interviews with old timers and her first-person stories. The sites were researched and visited in the early 1950s and include wonderful narrative of the author's explorations and adventures in the backroads of Montana's mountains. Wolle, a talented artist, illustrated this book with her 'handsome sketches of ghost town streetscapes.' The book endures as a standard history of Montana's mining frontier.
The Last Best Place, A Montana Anthology
Author: William Kittredge & Annick Smith, editors
Description: This anthology preserves Montana's rich literary heritage from myths and stories of the earliest Native American inhabitants to works of contemporary authors. Read accounts written by early explorers and visitors including Lewis and Clark, Osborne Russell and James Audubon and by miners, cowboys and settlers. This literature that has been birthed in the Last Best Place - diaries, essays, legends, journals, tall tales, poetry - reflects the remarkable nature of the Treasure State.
Montana Mining Ghost Towns
Author: Barbara Fifer
Description: A recording of Montana's historic and abandoned mining towns is presented through colorful images, historical photographs, newspaper excerpts and text describing life in the mining camps - prospectors, outlaws, colorful characters, vigilantes and corporate shenanigans.
Glacial Lake Missoula and Its Humongous Floods
Author: David Alt
Description: Discover the earth history of a huge Ice Age lake that was repeatedly created by a dam of glacial ice at the border of Montana and Idaho. Water at the dam was 2000' deep and 900' deep at Missoula, stretching more than a hundred miles up several valleys. The dam washed out resulting in huge floods across Washington and out the Columbia River Gorge to the Pacific. The dam reformed and washed out forty times or more. The author describes these events of ten to fifteen thousand years ago in layman's terms. A geology professor at the University of Montana, he co founded the popular Roadside Geology series.
This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind
Author: Ivan Doig
Description: Memories of growing up in Montana; a written painting of This House of Sky colored with affection and love of the land and the people and the words.
The Big Sky
Author: A.B. Guthrie Jr.
Description: The first of several novels of the Big Sky country; it was designated the "best novel of the American West" by the Western Literature Association. Its sequel, "The Way West," won the Pulitzer Prize. The Big Sky chronicles the fur trade era; you'll want to read the rest. You'll enjoy A.B. Guthrie, Jr.'s. fine style of writing.