Bass, Rick. Winter: Notes from Montana. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992. Journals of the author’s first winter in far northwestern Montana.
Bevis, William W. Ten Tough Trips: Montana Writers and the West. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1990. One of the first works of literary criticism solely on Montana writers.
Blew, Mary Clearman. All But the Waltz. New York: Viking Penguin, 1991. Blew’s family came to Montana in 1882. These affecting essays trace their lives in the Judith Basin country. Also look for her collections of short stories Runaway, Lambing Out, Sister Coyote, and a memoir, Balsamroot.
Cannon, Hal, ed. Cowboy Poetry: A Gathering. Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith, 1985. A historical overview of cowboy poetry.
Cannon, Hal, ed. New Cowboy Poetry: A Contemporary Gathering. Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith, 1990. An anthology of the best of today’s cowboy poets.
Crumley, James. The Last Good Kiss. New York: Random House, 1978. Follow hard-boiled Montana detectives around the seedy sides of the West in this book—and in Dancing Bear and The Wrong Case.
Ford, Richard. Wildlife. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990. A Great Falls teenager watches his father go off to fight fires and his mother take up with another man.
Frazier, Ian. Great Plains. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1989. A wonderful conglomeration of Frazier’s rambles across the historical and contemporary plains.
Fromm, Pete. Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter in the Bitterroot. New York: Lyons and Burford, 1993. Good memoir to read by a toasty fireplace. Fromm has also written the novels How All This Started and As Cool As I Am.
Garcia, Andrew. Tough Trip Through Paradise. Sausalito, Calif.: Comstock Editions, 1967. Discovered in 1948, this is the powerfully written chronicle of the 1878 Montana frontier penned by a white man who lived with Native Americans.
Guthrie Jr., A. B. The Big Sky. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1947. Classic, unvarnished tale of a young man living the Western life.
Hugo, Richard. Making Certain It Goes On. New York: W. W. Norton, 1984. Hugo’s collected poems. For a change of pace, try Hugo’s detective novel, Death and the Good Life, which hopscotches between the lower Flathead River and Portland, Oregon.
Kittredge, William, ed. Montana Spaces. New York: Nick Lyons Books, 1988. Evocative essays by the likes of Thomas McGuane and Gretel Ehrlich with perfect black-and-white photos by John Smart.
Kittredge, William, and Annick Smith, eds. The Last Best Place. Helena: Montana Historical Society Press, 1988. This 1,158-page compendium anchors down every Montanan’s bedside table. From Native American myths to Paul Zarzyski’s modern cowboy poems, it’s all here.
Krakel, Dean. Downriver: A Yellowstone Journey. San Francisco: Sierra Club Press, 1987. The eclectic chronicle of a float trip down the full length of the Yellowstone River.
Maclean, Norman. A River Runs Through It. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976. The classic novella of fly-fishing and two brothers’ love and doomed relationship.
McGuane, Thomas. Keep the Change. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. Tough, sensitive guys try to set their lives straight in Deadrock, Montana (which is a lot like Livingston).
McMurtry, Larry. Lonesome Dove. New York: Pocket Books, 1985. A masterfully written epic of the last days of the great Texas cattle drives, told from the point of view of faded but wisecracking cowboys. Also from McMurtry, Buffalo Girls is an engaging saga of Calamity Jane and her gang.
Raban, Jonathan. Badlands. New York: Vintage Books, 1996. Rambling narrative that examines the homesteading movement on the eastern Montana plains.
Stegner, Wallace. Wolf Willow. New York: Viking Press, 1962. Stegner spent his youth on a homestead just north of Montana, in Saskatchewan.
Stockton, Bill. Today I Baled Some Hay to Feed the Sheep the Coyotes Eat. Billings and Helena: Falcon Press, 1983. Vignettes by a Montana-raised, Paris-educated writer and illustrator on the vicissitudes of sheep ranching.
Van Cleve, Spike. A Day Late and a Dollar Short. Kansas City: Lowell Press, 1982. The full-spirited reminiscences of one of Montana’s foremost dude ranchers and storytellers.
Welch, James. The Indian Lawyer. New York: W. W. Norton, 1990. A Blackfeet lawyer in Helena finds his life suddenly very complicated…it’s a page-turner with good insights. Welch’s other novels include Fools Crow, Winter in the Blood,and The Death of Jim Loney.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition