Imagine a serene environment where writers can experience a quiet solitude that lets the words pour out onto the pages, and where artists are inspired by the natural beauty and wide-open landscapes. This has been a central role of the Bench Ranch and Torgrimson Place over the years, which has drawn scores of well-known writers and artists from Montana and afar.
Wallace Stegner, winner of a Pulitzer Prize and an American Book Award, and his family became dear friends of the Heyneman family and spent a good amount of time at the ranch. Wallace and his son Page wrote the book American Places and focused on the Bench Ranch area in a section called “Crow Country.” Just as the Montana landscape inspired the Stegners, it has also inspired many other writers and artists, and it is sure to inspire you.
For a reading list from some Montana-loving authors, you may want to check out:
- The Last Best Place, An anthology that will make you believe there are as many good writers here as there are cowboy hats.
- American Places by Page and Wallace Stegner
- A River Runs Through It & Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean
- Gallatin Canyon by Tom McGuane
- The Big Sky and The Way West by A.B. Guthrie
- This House of Sky by Ivan Doig
- From the Heart of the Crow Country: The Crow Indians’ Own Stories by Joseph Medicine Crow
- The Journals of Lewis and Clark, edited by Bernard DeVoto
- Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
No less broad are the painters and sculptors that have thrived here, including:
- C.M. Russell, America’s iconic “cowboy” artist
- Isabelle Johnson
- Theodore Waddell
- Kevin Red Star – celebrated Crow artist
This corner of Montana is home to many artists and artisans whose work is well worth discovering:
Just down the road in Roscoe you can visit the Pioneer Pottery, on the banks of the East Rosebud. If that whets your appetite for more, then visit the Red Lodge Clay Center, where potters from all over the country are exhibited, or take a class right here in Fishtail at the Muddy Lamb Studio.