In addition to the books discussed below, those planning an extended trip to Yellowstone and/or Grand Teton national parks will find an abundance of information in Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks (Wiley Publishing, Inc.).

Fiction -- A. B. Guthrie's The Big Sky (Houghton Mifflin, 1947) is now a Montana classic, as is Owen Wister's The Virginian (Macmillan, 1929), set in frontier Wyoming. Then move on to contemporary fiction, like the classic fly-fishing novella A River Runs Through It (University of Chicago Press, 1976), by Norman Maclean. Fool's Crow (Viking Penguin, 1986), by James Welch (a native Montanan), and Heart Mountain (Viking Penguin, 1989), by Gretel Ehrlich, are fictional stories that revolve around American-Indian and Asian characters. Annie Proulx's Close Range: Wyoming Stories (Scribner, 1999) and Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2 (Scribner, 2004) are recent additions by a fine writer who's spent considerable time around Sheridan. Poet James Glavin's beautifully written The Meadow (Henry Holt, 1992) is set in the Tie Siding area of southeast Wyoming.

Montana is fortunate to have the best of its literature compiled in one volume, The Last Best Place (University of Montana Press, 1988), the definitive anthology of Montana writings, from American-Indian myths to contemporary short stories.

Nonfiction -- Novelist Ivan Doig wrote a beautiful memoir about his youth in Montana, This House of Sky (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978). Gretel Ehrlich's The Solace of Open Spaces (Viking Penguin, 1986) is a beautifully written, evocative account of Wyoming ranch life. Paul Schullery's Searching for Yellowstone (Mariner Books, 1997) is a great look at the ecology of the world's first national park and mankind's impact on it. Eric Sorg's Buffalo Bill: Myth and Reality is an informative read about the man who truly defined the mythos of the West.

If your interests lean more toward geography, check out the Roadside Geology of Montana (Mountain Press, 1986), by David Alt and Donald W. Hyndman, and the similar Roadside Geology of Wyoming (Mountain Press, 1988), by David R. Largeson and Darwin R. Spearing.

History -- Perhaps the best, and easiest, read about the history and culture of Montana is found between the covers of Montana, High, Wide and Handsome (University of Nebraska Press, 1983), written by Joseph Howard and first published in 1944. Another interesting historical tome is Aubrey Haines's two-volume The Yellowstone Story (University Press of Colorado, 1977).

Films -- Hollywood adapted Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It in 1992 with Brad Pitt; Rancho Deluxe (1975) is set in Livingston, Montana, and depicts a rapidly changing place through cattle rustlers played by Jeff Bridges and Sam Waterston; Little Big Man (1970) is a revisionist Western that covers Custer's Last Stand and much more. Wyoming films of note include the made-for-HBO The Laramie Project (2001), an adaptation of a stage play about the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard; Shane (1953), the Western classic shot in Jackson Hole; Heaven's Gate (1980), the Michael Cimino film about the Johnson County War whose title became synonymous with bloated Hollywood budgets, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Steven Spielberg's UFO epic that climaxes at Devils Tower National Monument. Brokeback Mountain (2005) took place in Montana and Wyoming, but most of the movie's Rocky Mountain exteriors were actually shot in Canada.

TV -- A number of 1950s and 1960s Western shows were set in Montana and Wyoming, including Buckskin (Montana) and Laramie, The Lawman, and The Virginian (Wyoming). However, the states have been ignored by most networks outside of PBS and Animal Planet in recent years.

Music -- Late country singer-songwriter Chris LeDoux lived on a ranch in Kaycee, Wyoming. Blackfeet singer-storyteller Jack Gladstone has been called "Montana's troubadour." Grunge-rock pioneers Bruce Fairweather of Mudhoney and Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament both hail from Montana.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.