Here are a few of our favorite books we thought you might like. See our Books & Tunes We Love page for more.
This House of Sky by Ivan Doig
Known as one of the defining authors of the American West, Ivan Doig grew up in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. His book, This House of Sky is actually the reason Red Ants Pants Founder Sarah Calhoun moved to this little ranching town to start her company. It’s a lovely and rich memoir that we highly recommend.
Ivan Doig grew up in the rugged wilderness of western Montana among the sheepherders and denizens of small-town saloons and valley ranches. What he deciphers from his past with piercing clarity is not only a raw sense of land and how it shapes us but also of the ties to our mothers and fathers, to those who love us, and our inextricable connection to those who shaped our values in our search for intimacy, independence, love, and family. A powerfully told story, This House of Sky is at once especially American and universal in its ability to awaken a longing for an explicable past.
Blind Your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West
One of our top 10 all time favorites, Blind Your Ponies introduces characters that enter your life, and they don’t leave. Based in Willow Creek, Montana, this novel is about a small town high school basketball team, but so much more.
Hope is hard to come by in the hard-luck town of Willow Creek. Sam Pickett and five young men are about to change that.
Sam Pickett never expected to settle in this dried-up shell of a town on the western edge of the world. He’s come here to hide from the violence and madness that have shattered his life, but what he finds is what he least expects. There’s a spirit that endures in Willow Creek, Montana. It seems that every inhabitant of this forgotten outpost has a story, a reason for taking a detour to this place–or a reason for staying.
As the coach of the hapless high school basketball team (zero wins, ninety-three losses), Sam can’t help but be moved by the bravery he witnesses in the everyday lives of people–including his own young players–bearing their sorrows and broken dreams. How do they carry on, believing in a future that seems to be based on the flimsiest of promises? Drawing on the strength of the boys on the team, sharing the hope they display despite insurmountable odds, Sam finally begins to see a future worth living.
Author Stanley Gordon West has filled the town of Willow Creek with characters so vividly cast that they become real as relatives, and their stories–so full of humor and passion, loss and determination–illuminate a path into the human heart.
Ride the Jawbone by Jim Moore
Ride the Jawbone weaves a compelling story of a gruesome murder and of a young lawyer who is called upon to defend the loathsome vagrant accused of the killing a young woman and throwing her body from the train. When no established attorney will defend the alleged murderer, the judge all but orders young T. C. Bruce, newly licensed to practice law, to undertake the task. While tracking the efforts of the young attorney to save his client from the hangman, the reader is transported back in time to central Montana, its ranching communities, and the famous Jawbone Railroad, as they existed at the turn of the twentieth century. Ride the Jawbone is a history lesson wrapped in a gripping mystery. Richard A. Harlow, without adequate financing is said to have jawboned the first railroad in central Montana into existence, a creation thereafter known only as the Jawbone. T. C. Bruce is the son of a rancher with a large spread near the newly created town of Two Dot. He loves ranching and is torn between his pleasing his father who wishes for him to take over the ranch and his mother who wants him to put his education to use. Two young women, different in every aspect, lend spice to the story. Lessons in the history and culture of place are most enjoyable when encountered in a story with rich characters and a challenging plot. Ride the Jawbone, a 225 page paperback original fills this bill effectively. Readers will learn much about the way of life of ranchers and other citizens of that place and time. The rich, eye-catching cover is crafted from a 1904 painting by R. E. DeCamp, which shows the Jawbone Railroad as it traveled through Sixteen Mile Canyon. A comprehensive discussion guide is included in the back of the book.
Election Day by Jim Moore
Jim Moore delivers a thriller that combines a fast-action story with a lesson about the US Constitution. What if, just days after the national election, the man who would be president and his chosen running mate are dead? Who becomes president and how is that person chosen? Our founding fathers possessed keen insight for solving such contingencies, a fact made clear in this political thriller by the author of Ride the Jawbone. Moore throws in four would-be kingmakers, an unscrupulous, power-hungry egomaniac who will stop at nothing to become president, and an earnest rancher/lawyer from Montana, Bobby Hobaugh, who becomes a pawn in an election scheme. It all adds up to an unforgettable story that will change the way you look at our process for choosing those who would lead us
The Body on the Floor of the Rotunda by Jim Moore
When Gloria Angel, the governor’s lovely assistant is found dead on the floor of Montana’s capitol building, Republican Senator, Audrey Welter, is accused of her murder. Audrey turns to her Senate colleague, Attorney and Democratic Senator, Stretch Bruce, to represent her. They struggle to fulfill their senatorial duties while preparing a defense to the charge. If only they could find the real killer. Clues point to the governor, the attorney general, a vagrant lurking in the capitol the night of the murder, and to Audrey’s former husband who was once jilted by the victim. Who is the murderer?
Not until the final day of the trial will they find out.
About Jim Moore
He was born Perry James (Jim) Moore III in Lewistown, Montana on December 21, 1927. He grew up on ranches and in small towns in Montana: Two Dot, Martinsdale, and Lewistown—and then Santa Barbara, California before moving back to the Moore Ranch at Two Dot.
He attended the Two Dot grade school, graduated from Harlowton High School in 1945 and enlisted in the navy. Discharged from the navy, he enrolled in the University of Montana at Missoula in the fall of 1946. He transferred to Montana State University in the fall of 1948 and graduated from that institution in 1952 with a degree in Agricultural Economics.
At Montana State he met Kathryn Nash. They were married on June 28, 1954 in Holy Rosary Church in Bozeman and made their home on the Moore Ranch. Three children – Dianne, Perry and Steven were born to the marriage.
Jim studied the law at their home on the ranch and was successful in passing the bar examination. He practiced law in Harlowton and then in Bozeman, while maintaining his interest in the ranch.In addition to the ranch and his law practice, Jim was involved in a number of other activities and associations.
All books sold in paperback only.