In These Hills


In These Hills

Ralph Beer
Foreword by William Kittredge

180 pages


June 2003


$16.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

After a lifetime spent writing and working on his family’s cattle ranch outside of Helena, Montana, Ralph Beer has gathered his best magazine essays into one collection called In These Hills. In thirty-three essays he provides a moving and elegiac tribute to lives now passed, an often humorous homage to the provincial, and an attempt “to fathom the place where we live . . . to decipher who we are,” as he writes in his introduction.
Beer, praised as one of the finest writers in the West, offers an authentic literary voice paired with a lifetime spent exploring a particularly beloved piece of land. From his first experience with a wheat harvest, to the winter rebuilding of a 1947 Dodge Power Wagon, to his moving exploration of an old family mystery, these essays slice sharply under the sod of our embedded romanticism, exploring not only the brute hardships of a living made from cattle ranching but the inextricable satisfaction of it as well. As Beer himself says in the final pages of this collection, "Stories outshine instruments of gold. Stories outlast stone."

Author Bio

Ralph Beer has worked as a ranch hand, swamper, clerk, cannon cocker, logger, heavy equipment operator, battery rat, carpenter, and whiskey taster. He and his wife, Maggie, recently sold the Howard Beer Ranch and have gone on to other things, though they dearly miss their cows. Beer is the author of the Spur Award–winning novel The Blind Corral, and his essays have been included in the anthologies The Last Best Place and Montana Spaces.


"[A] moving tribute to Western rural life."—Clark Whitehorn, Montana Magazine

“A celebration of the ordinary, day-to-day life of a small operation farmer/rancher/writer, who, just because of the circumstances, because a sort of jack-of-all-trades. . . . Thanks to Ralph Beer’s sincere and meaningful essays all of us can preserve a bit of our Montana memories and dreams.”—Montana Senior News


Western States Book Award

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