Montana Memoir

Cover and buy button for "Montana Memoir, The Hardscrabble Years, 1925-1942" by William L. McGee

The Hardscrabble Years, 1925-1942
by William L. McGee with Sandra V. McGee
BMC Publications, 2016
138 pp, 60 B&W photographs & illustrations
Paperback and Kindle eBook
Buy from Amazon

An absolutely wonderful read. I can’t believe the experiences you were having at age sixteen… riding the rails around the West, being on your own. And I love that the Wilsall Mercantile, started by your Uncle Clyde Lyon in 1916 or ’17, is still in operation today!
– Chase Reynolds Ewald, author of Cabin Style and American Rustic

About Montana Memoir

Wrangler/writer/broadcaster Bill McGee tells what it was like growing up during the Depression years in the wild and wooly cow town of Malta, Montana, built on the Great Northern Railway route on the Montana Hi-Line.

Abandoned by his father at age five (“Dad said Montana was getting too crowded,” writes McGee), Bill tells how his mother and three siblings made ends meet – barely.

In the Author’s Words

Author Bill McGee (left) and his three siblings, Montana, 1930

“The Ragamuffins” – Bill McGee [left] and his three siblings, Malta, Montana, 1930

“At seven, I was farmed out – as it was called – to a neighboring rancher to work for my room and board. It meant one less mouth to feed at home. To this day, I honestly believe those difficult years instilled in me the very qualities I needed later on to make it in business and life.”



What readers are saying…

“Bill had the reputation of being a straight shootin’ author, but I found some of his writing to be touching. For example, the photo captioned ‘The Ragamuffins’ of Bill and his brother and two sisters during the Depression.  Bill writes, ‘We didn’t know we were poor. We always had clothes on our backs, even if they didn’t fit. My sisters, Doris and Betty, were wearing dresses made from decorated flour sacks as was common during the Depression.  I was farmed out at age seven to live and work on the Carl Holm ranch because it meant one less mouth to feed at home.’ That’s what I mean by touching.
– William
T.  Lyons, editor, The Lyon’s Tale

“I read MONTANA MEMOIR in a single sitting because I couldn’t put it down. Bill McGee’s firsthand account brought to such vivid life a world I had heard of, but had never experienced. Thank you for writing this book.”
– John H., a self-described “city boy”

“MONTANA MEMOIR will make everyone want to be a cowboy.”
– Murray Olderman, nationally syndicated columnist/sportswriter

“This poignant memoir – written by my father, a genuine Montana cowboy – is a treasure. As I read the book, I could hear his deep voice reading aloud to me.”
– K. McGee

“I married into the Montana Lyon family and therefore am familiar with the chapter on Frederick A. Lyon, who settled in Forest Grove, Montana, in 1882. Bill McGee’s prose brought the Lyon ranch to life.”
– J. Nichols
“I offer my admiration to the 90-plus year old author for writing ‘one more book’ and sharing his wonderful coming-of-age experiences in Depression-era Montana… stories that might have stayed in his mind and never been told. What a legacy for all to enjoy.”
– S. M.