All But the Waltz: Stage Road

Grammy could tell stories as she worked. I followed as she laid out feed for the milk cows or drove new staples in a fence, listening as she told how Great-grandfather Abraham’s…wife, Mary, had traveled west by stagecoach to join him with her two-year-old son, Albert, in her arms, and about the night the driver got so drunk he upset the stage with all its passengers. Hearing no sound from the little bundle in her arms, fearing the worst, my great-grandmother screamed and woke the soundly sleeping baby. Grammy pointed out the old stage road to me, where the accident happened, and I can see it yet, a line of dense weed growth along the base of the South Moccasins, when I drive from Fort Benton to Lewistown. (68-69)

Blew, Mary Clearman. All But the Waltz: Essays on a Montana Family. New York: Viking Press, 1991.

About the Book

All But the Waltz

First published in 1991, All But the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family is comprised of 11 virtuosic essays about hardship, death and survival on the rugged plains of central Montana.

While the settings in All But the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family clearly reference actual locales, it is understood that the book—including its places—is ultimately the product of the author’s imagination. The intent of this literary map is to enrich the reading experience by interpreting those places, not to render them literally or definitively.

About the Author

Mary Clearman Blew

Mary Clearman Blew grew up on the site of her great-grandfather’s 1882 homestead, along the headwaters of the Judith River north of Lewistown, Montana. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri and is the recipient of numerous awards for her essays, memoirs, short stories and novel—including