Learn more about the town of Sixteen at Lost and Found Montana.

This House of Sky: Sixteen

…the Basin country began to feel winter fastening into the very pit of its stomach. I helped load what was left of a neighbor’s sheep into boxcars there at Sixteen. Those sheep were so hungry they were eaten’ the wool off each other. And even the desperation hay began to run out. If we could of got another ten ton, we could of saved a lot of cattle. But-we-could-not-get-it. Cows struggled to stay alive now by eating willows thick as a man’s thumb. (36)

Doig, Ivan. This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978.

About the Book

This House of Sky

Published in 1978, This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind is a memoir of Doig’s hardscrabble childhood on ranches and in small towns along the Rocky Mountain Front. A finalist for the National Book Award, This House of Sky and Doig’s other works earned him a lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association in 1989.

For more about This House of Sky—background notes, a study guide and photos of Doig’s parents, Berneta and Charlie, and his grandmother, Bessie Ringer—visit ivandoig.com.

While the settings in This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind 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

Ivan Doig

Ivan Doig was born in White Sulphur Springs, in Montana’s Smith River Valley, to a family of homesteaders and ranch workers. He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington, and has authored more than a dozen novels and works of non-fiction.

Doig has written, “I don’t think of myself as a ‘Western’ writer. To me, language—the substance on the page, that poetry under the prose—is the ultimate ‘region,’ the true home, for a writer.”

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