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Montana Film Office

Filmmaker Releases Documentary about Montana Ranch Life

Image courtesy of Raven's Eye Productions. “At first I wanted to show the cowboy way of life, but then I realized there was more to it.”

Filmmaker Stephanie Alton, a Bozeman resident, has been hard at work for the past nine years documenting the lives of three Montana ranching families as they raised and cared for their livestock.

The film, “Ridin’ for the Brand”, was inspired when Alton, then living in New York City, began to wonder where her food was coming from. “People needed to know it took a rancher to get that meat to their plate,” she told the Prairie Star. So, Alton began asking questions and formulating the narrative of her film.

As she got deeper into the project she found the documentary becoming more than an educational tool; it was becoming a snapshot of the ranching life that these families have known and loved for generations.

Through use of footage she gathered herself and footage provided by the families she created a documentary that shows all that ranching entails. “They have to be able to fix fences, do mechanical work, and be a veterinarian,” Alton explained to the Star. She’s glad to see that such a dynamic portrait is already making inroads and assisting in educating people across the country about agriculture and the ways of life that sustain it.

The film will show on PBS this April and Alton has made herself available to show the film to groups, schools, communities.

To discuss the film or a screening with Alton, she may be reached at 406.321.1582 or at More information about “Ridin’ for the Brand” may be found at
Read the rest of Alton’s interview with The Prairie Star here.

Image courtesy of Raven’s Eye Productions.