Investment banker James Manley saw 500 ranches before he found one that matched his wish list: in a valley to ensure complete privacy; near a mountain on which he could ski; a cool town nearby that still looks like a stage set from a Western. He didn’t want grizzlies, rattlesnakes or cougars (though there are elk, moose, deer, black bears and wolves), nor to be at such altitude that it would cause mountain sickness.
Oh, and he wanted a river teeming with trout, too. Eventually Manley settled on 6,600 acres of spectacular cowboy country in the wilds of Montana’s Anaconda-Pintler wilderness, restored its 19th-century buildings and added a granite lodge, some log cabins (the loveliest are Bluebird, Wrangler, Eagle’s Perch and the former hayloft by the corral) and a row of river-front tents. But the real appeal is that all the riding, shooting, fishing, archery, mountain biking and, in winter, skiing, skating, snowmobiling, sledding and sleigh rides you have the energy for are included.
As are three meals a day and drinks, even in its Silver Dollar Saloon, where the swivel stools at the bar have saddles for seats. There’s nowhere better to connect with your inner Annie Oakley. They’ll even lend you a Stetson and cowboy boots.