PBS Premiere: July 5, 2011Check the broadcast schedule »

Links & Books


The filmmakers' official site for Sweetgrass includes a trailer, reviews and information about the filmmakers.

POV's Sweetgrass Companion Website
POV's Sweetgrass companion website offers exclusive streaming video clips from the film and a wealth of additional resources, including a Q&A with filmmakers Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, a critical essay about the state of nonfiction film, video clips of influential ethnographic films, surprising facts about sheep and more.


Cowboys, Sheepherding and Ranching

American Border Collie Association
The American Border Collie Association site offers information regarding the registration and preservation of the border collie breed, as well as stock dog trials and exhibitions.

American Sheep Industry Association
This organization represents more than 82,000 sheep producers. Its site provides the latest industry news and other information.

California Wool Growers Association
The California Wool Growers Association website provides educational information, sheep industry news, events and resources concerning the California sheep industry at the local, regional, state and national level.

The Last Cowboy
This film's website includes historical information and links to related websites.

Montana Cowboy College. "The Economics of Ranching"
This paper offers a rancher's perspective on the economic difficulty of raising cows in modern-day Montana.

Montana Historical Society
The Montana Historical Society exists for learning, culture and enjoyment of citizens of and visitors to the state of Montana.

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is the premier American institution of Western history, art and culture. Founded in 1955, the museum in Oklahoma City collects, preserves and exhibits an internationally renowned collection of Western art and artifacts while sponsoring dynamic educational programs and ground-breaking scholarly research to stimulate interest in the enduring legacy of the American West.

Ranching with Sheep
This website aggregates a wide range of resources for people interested in profitably and sustainably raising sheep today. It provides a sense of many of the main issues.

Sheepherders of Northern Nevada
This companion website to a multimedia exhibit provides an overview of the Basque immigrants who dominated the American sheep business from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s.

University of Texas at Austin: "Early Ranching on the Northern Frontier of New Spain"
This history of ranching in South Texas since its beginnings in 1749 discusses the small portions of land, or porciónes, that were distributed among early settlers; methods for supplying water to the herds; and the one-room huts, or jacales, in which cowboys and their families lived.

Western Folklife Center: "Sheep Ranching in the American West"
This educational site provides audio and photographic documentation of sheep ranching.


American Meat Institute: "U.S. Meat and Poultry Production and Consumption: An Overview"
The American Meat Institute provides meat and poultry production and consumption statistics for 2009.

Montana Sheep Institute
A cooperative project between the Montana Wool Growers Association and Montana State University, the Montana Sheep Institute aims to promote the Montana sheep industry and increase the utilization of sheep for weed management purposes.

This website is an exhaustive resource that provides a variety of fun and interesting sheep facts.

Wool Use

The Knitting Guild Association
The Knitting Guild Association is the largest knitting association in the United States. The website serves as a resource for knitters searching for new ideas, products, markets and patterns and interested in connecting with fellow knitters.


Cross-Cultural Filmmaking: A Handbook for Making Documentary and Ethnographic Films and Videos by Barbash, Ilisa and Lucien Castaing-Taylor (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997)
Sweetgrass filmmakers Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor co-wrote this handbook, which covers theory and practice for anthropologists who film people in the field.

Harvard University Gazette: "Sensory Ethnography"
Directed by Sweetgrass filmmaker Lucien Castaing-Taylor, the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University combines anthropology and filmmaking, encouraging the study of human social experience with images as well as with words.

Transcultural Cinema by David Macdougall (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998)
This collection of essays from visual anthropologist David MacDougall about the theory of ethnographic cinema contains an introduction written by Sweetgrass filmmaker Lucien Castaing-Taylor.

Studies in the Anthropology of Visual Communication: "Is an Ethnographic Film a Filmic Ethnography?" by Jay Ruby (1975)
A 1975 article by Jay Ruby explores the relationship between traditional ethnography and the use of film as a social science tool for conducting ethnography. It provides background that helps place Sweetgrass in the broader context of ethnographic films.

Transition: "Iconophobia: How Anthropology Lost It at the Movies" by Lucien Taylor (1996)
This article by Sweetgrass recordist Lucien Castaing-Taylor explores the principles behind sensory ethnography. Taylor argues that the fluidity and multiplicity of the human experience call for a more open-ended, ambiguous mode of representation. Ethnographic films like Sweetgrass transcend the boundaries of the standard anthropological text by engaging viewers through their senses in a way that language and dialogue often cannot allow.

Land Issues

U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management's website includes information on land use policy and related laws.

U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management: "History of Public Land Livestock Grazing"
This article provides a detailed history of livestock grazing on public land, discussing how changing social attitudes and competition for resources have led to increasingly strict guidelines for grazing, as reflected in the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976.

This website explores land management issues related to grazing and other ranching practices. It includes links to relevant laws and policies.


Breaking Clean by Judy Blunt (New York: Knopf, 2002)
Judy Blunt recalls growing up on a Montana cattle ranch in the 1950s and 1960s.

Amerikanuak: Basques in the New World by William A. Douglass and Jon Bilbao. (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1976)
This work of non-fiction discusses Basque immigration to the American West and several Latin American countries.

This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind by Ivan Doig (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978)
Montana native Ivan Doig describes life among sheepherders.

The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich (New York: Viking, 1985)
Poet Gretel Ehrlich moved to a small farm in Wyoming in 1976, and in this memoir she writes about the people and seasons of the West.

Sweet Promised Land by Robert Laxalt (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2007)
A Basque sheepherder who settled in Nevada returns to his boyhood home in the Pyrenees with his journalist son.

A Short Season: Story of a Montana Childhood by Donald Morehead and Ann Morehead (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press/Bison Books, 1998)
Donald Morehead recalls life growing up on a 10,000-acre sheep ranch.

A Day Late and A Dollar Short by Spike Van Cleve (Kansas City: Lowell Press, 1981)
Spike Van Cleve describes life on the ranch his grandfather established in Montana in 1880.


PBS NewsHour: "Cowboy Poets"
This segment profiles an annual gathering of thousands that seeks to prolong a culture of storytelling among cowboys, focusing on the work of three cowboy poets.

NPR: "Sheepherding Remains a Lonely Life"
Though technological developments and a 2001 labor law have improved working conditions for sheepherders in California, sheepherding remains a lonely and difficult profession. Former sheepherders Pierre Arriett and Paco Iturrirria are interviewed in this segment.

NPR: "Modern-Day Cowboys Frozen in Time"
This page displays some of the 19th-century style photography from Robb Kendrick's book Still: Cowboys at the Start of the Twenty-First Century.