23 Books Set in + About Wyoming
Are you ready for a big adventure out west? Or at least maybe through a book? These books about Wyoming will take you across this wide state. They will immerse in the lives of ranchers and cowboys, teach you about the history of Yellowstone National Park, and help you notice the natural world a little more.
So if you’re looking for books set in Wyoming, grab one of these and settle down for an armchair adventure!
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Novels Set in Wyoming
Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx
Okay, so this isn’t a novel but is rather a book of short stories. But we HAVE to include it in this list of books about Wyoming because it feels like a Wyoming modern classic. Proulx’s prose is beautiful and she writes about cowboys, ranchers, and the hardscrabble people who call Wyoming home. This collection also includes the short story “Brokeback Mountain” (upon which the movie is based) and it absolutely floored me. For fans of short stories and literary fiction.
Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center
After her divorce, Helen’s brother talks her into attending a wilderness survival course in Wyoming. The whole situation is nothing like what she expected though, including the friend her brother brought along. This is for fans of romance and women’s fiction.
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
Two friends, Thomas and John, both orphans, travel to Wyoming to fight in the American Indian Wars and later the Civil War. They have seen their share of hardships, and the wars are no different, but together they form a kind of found family. For fans of historical fiction and war fiction.
Ridgeline by Michael Punke
You may recognize Michael Punke as the author of The Revenant. In Ridgeline, he has written a novel based on historical events as the US Army and the Lakota clash over land in Wyoming. For US Colonel Carrington, the land is a place to build a road for further expansion. But for the Lakota the land is their home and they are determined to protect it. This is for fans of historical fiction and war fiction.
Open Season by C.J. Box
This popular book about Wyoming is the first in the Joe Pickett series. In this first book, Joe is an unpopular game warden in a small Wyoming town. When a hunter is found dead in Joe’s backyard, he suspects that there is an answer more complicated than what the police say. And when he finds an endangered species left by the hunter, he knows there is something more going on. For fans of mysteries and suspense.
The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson
When young Cody Pritchard is found dead, Sheriff Walt Longmire is called in to investigate. Years earlier, Cody had been connected to the rape of a Cheyenne girl along with three other boys. So is this murder an act of revenge? This is what Longmire needs to find out when he is put in charge of protecting the lives of the three other boys. This book clearly has complicated themes, content warnings, and is for fans of mysteries, suspense, and police procedurals.
Godspeed by Nickolas Butler
In Jackson, Wyoming, three construction workers are tasked with building an extravagant house for an ultra-rich client. The client wants the house done in record speed with the promise of a big bonus. But how far can the three men push themselves to get the project done? And will the danger they face in completing the task be worth it? This if for fans of suspense.
The Virginian by Owen Wister
First published in 1902, this is perhaps the first western novel. It’s the story of a character named only as The Virginian, who takes part in a 1890s land dispute between big cattle ranches and smaller ranchers. This is definitely a book that romanticizes the life of a cowboy and is for fans of westerns and classics.
Want more big Western adventures? Check out these books set in Texas!
Non-Fiction Books About Wyoming
Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone by George Black
Want to learn more about the history of Yellowstone National Park? This epic book will take you from the exploration of the West through the American Indian Wars, and ultimately to the establishment of Yellowstone as the United States’ first National Park. For fans of dense historical non-fiction.
Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park by Lee Whittlesey
As beautiful as Yellowstone is, it’s also full of potential dangers, including hot springs, grizzly bears, and falling rocks. This book examines the history of deaths in Yellowstone, their causes, and what could have been done to prevent them. You might want to read this one before you go (to learn what not to do) or you might not (if it will make you too anxious). But either way, please *do* be aware of how to travel safely in Yellowstone before any trip there. This is for fans of books that are a little bizarre, oddly fascinating, and for readers who don’t mind reading about death and tragedy.
The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History by Joseph M. Marshall III
Crazy Horse was a Lakota Indian known for his courageous fighting in the Battle of Little Bighorn. This biography of him, though, explores more of his history and his community and how he was called to fight for his people. Marshall is a Lakota Indian himself, and he draws on his known tradition to make the story of Crazy Horse richer. For fans of biographies.
The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, An American Legend by Bob Drury and Tom Calvin
This biography is about the life of Red Cloud, a Sioux leader who was the only American Indian to defeat the US Army during a battle in Wyoming. He had a life that impacted many people, including US generals, explorers, and other famous Sioux warriors. This is for fans of biographies.
The Legend of Colton H. Bryant by Alexandra Fuller
This non-fiction title tells the true story of Colton H. Bryant, a young man with limited opportunities in Wyoming who went to work on an oil-rig. There, tragedy struck because of safety mistakes. For fans of moving true stories.
The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich
When Ehrlich moves to Wyoming in 1975 for a documentary, she decides to stay. This book collects her reflections on life in Wyoming, the rugged landscape, the animals, and the risks that come with the lives of ranchers and cowboys. This is for fans of nature writing and slow, reflective books.
Children’s Books About Wyoming
The River That Wolves Moved: A True Tale from Yellowstone by Mary Kay Carson
In this picture book, Carson uses a building, repetitive narrative to show how the wolves are critical to the Yellowstone ecosystem. This book has short phrases for younger kids, but also explains a bit more about the wolves of Yellowstone in additional text. Recommended ages: 4-8 years.
The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush retold and Illustrated by Tomie dePaola
Indian Paintbrushes are a type of flower you can find in Wyoming. This book tells the legend of this flower, and how a young American Indian had a Dream-Vision that would lead him to become a painter. Recommended ages: 5 and up.
C is for Cowboy: A Wyoming Alphabet by Eugene Gagliano, Illustrated by Susan Guy
Explore the people, geography, culture, and animals of Wyoming with this alphabet book. I love this series because it has a simple rhyme on each page for younger kids, plus a sidebar with more information for older kids and adults. Recommended ages: 5 and up.
I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote by Linda Arms White, Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
Did you know that the first place women could vote in the US was in Wyoming? This picture book tells the story of Esther Morris, who helped get women the vote in Wyoming in 1869. Recommended ages: 7-9 years.
The Wolves of Yellowstone: A Rewilding Story by Catherine Barr and Jenni Desmond
When wolves disappeared from Yellowstone National Park in the 1930s, the ecosystem began to see devastating consequences. In 1995, a team reintroduced wolves to the area, hoping to turn things around. The Wolves of Yellowstone shares the story of this project, showing kids how vital every animal is the survival of its ecosystem. Recommended ages: 8 and up.
Middle Grade & YA Books Set in Wyoming
Just Dance by Patricia MacLachlan
Sylvia Bloom wants something exciting to happen, and she’s on the lookout for it when she’s offered the chance to take over a newspaper column in her small Wyoming town one summer. But will anything actually happen? Recommended ages: 7-9 years.
My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
On his family’s Wyoming ranch, Ken falls in love with a horse named Flicka. But Flicka needs taming, maybe more than he is cut out for. Recommended ages: 8 and up.
Skies Like These by Tess Hilmo
When Jade’s parents send her off to her aunt’s house in Wyoming for the summer, she meets a new friend named Roy Parker (the same name as Butch Cassidy). Roy’s father has just had to close his hardware store because of a new chain store, and he wants Jade to help him pull some stunts to maybe get their local stores back in business. Recommended ages: 9-12 years.
You Are The Everything by Karen Rivers
When Elyse and her crush Josh are the sole-survivors of a plane crash, it seems like fate has brought them together. But then their lives start to resume some sense of normalcy as they move to Wyoming and try to heal from the trauma. What does their bond really mean though? Recommended ages: 13 and up.
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