Trudy Kempton Dana - The Kemptons

Welcome to the wild and heartwarming world of the Kempton Ranch

In its day, the famed Kempton Ranch of eastern Montana was one of the largest horse and cattle operations in Montana, selling mounts to armies and polo-playing royalty alike. The Kemptons themselves were a storybook family descended from Mayflower pilgrims, Sioux Indians, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Their own exploits make for a larger-than-life Western epic.

Meet Joseph Kempton, a whaling ship captain who becomes an early Colorado pioneer; JB Kempton, the first to ship cattle on the Northern Pacific rails; and his son Berney, a trick roper with Doc Carver's Wild West Show, hotelier, and a friend to British earls and President Theodore Roosevelt.

Author Trudy Kempton Dana mines her family's lore for salt-of-the-earth true stories of these and many other characters to reveal a family of rare vision, grit, and integrity as they create American history and embody the spirit of the West. 

"A fascinating look at one western family whose members reflect the gamut of the American experience from a signer of the Declaration of Independence to a Wild West performer who wowed audiences in Australia by roping kangaroos. Lavishly illustrated with photographs, artifacts, and manuscripts, the stories of the Kempton family's life in eastern Montana are by turns inspiring and heart wrenching. Trudy Kempton Dana has done a masterful job." -- Donna M. Lucey, author of Photographing Montana (1894-1928): The Life and Work of Evelyn Cameron

"The Kempton family endured the rugged journey westward to Terry, Montana, full of grit and dreams. They left their lasting mark on the town and Trudy's captivating depiction of their lives will surely leave the same!" -- Megan Pirtz, editor, the Terry Tribune

"I teach high school American literature and I wish there were more positive, uplifting resources for my students. I found that in Trudy Dana's stories! Her grandmother's journey from Sweden is a great depiction of an emigrant's experience and the hardship they overcame, the true grit and determination they showed. I wish these stories could be included in every American literature textbook." -- Kim Ferragamo, high school teacher, Edmonds, Washington

Trudy K. Dana is the author of four books, two on child safety, one for a law enforcement audience, and the first book in a series of three about her family that dates back to a Mayflower Pilgrim, signer of the Declaration of Independence, a powerful Sioux Indian Chief, and the star rider and roper in a Wild West Show. 

That book, "THE KEMPTONS: Adventures of a Montana Ranch Family 1880-1964," will be released by Farcountry Press in early 2019. More information and photos on her website:

  • The Kemptons Cover Image
    ISBN: 9781560377337
    Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
    Published: Farcountry Press - January 15th, 2019