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Film Discussion Guide

Download the discussion guide for the documentary Sweetgrass and use it for facilitating conversation about this film at home, in the classroom or at community screenings.

Sweetgrass: Discussion Guide

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Sweetgrass is a contemplative elegy depicting the twilight of a defining chapter in the history of the American West. It follows the last sheepherders to lead their flocks of sheep up into Montana's Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains for summer pasture. Shot between 2001 and 2003, the film provides a rare glimpse into the beauty and the hardships of a lifestyle once central to Big Sky country, now gone. As an outreach tool,Sweetgrass asks viewers to both celebrate and question romantic depictions of cowboys, the West, wilderness and ranching. It raises issues of land use, animal husbandry practices, the economics of sheep ranching and public policy.

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Full-color PDF | Printer-friendly PDF

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Film Information

Sweetgrass (90 min.)

Premiere Date: July 5, 2011

Streaming Dates: Expired

Photos: Download Here

Trailer: Link | Embed

Filmmakers: Ilisa Barbash, Lucien Castaing-Taylor Bio | Interview | Statement

Press: Press Release | Critical Acclaim


Ilisa Barbash
Ilisa Barbash
Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Sweetgrass... is a tribute to past and contemporary people who still manage to eke out a bittersweet living on the land.”

— Ilisa Barbash, Producer


Film Update

Critical Acclaim

Magnificent… Wonderful… The first essential movie of this young year… Astonishingly beautiful… Nature overwhelms the screen and even minds…...”

— Manohla Dargis,
The New York Times

Breathtaking… close to heaven… Fascinating...”

— Melissa Anderson,
The Village Voice

A one-of-a-kind experience. At once epic-scale and earthbound… a mad cross between Howard Hawks’ Red River and Grass…with a dash of Tex Avery’s Drag-along Droopy...”

— Ronnie Scheib,

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'Sweetgrass Guide PDF