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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