Author Talk with Jan Elpel

Saturday, May 18, 2019 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Join us for an afternoon author talk with local author Jan Elpel for her Historical Trilogy - Berrigan's Ride, Healers of Big Butte, and Heirloom China

All three books, meticulously researched, provide insight into the gold-fueled creation of the unruly, unruled Montana Territory. The books satisfy in the way iconic Western films satisfy, evoking our love for adventure, romance, triumph against adversity; offering us other people's adversity even when it does not end if triumph; engaging our longing for a time that seems simpler (even if it wasn't). But they are more than that. Elpel is a writer committed to understanding how and why things happen, who the players are, what the truth of history is, how the dynamics of history evolve. I think it is exactly that kind of attention--a deep interest in the real world that produced her fictional characters--that pulls the reader into the reality of that world."

--Ruth Rudner, Lewis & Clark Journal, March 2019

More about the Historical Trilogy:

The novels of the trilogy were inspired by significant changes and transitions in mid-nineteenth century American West, after the Civil War, rise of the Indian Wars, and early women’s suffrage movement. The characters portray attitudes and relationships of the times including true love, integrity and courage through hardships and violence.

Berrigan's Ride is a love story that unfolds in the gold rush days of Sterling, Montana Territory, 1866 - 1868. Kent Berrigan heard the call to go West in the company of other Confederates seeking peace and a new identity after the Civil War. He pursues the one woman who captures his fancy, Marion Patton of Coloma, California, who has a vision of the future of the country if not her own destiny. Berrigan's Ride is first in a trilogy exploring attitudes and relationships at a time of sweeping changes in the Territory and across the newly unified expanse of the United States.


Healers of Big Butte explores the clash of modern versus traditional medicine in Big Butte, Montana Territory in 1875 - 1877. Carrie Tarynton saves the life of a prized horse and confronts age-old superstitions and practices, as well as two "modern" physicians from the East. She enlists a Shoshone healer to heal her husband, Mac Tarynton, and her marriage. Mac seeks Kent Berrigan's help to defend his ranch against mining companies that spoil pristine streams, while rising conflicts lead up to the Nez Perce War.


Heirloom China is a murder mystery that pits Patrick Colter's obsession against unknown forces in the silver mining town of Butte, Montana Territory, 1877 - 1879. Patrick risks all for a chance to solve a cold case in revenge of his role model and mentor, a man who inspired him to attend Harvard and bring law and justice to the Territory. His wife, Shelley, becomes a rising star in the movement for women's equality and the vote, which threatens Patrick's sense of a man's place and position. Heirloom China is the third novel in the trilogy and traces the early women's suffrage movement from East to West, 1877 - 1879, a sliver of time prior to the rise of copper kings of Butte.

More about Jan Elpel

Jan Elpel, Psy.D, grew up near the Headwaters of the Missouri River. That sense of history frames the stories she creates set in the mid-nineteenth century. Her family's (Jewett's) lifestyle among descendants of early immigrants in the 1940s was little different than that of the settlers in Berrigan's Ride eighty years earlier. She wrote the 1958 John Colter pageant for the original Colter's Run in Three Forks, Montana. Her family later moved to historic gold camps of Virginia City and Pony. Elpel's series of historical novels celebrate the wild horses of Madison and Jefferson counties, and the Jewett's herd of horses that thundered off the dry hills to water at the handpump in front of the Parker Homestead. She rode the Nez Perce Trail in Idaho and Navajo Reservation in Monument Valley, Arizona with horse clubs.  Elpel’s background in psychology forms the underlying themes of her narratives.

Event Guidelines

This event is free and open to the public. Most of our events are held upstairs, but we do not have an elevator. Please contact us with any accessibility concerns. To join the signing line and have books signed by the author at this event, please consider purchasing your copy of Jan Elpel's books from Country Bookshelf, either in-store, over the phone, or online. By purchasing your book from Country Bookshelf, you are not only supporting a locally owned, independent business, but you are also showing publishers that they should continue sending authors to Country Bookshelf. The author's previous titles will be available for purchase at the event as supplies last.

Video recording, audio recording, and/or live-streaming during author appearances and signings is not possible without prior written permission from the publisher and Country Bookshelf.

Can't make it to the event, but still want to purchase an autographed or personalized book? Place your order below, enter "signed copy" plus any personalization details in the comments section of your order, and we'll have the author sign your books and ship them to you after the event!


Berrigan's Ride Cover Image
By Jan L. Elpel, Jan L. Elpel (Artist)
ISBN: 9781892784377
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hops Press, LLC - September 2016

Healers of Big Butte Cover Image
ISBN: 9781892784391
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hops Press, LLC - July 15th, 2017

Heirloom China Cover Image
By Jan Elpel, Jan Elpel (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781892784452
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Silver Sage Studio & Press, LLC - January 2019

Event address: 
Country Bookshelf
28 West Main Street
Bozeman, MT 59715