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September 14, 2021
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A prized and historic ranch in Montana that was listed this spring for upward of $136 million closed in the past week for close to its asking price—a record sum for the state. The 80,000-acre parcel sold to a “private family” that plans to continue ranching.

Sale of Ranch Asking $136.25 Million Breaks Montana Record, Agents Say



Renowned for its bull elk hunting and trout fishing and featured in the 1992 movie “A River Runs Through It,” Climbing Arrow Ranch spans roughly 80,000 acres—a footprint that’s twice the size of the New York City borough of Brooklyn—spread across four counties: Gallatin, Broadwater, Madison, and Meagher.

Though the exact transaction price is unknown—Montana is a non-disclosure state, meaning final sales prices are not public record—it’s the most expensive ranch sold in the history of the state, according to the real estate agents involved.


The record was previously held by the 2012 sale of the 124,000-acre Broken O Ranch, near Augusta, which was listed for $132.5 million. [Also listed and sold by Mike Swan.]

Climbing Arrow Ranch is “magnificent,” Mike Swan, owner and managing broker of Swan Land Company, which handled the listing, told Mansion Global.

The property’s charms lay in its size, scale, history, and legacy, he said, as well as the “incredible recreation and agricultural amenities it offers.” That includes a herd of nearly 2,000 Black Angus cattle and “miles of private fishing waters that probably less than 100 people have ever seen.”

The ranch is home to an owner’s residence, guest houses, and employee accommodations, as well as barns, corrals, workshops, mechanic shops, sheds, and calving facilities. It’s also within 45 minutes of downtown Bozeman, one the fastest-growing mountain towns in the West.

“There are a lot of magnificent ranches in our state,” Mr. Swan said. “But to be so close to the major metropolitan area is pretty unique.”



Until now, the ranch had been in the same family for 62 years, after being purchased in 1959 by the late Buck and Marcia Anderson—the grandson of Frank B. Anderson, president of the Bank of California—and was expanded over the decades.




One of the family’s top priorities was to hand over the reins to “someone who would enjoy it as a family ranch as they have, that would maintain an agriculture component,” Mr. Swan said.

The Andersons knew it would change, he said, but they didn’t want “the integrity of the landscape or the ranch to be compromised.”

Its new owner is a domestic buyer who already owns a ranch in the state and intends to honor the Andersons’ wishes.

“When they got to the ranch, and particularly when they stood on the trestle which goes over the Sixteen Mile Creek, they just absolutely fell in love with it,” said Bryce Connery of Premier Land Company, who represented the buyer.



Both agents declined to identify the buyers, who were described as a “private family.”

The trestle that crosses the creek, a tributary of the Missouri River, is a railway remnant from the time when the Milwaukee Road ran through a portion of the property, from 1906 to 1980.

“They’ll use it with family and friends and intend to keep ranching and keep using it in its traditional sense,” according to Mr. Connery.

“They’re just humbled by the opportunity to expand on the Andersons’ legacy. They’re beyond excited,” he said. “They’ll be excellent stewards of the land.”