Guide to the Peter Bowen Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Bowen, Peter, 1945-
Title: Peter Bowen papers
Dates: 1990-2006 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 5.8 linear feet
Collection Number: Mss 646
Summary: The papers of author Peter Bowen consist mainly of manuscripts for his published and unpublished works, including manuscripts for novels in the Gabriel Du Pré series and for novels in the Yellowstone Kelly series. Also included are articles, storyboards, notes, drafts of movie scripts, and correspondence.
Repository: University of Montana, Mansfield Library, Archives and Special Collections
Contact Information: Archives and Special Collections
Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library
University of Montana
32 Campus Dr. #9936
Missoula, MT
Telephone: 406-243-2053
Fax: 406-243-4067
Languages: Materials in this collection are in English. 

Biographical Note

Peter Bowen is the author of two series of novels set in the American west. One centers around Luther Sage “Yellowstone” Kelly, a fictionalized rendering of a historical figure of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century. The other centers around a detective named Gabriel Du Pré, a Canadian Metis living in Toussaint, Montana.

Bowen was born in 1945 and spent at least part of his childhood in the Rocky Mountains, moving from Denver, Colorado, to Bozeman, Montana, at the age of 10. Bowen went on to study ceramics at the University of Michigan and by 1979 he had moved back to the Rocky Mountain region living in Idaho and Montana.

In 1987, Bowen published his first novel, Yellowstone Kelly: Gentleman and Scout. Yellowstone Kelly, like many of the other books in the series, is a picaresque novel chronicling the protagonist’s reluctant involvement in historical events as geographically disparate as Colonel Nelson Miles’ campaign against the Nez Percé and the Boer War. In his essay about the Yellowstone Kelly series in All Our Stories Are Here: Critical Perspectives on Montana Literature, Gregory Morris writes “beneath that ludic, playful history lies a more subversive ideological critique of the American mythos and of the American identity.” As of 2010, Bowen has published three other titles featuring Yellowstone Kelly including Kelly Blue, Imperial Kelly, and Kelly and the Three-toed Horse.

In addition to the Yellowstone Kelly novels, Bowen has published 13 novels featuring Gabriel Du Pré. The first of these novels was Coyote Wind. The Gabriel Du Pré novels often pit the townspeople of Touissant attempting to protect their community from outsiders of various ilk. The Gabriel Du Pré novels have drawn critical praise from The New York Times Book Review and Washington Post Book World, amongst other publications.

In the early nineties, Bowen published a number of articles in Forbes FYI under the pseudonym Coyote Jack. As of 2010, Bowen resides in Livingston, Montana.

Content Description

The Peter Bowen Papers consist mostly of manuscripts of published and unpublished works by Bowen. Manuscripts for Stewball and an unpublished novel called Blood Moon are interfiled with correspondence with the publisher. The published manuscripts include works in the Yellowstone Kelly series and the Gabriel Du Pré series. In some cases, differences between the drafts and the published work reflect significant revision to plot and the ordering of events. Amongst the Kelly manuscripts is a draft of a novel titled Kelly, 1876 that may be a precursor to Kelly Blue. The collection also contains drafts and clippings of articles written for Forbes FYI under the pseudonym Coyote Jack. Many of the book length works contain storyboards that outline the action of the corresponding novel chapter-by-chapter. While some storyboards were created on large pieces of paper, others were written on adhesive-backed notepads (Post-its). Lastly, the collection contains background materials for Kelly and the Three-Toed Horse. All works are listed in alphabetical order according to either the published title or the title of the most recent draft.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of Archives and Special Collections, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, and The University of Montana-Missoula.

Restrictions on Use :  

Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. and any other applicable statutes. Copyright not transferred to The University of Montana, with the exception of materials acquired in accession 2003-66. 2003-66 includes drafts of Wolftrap, The Envelope, and The Gig.

Preferred Citation :  

[Name of document or photograph number], Peter Bowen Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana-Missoula.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

This collection guide is arranged in alphabetical order according to the title of the work or a description of the materials. Physically, materials acquired before 2010 are interfiled in an alphabetic order. Materials acquired in 2010 and later are not interfiled.

Acquisition Information :  

Materials were acquired by Linda Slakey of Amherst, Massachusetts between December 31, 2002 and December 31, 2014.

Future Additions :  

Periodic additions to the collection are expected.

Processing Note :  

The original accessions were rearranged by the archivist according to project (work). The accession number associated with each file is written on the upper-left hand corner of the front flap of each folder.

Appraisal Notes :  

Formal appraisals were conducted on accessions 2006-47, 2009-19, 2010-35, 2011-045, 2013-44, 2014-44, and 2015-34.

Bibliography :  

    Morris, Gregory L. "'I Have Had Some Statisfactory Times': The Yellowstone Kelly Novels of Peter Bowen." In All Our Stories Are Here: Critical Perspectives on Montana Literature, edited by Brady Harrison, 180-196. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

    "Peter Bowen." Biography, Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. (GALE|H1000156863).

Detailed Description of the Collection

1/1 Ash Child undated
8/6 Bad Root storyboard undated
1/2-3 Badlands
Draft is titled Malpais
1/4-5 Blood Moon 2002
OS 9/9 Blood Moon storyboard 2002
1/6-7 Blood Moon photocopy and correspondence 2002
1/8 Blood Moon treatment and correspondence 2002
2/1-2 Blood Moon first person draft undated
2/3 The Buffalo Star 1990
12/1-3 The Buffalo Star undated
8/7 The Buffalo Star draft and storyboard 2002
10/1-2 The Buffalo Star draft and storyboard (continued) 2002
12/4 Coyote Jack and Other Articles
Includes letter to Christopher Buckley from President George Bush.
2/4-7 Cruzatte and Maria undated
12/5 Ficard 2002
3/1-2 Ficard undated
OS 9/10 Ficard storyboard undated
10/3-4 Fooler draft and storyboard undated
OS 9/1 Forbes FYI columns 1991-1992
3/3-6 The Gig undated
12/6-7 The Goat Lady 1996
13/1-2 The Goat Lady undated
3/7 The Gold Star Line undated
4/1-2 Kelly, 1876
Note in first folder indicates manuscript may be published. Some correlation with novel titled Kelly Blue.
4/3 Kelly and the Clowns notes and background materials undated
4/4-5 Kelly and the 3 Toed Horse undated
13/3 Kelly and the 3 Toed Horse Notes undated
4/6 Kelly and the 3 Toed Horse background materials undated
4/7 Kelly scripts undated
4/8-9 Long Son proofs 1999
4/10 Long Son undated
5/1 Long Son (continued) undated
5/2-3 Nails 2005
OS 9/8 Nails storyboard 2005
5/4-5 Orion's Eyes undated
13/4 Publications List 2006
13/5 Raven undated
10/5 Raven draft and storyboard undated
5/6-7 Rumors of the Fall undated
13/6 Rumors of the Fall undated
13/7 Rumors of the Fall undated
OS 9/5 Rumors of the Fall storyboard undated
13/8 Shimmer Sample Chapter and Character List undated
6/1-2 Stewball draft and correspondence 2004
OS 9/7 Stewball storyboard 2004
6/3-4 The Stick Game proofs 2000
6/5-6 The Stick Game undated
10/6-7 Stone Rider 1995
13/9 Talons First Draft Fragment 2006
13/10 Talon Storyboard and Fragment undated
13/11 The Tumbler
Draft titled Saltimboque
6/7 The Tumbler undated
OS 9/6 The Tumbler storyboard undated
7/1-2 Water Rose
Draft titled The Snow Lady.
OS 9/4 Water Rose storyboard 2001
7/3-4 Water Rose
Draft titled The Snow Lady.
Summer 2001
OS 9/3 Water Rose storyboard Summer 2001
7/5 Water Rose
Draft titled The Snow Lady.
circa 2001
7/6-7 Water Rose 2004
OS 9/2 Water Rose storyboard 2004
8/1 Water Rose
Draft titled Ink Rose.
OS 9/11 Water Rose storyboard undated
8/2-3 Water Rose
Draft titled The Envelope.
8/4-5 Wolftrap undated
11 Water Rose storyboard and manuscript undated


This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Personal Names :
  • Bowen, Peter, 1945- --Archives
  • Subject Terms :
  • Du Pré, Gabriel (Fictitious character)
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Manuscripts for publication
    • Western stories
    • Occupations :
    • Novelists, American--Montana
    • Titles within the Collection :
    • Ash Child
    • Badlands
    • Cruzatte and Maria
    • Kelly and the Three-Toed Horse
    • Long Son
    • Nails
    • Stewball
    • The Stick Game
    • The Tumbler
    • The Water Rose

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