Down from the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear

by Bryce Andrews

The story of a grizzly bear named Millie: her life, death, and cubs, and what they reveal about the changing character of the American West

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9781328972453
  • ISBN-10: 1328972453
  • Pages: 288
  • Publication Date: 04/16/2019
  • Carton Quantity: 12

About the book

"Andrews’ wonderful Downfrom the Mountain is deeply informed by personal experience and made all the stronger by his compassion and measured thoughts...Welcome and impressive work.” —Barry Lopez 


The story of a grizzly bear named Millie: her life, death, and cubs, and what they reveal about the changing character of the American West 


The grizzly is one of North America’s few remaining large predators. Their range is diminished, but they’re spreading across the West again. Descending into valleys where once they were king, bears find the landscape they’d known for eons utterly changed by the new most dominant animal: humans. As the grizzlies approach, the people of the region are wary, at best, of their return. 


In searing detail, award-winning writer, Montana rancher, and conservationist Bryce Andrews tells us about one such grizzly. Millie is a typical mother: strong, cunning, fiercely protective of her cubs. But raising those cubs—a challenging task in the best of times—becomes ever harder as the mountains change, the climate warms and people crowd the valleys. There are obvious dangers, like poachers, and subtle ones as well, like the corn field that draws her out of the foothills and sets her on a path toward trouble and ruin. 


That trouble is where Bryce’s story intersects with Millie’s. It is the heart of Down from the Mountain, a singular drama evoking a much larger one: an entangled, bloody collision between two species in the modern-day West, where the shrinking wilds force man and bear into ever closer proximity.

About the author
Bryce Andrews

BRYCE ANDREWS's debut, Badluck Way, was the 2014 winner of the Barnes & Nobel Discover Great New Writers Award, the 2014 Reading the West Book Award for nonfiction, the 2014 High Plains Book Award for both nonfiction and debut book, and a finalist for the 2014 Washington State Book Award. Born in 1983 and raised in Seattle, Washington, Bryce Andrews migrated east toward the American West. Having spent a decade in the high valleys of Montana, he remains fascinated by the complex and reciprocal relationship between humans, wild animals and place.


Praise for Down from the Mountain 


“Bryce Andrews’ wonderful Downfrom the Mountain is deeply informed by personal experience and made all the stronger by his compassion and measured thoughts. He outlines clearly the core of a major problem in the rural American West—the disagreement between large predatory animals and invasive modern settlers—without disrespect and without sentimentality. His book is welcome and impressive work.” 

Barry Lopez 


“In some of the clearest prose the state of Montana has produced, this high-octane story captures the marvel that is a grizzly giving birth in the high wild, follows her down into the human interface, and floods us with the heightened awareness and humbling unease we feel in the presence of Ursus arctos. When the hubris of man-unkind then threatens his protagonists, Andrews lays his life on the line in a sustained attempt to protect them, and the suspense of the telling comes to rival a great crime thriller. Rife with lyrical precision, first-hand know-how, ursine charisma, and a narrative jujitsu flip that places all empathy with his bears, Down from the Mountain is a one-of-a-kind triumph even here in the home of Doug Peacock and Douglas Chadwick.” 

David James Duncan, author of The River Why and The Brothers K 


“The fluidity of Andrews’ imagination and the reality of his time on the ground with people and bears make this book a piece of true history. He is not a journalist, but a participant with skin in the game, who happens to be an excellent writer. Putting up fence along the porous line between humans and big, foraging bears, Andrews is the one you'd want telling this story.” 

Craig Childs, author of The Animal Dialogues and Atlas of a Lost World 


“In Down from the Mountain, Bryce Andrews walks the harrowing line between wilderness and civilization—as in literally walks it, recounting his own efforts to keep a space in the world for the untamed creatures that remind us who we are in the first place. Writing with a keen empathy for both the great grizzlies of Montana’s Mission Mountains, and the farmers and wildlife officers coping in the valley below, this book is by turns heartbreaking and hopeful, even while it zings along with the high-stakes pace of a thriller. It’s as true as it gets.” 

Malcolm Brooks, author of Painted Horses 


“Returning home from ten days in the backcountry, I devoured this fabulous and feral book in a single sitting and found myself utterly immersed in the ‘unforgiving arcadia’ that is our vanishing West.  ‘Bears are made of the same dust as we,’ John Muir reminds us, and this marvelous narrative, even in passages devoid of humans—perhaps especially in those passages—draws us into communion with these uncompromisingly powerful wild creatures, to the heartbreaking consequences of our inevitable encounters with them, and to one man's profound compassion for them. For two decades as a hunter, angler and hiker I’ve traversed the very country described herein. I have never seen it with such sustained clarity as through the vital lens of Bryce Andrews’ luminous prose.” 

Chris Dombrowski, author of Body of Water