Stephen Ambrose Memorial Lecture Series


author of Beyond the Rio Gila
with journalist Clay Scott

After a one-year hiatus, the annual Stephen Ambrose Memorial Lecture returned, featuring Helena author Scott G. Hibbard in conversation with journalist Clay Scott on Thursday, December 16, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom Webinars.


Hibbard discussed the inspiration for and process of writing his first historical novel, Beyond the Rio Gila, published in 2021 by Five Star Publishing, Waterville, ME. 


The book follows the U.S. Army and a Mormon Battalion—with families in tow—on an 1840s perilous trek across the American Southwest. Part adventure, part coming-of-age, part military history, this literary historical novel is a rousing human story with a cast of engaging characters. An alcoholic Eastern intellectual, a young man running to and from love, pregnant Mormon women fleeing religious persecution, stoic Army officers—each with distinctive stories and voices—share humor, hardship, and intrepid perseverance.

About the novel, Neil McMahon, author of Lone Creek and Dead Silver, writes, “Fine writing and a gripping story…with hardship and danger you can feel in your teeth. A deeper level touches the courage and vulnerability of the women… In the tradition of greats like A. B. Guthrie and James Welch, by an author born and raised a Montana rancher.”

Scott Hibbard is a fourth generation Montanan where his family has owned and operated a cattle and sheep ranch since 1907. Scott worked on the family ranch for a number of years, and while continuing his involvement with the ranch he provided management and consulting services to other ranches and ranch-related organizations.

For more about Scott G. Hibbard and Beyond the Rio Gila, visit


Scott G. Hibbard