Bangtail Press was founded in the late 1980s, its inaugural title, Da Bull, a highly-regarded memoir by surf legend Greg Noll. From this auspicious beginning, the imprint continued on as the book publishing arm of the magazine Big Sky Journal. And now, almost fifteen years later, Bangtail Press has been reinvigorated once again. Independently owned and operated, we take our inspiration from the striking geography and the artful lyricism of the American West. Fiction, poetry, biography, memoir, and anthology, we are devoted to publishing those books that expand our sense of who we are, that simultaneously shed light on us as individuals as well as offer insight into this extraordinary place that we call home.

About Our Name
Bangtail Press was ostensibly named after the Bangtail Mountains, a low range of hills northeast of Bozeman Montana. Scenic and accessible, the Bangtails are a well known local destination for hunters, hikers, cross country skiers, and campers. It was the perfect name for a small, up-and-coming press. As it turns out, however, “bangtail” has a number of other potential meanings as well.

In the mid-1800s, for instance, “bangtail” referred to the tail of a horse that had been trimmed flat, horizontally across. It was a way of distinguishing a given horse from other members of a herd. Related to this, perhaps, “bangtail” was early cowboy slang for a wild or unruly horse. By the early twentieth century, bangtail generically referred to a racehorse.

In a nice, fortuitous nod to our roots in magazine publishing, we’ve also been told that those envelopes with perforated flaps used in direct mail solicitations are called “bangtails.”

Less auspiciously perhaps, “bangtail” was apparently used in Victorian England as a street reference to prostitutes.

In any case, at the intersection of mountain ranges, cowboy slang, racehorses, magazine publishing, and Victorian streetwalkers…Bangtail Press.