On the grassland mountains of Montana, immersed deep in the Western landscape, lies the keys to a life. The Old West history and tradition suffusing the handsome expanses in Lewistown, Montana – a certain kind of living keeps people closer to the land.
True freedom requires that – a closeness to something bigger, to an idea that stretches your soul and makes you feel part of a way of life. It transcends everyday complexities, tapping into the touchstones of culture and mystique.
Mort and Donna Fleischer found just that kind of freedom. When on his home ranch in Montana, Mort likes to say he “borrows freedom.” The truth is, he built it. He earned his space in the intense pressure cooker of Wall Street, assembling financial empires for almost four decades. But that world comes at a cost; by the time you realize you’re burning out, it might be too late to rehabilitate your life.
Mort and Donna built their freedom by embracing a way of life defined by authenticity and loyalty, forthrightness and honest work. He found a way to extend his life and amplify his enjoyment of it.
Now he’s offering that to you. It’s not the chance of a lifetime.
It’s the chance for a lifetime.
A winding lane flanked by miles of lush, green grass. This is the West the way it was, the West of cowboys and cattle drives, beautiful wildflowers and abundant wildlife. Here, people are still riding for the brand and the mountains still hold untamed promises. On this landscape, with its epic sweep and rich history, human impact still feels scant and natural rhythms set the pace. This is vastness as a way of life, the land as a means of defining your place on earth.
15 minutes down the road is Lewistown, a town that might have stepped out of a 1950’s Western set, a place where cowboys still wear chaps and spurs in the saloon. It has an airport for private aviation, and all the groceries and dry goods you need so you can be self-sufficient and surrounded by the grandeur that remains only in pockets of this country – pockets like Horsethief Basin Ranch.
Horsethief Basin is a working cattle ranch. This are, with it’s fertile soil and rolling tablelands and forested benches, is as productive a piece of land as you’ll find in the West. No prickly pear cactus, no shrubby sage to crowd out, nothing but hills and swales covered in nutritious grass. They hay base in Horsethief Basin is rich and lush. The forests supply timber.
Horsethief Basin Ranch is 7,000± contiguous acres of grasslands and timberlands, easily capable of supporting 500 cow-calf pairs, with a tried and trusted manager in place to handle the entire operation. The ranch could also work as summer pasture for yearlings, which require less manpower and time. The ranch has 23 miles of fence, and a spring has been developed to create reliable water sources without damaging the riparian zones.
No ranch is complete without a home. Built in the vernacular of the region, the main house at Horsethief Basin is 1880’s on the outside, but fully fitted with 2020 comfort and luxury on the inside. At 8,000 square-feet, the custom log house is a marvelous example of how to live in the Old West today.
An expansive kitchen provides room for expert flair in meal creation. Its upscale appliances, design efficiency and sense of space make food preparation a pleasure.
The great room, with its vaulted ceilings and stone fireplace, brings a sense of space indoors, adding an aura of history and tradition.
Two plush guest houses accommodate visitors in splendid comfort. Sculptures and art place human touch-points amid the natural majesty of Horsethief Basin Ranch.
Around the ranch, you’ll find all the outbuildings, equipment, and farm machinery it takes to operate a successful cattle ranch-and the operations manager to do it for you.
In Montana, the main attraction is the world around you. The mountain ranges surrounding the ranch—the Judiths and Snowies and Moccasins—provide shelter for wildlife.
Active wildlife management on the ranch ensures that healthy populations of elk, deer, antelope and wild turkey thrive here.
Warblers and other songbirds orchestrate a dawn chorus behind the house every morning.
Nearby, Big Spring Creek, one of Montana’s premier trout streams, flows toward Lewistown.
- Pristine ranch land 10± miles east of Lewistown, Montana
- Equally balanced hay meadows, rolling grasslands and high country timberlands
- Abundant water supports healthy elk, deer, antelope, turkey, grouse and pheasant populations
- Luxury 8,000 sq ft owner’s residence with two matching guest cabins, each with two suites and full kitchen
- Manager’s home and outbuildings
- 6-stall horse barn with outdoor riding arena and steel working corrals
- Can support 400± animal units plus replacements
- All water & mineral rights owned by seller convey
- Big Spring Creek nearby; One of Montana’s premier trout streams
- Manager’s Residence: 4,500± SF, 5 beds, 3 baths, and a large kitchen
*Horsethief Basin Ranch is also offered as part of a pair with MorDo Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona.
LOCATION & ACCESS
Perfectly positioned in the center of Montana, Lewistown is a family friendly community that combines the ambiance of Montana’s natural beauty with the authenticity of our rural western lifestyle. Lewistown has a true four-season climate, with an abundance of events, activities and recreation to keep you busy no matter what the weather. The surrounding farm and ranch lands provide a rich base for a solid agricultural economy. A strong hub of construction and manufacturing businesses provide diverse opportunities for employment. A growing healthcare industry is stimulating a demand for jobs in the local medical markets. With spring-fed Big Spring Creek quietly meandering through town and five island mountain ranges encircling the community, a multitude of recreational opportunities are readily available. Easy access to public lands and plentiful rivers, lakes and streams ensure world- class hunting, year-round fishing, and plenty of choices for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and more. Lewistown is an agricultural community located at the geographic center of Montana in the vast Judith Basin. The town features many well-preserved historic businesses and homes. Although mostly rolling prairie, farms and ranches, the Lewistown area features five beautiful mountain ranges, the Snowies, the Judiths, the Moccasins, the Belts, and the Highwoods from which grand 100-mile vistas stretch out below. Picturesque landscapes, mountain terrain, and small quiet towns typify the area.
The 8,000± SF handcrafted log home exudes an aura of history and tradition. 1880’s on the outside and 2020 on the inside. Expansive entertaining and hosting capability; the vaulted great room with the massive, locally quarried fireplace opens to the chef’s kitchen, dining area, and large outdoor living spaces. Equally charming are it’s private living areas. Master bedroom wing with everything you need to relax after a long day outdoors in the Montana air. Two large guest suites with their remarkable private baths, kitchenettes and reading nooks allow for graceful hosting of family and friends. A business office, storage, collection vault, laundry and everything else you need, round out this beautiful home.
water & mineral rights
Water is the most desirable of all Montana’s resources. Horsethief Basin Ranch has an abundance of water and has excellent water development. There are several live creeks on the ranch and cattle and wildlife also receive water via ponds, developed spring tanks, and pipelines. Horsethief Basin Ranch has fully adjudicated water rights that also convey.
Horsethief Basin Ranch encompasses some of the strongest grass country Montana has to offer. The Ranch can conservatively support 400± cow/calf pairs plus replacement heifers. Additional yearlings can be run on a year to year basis depending on rainfall and grazing management. The Ranch has 500± tillable acres currently all in alfalfa and alfalfa/ grass hay mix. 400± of the tillable acres has been freshly renovated and are in peak production years. The Little Snowy Mountains on average get stronger and more consistent rainfall than surrounding lower elevations, thus providing needed moisture for hay and grazing pasture production.
In the past, Horsethief Basin has been run as a commercial cow/calf operation. Cattle are fed hay throughout the winter months and turn onto Summer pasture after branding in late Spring. The cattle go on a grazing rotation until Fall, when the calves are weaned and shipped. You won’t find sage brush or prickly pair cactus at Horsethief Basin Ranch, and the current owner has been diligent on weed management. The Ranch has a very efficient and well designed steel pipe corral system. All interior and perimeter wire fences are in good condition and consistently maintained.
FLY FISHING/CENTRAL MONTANA FLY FISHING DISTRICT
Big Spring Creek is a stream of extraordinary beauty and is a superb fishery. It is a great nymph and dry fly stream, but wet flies also work well. Open to year round fishing, it is fishable when many other streams are blown out from runoff. A wade and walk stream, Big Spring Creek is not a float and fish stream. It is easily wadable, but chest waders are recommended. If you wade wet, shorts are not recommended due to brush, thorns and sun reflection. Originating seven miles southeast of Lewistown where it bubbles out of the ground near the state trout hatchery, Big Spring Creek runs almost twenty-six miles to where it joins the Judith River. With nine state fish and game public access sites within ten miles of town, Lewistown is one of the few towns of some size (population approximately 6,500) that you can often catch fish within the city limits.
ANTELOPE/REGION 4, DISTRICT 420
Lewistown sits in the center of antelope country. All of the pronghorn hunting is restricted to permit only, but several of the surrounding areas have liberal quotas so interested hunters have a reasonable chance of drawing a tag. Central Montana antelope hunting gets you out on the wide open plains of the west during one of the prettiest times of year. This is an excellent place to attempt the challenge of taking a pronghorn with a bow. For the hunter looking for the ultimate challenge, you can spot-and- stock. Either way, the antelope population is rebounding in our area, access is readily available via public lands (mostly BLM), and the challenge awaits!
ELK & DEER/REGION 4, DISTRICT 411
Many opportunities exist in Central Montana for hunting elk and hunters are sure to find a deer that meets their expectations. Archery opens in early September and continues until mid- October. There is a week hiatus of closed season before the rifle season opens in later October. Crossbows are not allowed during archery season, but one can hunt elk during rifle season with archery equipment, including crossbows. Most all of the elk hunting is by permit only. Because elk herd numbers are above or at management plan objectives, the Montana FWP has instituted a number of special hunts to try and control the population. Archery Only Elk, 900-20 Region has an 82% Draw General Season Elk, 411-20 Region has a 19% Draw Drawing odds greatly increased for landowners via the Landowner Preference with Montana FWP.
The upland bird hunting opportunities in central Montana are abundant, yet varied. Our region has excellent habitat for 2 species of mountain grouse (ruffed and blue), 2 species of prairie grouse (sharptails and sage), Hungarian partridge and pheasants.