60,069± ACRES

The Schwenke Ranch is situated right in the heart of cowboy country—full of big pastures, extensive wildlife, and great grass. The Missouri River Breaks offer captivating landscapes steeped in history while the functional and detailed ranch operations have proven to be successful over the years.
 Bill Boyce

Schwenke Ranch


Schwenke Ranch is a classic Montana grass ranch in the heart of some of the most remote and unspoiled areas of the Rocky Mountain West. This is where the Little Rocky Mountains meet the Missouri Breaks and fall down to the wide and meandering Missouri River. This place is still wild, with impressive populations of Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, and numerous other species of big game, predators, and upland birds. This ranch will connect you with the unspoiled scenery and wide open vistas that signify the West.

60,069± total acres

  • 2,597± deeded acres
  • 55,872± Bureau of Land Management (BLM) leased acres
  • 1,280± State of MT leased acres

Deeded acreage breakdown:

  • 58± flood irrigated acres
  • 1,200± acres of improved grass
  • 1,339± acres of native grazing
  • Situated in strong grass-producing country with an impressive carrying capacity of 562± cows or 1,280± yearlings
  • An additional 100 AUM private lease is also available post closing
  • Complete with a full set of outbuildings including a 2,200± sq ft main home, two pole barns, a new calving shed, outdoor roping arena, and impressive pipe corrals
  • Trophy quality elk and mule deer opportunities
  • Highly dependable water sources even through dry years with multiple reservoirs plus 18 stock tanks supplied by a developed spring
  • 134 corporate shares of the Square Butte Grazing Association will transfer to the buyer at closing that grant the user 6 AUMs per share, equalling 804 AUMs


Central Montana in many ways is a throwback to the Wild West with its vast landscapes and endless history.

The Schwenke Ranch is located in the notorious Missouri River Breaks, just 18 miles southwest of the town of Zortman, with convenient access to a grocery store, local bar and restaurant, gas station, and a post office.

Easily accessible off of Highway 191, the Schwenke Ranch headquarters sit less than 2 miles off of Highway 66 which is a paved road.


“The Breaks”, as it’s referred to by locals, is steeped in history. Traversed by Lewis and Clark in the early 1800s as they explored the Missouri River, the area eventually became an important inland port for trading during the Western expansion. One of the most infamous residents was Wild Bunch member Kid Curry, an outlaw and bank robber who was known to use this area as his hideout.

Scenic and wild, The Breaks was designated as a national monument in 2001, along 149 miles of the Upper Missouri River. The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument includes over 375,000 acres of geologic formations, wildlife areas, wilderness areas and points of historic significance. Ripe with wildlife including elk, mule deer and a thriving bighorn sheep population, the area is popular with hunters and wildlife enthusiasts alike. Nearby Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge is famous for its elk harvest and for its namesake – painter and cowboy Charles M. Russell.

The discovery of a rich vein of gold in 1884 brought miners to the Little Rocky Mountains, establishing the town of Zortman. A prosperous mining town for many years, a fire in 1936 destroyed most of the area’s mining operations but visitors can still find historic log cabins and miners’ shacks around town and try their hand at panning for gold. Today this small community, of just 60 year-round residents, is better known for its access to the Little Rocky Mountains for endless camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting opportunities.


191 miles: Great Falls, MT (GTF) Great Falls International Airport
254 miles: Bozeman, MT (BZN / KBZN) Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport
155 miles: Billings, MT (BIL / KBIL) Billings-Logan International Airport
84 miles from the ranch, Lewistown Municipal Airport (LWT) can accommodate a wide variety of private aircrafts. With three runways, the longest at 6,100 ft., this full service FBO airport is ideal for regional jet series sized aircrafts.


  • 2,200± sq ft main home with 3 bed 1.5 bath built in 1971 complete with a basement and attached garage
  • 40 ft x 60 ft shop built in 1989
  • 50 ft x 70 ft barn built in 1979
  • A new 50 ft x 20 ft calving shed finished in 2018
  • An outdoor team roping arena that is 150 ft x 300 ft


The ranch has been in the Schwenke family since the 1970s, and the property has been meticulously maintained with the utmost spirit of land stewardship in mind. Currently, the ranch is run as a cow/calf operation which can support 562 pairs. Calving season in spring during April is typically an easy season due to the mild winters that Central Montana is known for. Summer season is busy with branding calves and rotating cattle to their appropriate summer pastures throughout the 62,000± acres. There are 18 stock tanks that are fed by a live spring that acts as a major water line plus there are 23 reservoirs throughout the property. These two factors combined make sure that all livestock are watered even in the driest of years. Fencelines throughout the property have been well kept and are in good condition plus the uniqueness of the landscape also provides natural boundary lines with the deep valleys and impressive ridge lines.

Easily accessed from Power Plant Ferry Road, which is a maintained county gravel road and just 2 miles from Highway 66, the ranch headquarters is home to the majority of improvements. There you will find the 2,200± sq ft main home which contains 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms with an attached 2 car garage which is ideal for vehicle and general storage. Situated just behind the home is a deep reservoir filled by Cyprian Creek which a new owner could stock as a private fishing area. Also found at the ranch headquarters are two pole barns that are 50 ft x 70 ft and 40 ft x 60 ft that are used for equipment storage and a mechanic shop. The 50 ft x 20 ft newly built calving barn is also situated at the headquarters just by the house, which makes calving simple and easy due to the easy access and reliability of the structure. For the cattle working corrals, a continuous pipe fence makes working cattle simple. To complete the improvements is a 150 ft x 300 ft outdoor arena which has been a great source of recreation in the summer months.


Bureau of Land Management 55,872± acres
This 10 year lease program is a shared allotment with 4 total permittees. In 2022 the cost per AUM was a minimal $1.31.
state of montana 1,280± acres
134 corporate shares of the Square Butte Grazing Association will transfer that grant the user 6 AUMs per share, equaling 804 AUMs.
An additional 100 AUM private lease is also available post closing.
All water rights owned by the Seller will convey to the Buyer at closing and all required filings with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) will transfer the current water rights as they exist – with no warranty of future viability. Water rights in the State of Montana are subject to re-adjudication by the DNRC and may be determined by the court to be modified in validity, amount, priority, date, and place of use. All mineral rights owned by the Seller for the subject property will convey to the Buyer at closing.


The Missouri River Breaks area is most notable for the healthy populations of elk, mule deer and big horn sheep. Situated in hunting district 621, the Schwenke Ranch provides a multitude of top quality hunting experiences. There are 8 landowner preference tags that are drawn for this area, and previously there were only 6 applicants, which means everyone that applied drew a tag.
Famous for blue-ribbon trout, the Missouri River boast thousands of fish per mile and extends for 149 miles across Montana. While the biggest hatches are nearer to Holter Dam around Great Falls, the best trout fishing near Zortman is on the Lower Missouri River on a stretch just below Fort Peck Dam. Anglers can find large rainbow trout as well as northern pike and walleye.
With over 375,000 acres of public land, there is no shortage of places to hike in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument area. Hikers can also venture to the Little Rockies and explore trails starting at Camp Creek Recreation Area or hike up Old Scraggy to get views of the historic gold mines and mills that can still be found around Zortman.


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