Seeley Lake’s third annual celebration of its most famous resident writer will feature a celebrity appearance and a final-day stop in Missoula.

Actor Tom Skerritt and members of the creative team from Robert Redford’s far-rippling film, “A River Runs Through It” will highlight the three-day In the Footsteps of Norman Maclean Festival that starts Friday, Sept. 8.

The Oscar-award winning movie based on Maclean’s 1976 novella turns 25 this year, and the festival is set to examine and fete it from many angles.

Skerritt played Rev. John Maclean, father to Norman (Craig Sheffer) and Paul Maclean (Brad Pitt.) He’ll be at the Wilma Theater in Missoula on Sunday, Sept. 10, for a 1 p.m. program.

Skerritt, 83, has film credits that date back to the 1962 film “War Hunt,” which was also Redford's first credited film. Skerritt will share how “A River Runs Through It” affected his life and career. On the same program, Jean Maclean Snyder will recount how Redford courted her father to win the film rights for his novella and how she advised Redford and screenwriter Richard Friedenberg.

Friedenberg was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay, and he’ll be in Missoula to tell how he translated Maclean’s mesmerizing story to the big screen. Also on the program will be producer Patrick Markey and Norman Maclean’s grandsons, Noah and Jacob Snyder, who played roles in the film’s production.

The movie itself will be screened after the presentations.

The festival will kick off Friday in Seeley Lake with a choice of guided and self-driving tours and an afternoon literary program at Double Arrow Resort. The latter includes keynote speaker author Richard Manning, troubadour Jack Gladstone, authors Debra Earling and Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs and rancher Juanita Vero of Greenough’s historic E Bar L Ranch. A $125-a-plate gala dinner on the banks of the Blackfoot River will cap the first day.

Saturday’s schedule at the Double Arrow includes panel discussions on new insights on Maclean’s writing and on “Headwaters: Montana Writers on Water and Wilderness,” a 1996 compilation of short stories, essays and poems edited by Annick Smith. A tour of Maclean’s favorite fishing holes and an evening wine tasting will follow.

Sunday’s program in Missoula will start with a free chuckwagon pancake breakfast at the newly opened National Museum of Forest Service History on West Broadway, with Norman’s son, John Maclean, presenting “Growing Up Together: The Macleans and the Forest Service.” That’ll be followed at 9:30 a.m. by a screening at the Roxy Theater on South Higgins Avenue of “Shadow Casting: The Making of A River Runs Through It.”

An all-access pass to the festival is $200. For other pricings and information go to

Alpine Artisans is joined this year by the Montana Film Office in presenting the Maclean Festival.

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