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High Plains Press: Third-generation rancher preserves and shares Wyoming’s history

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

High Plains Press in Glendo publishes books on the history of Wyoming and the West. Book Publisher Nancy Curtis says when she founded the company, located on a cattle ranch, there were a few other book publishing companies in Wyoming. 

“I knew people who were writing books, which were definitely good enough to be in print, but there were no publishers willing to take a chance on them,” she says. “Other publishers didn’t understand the devotion of Western readers to their subjects or the importance of Western subjects.”

History of the press

Glendo native and third-generation rancher Laura McCormick is the current owner of High Plains Press, and Nancy Curtis remains actively involved. Aside from publishing books, Laura helps on her family’s sheep operation, McCormick Rambouillet, east of Glendo and is the mother to three children. 

Laura attended the University of Wyoming (UW) and studied animal science. After leaving UW, she wasn’t quite sure what career path she wanted to go down.

“I was working at Mickes Family Restaurant in Glendo for a bit, and Nancy approached me about coming to work for her at High Plains Press,” she says. “I acquired the company after working with Nancy for over 10 years.”

“Nancy started High Plains Press in the early 80s, and she made a great company out of it,” she adds. “Nancy found there was a market for Wyoming and Western history books.”

Laura says what initially drew her to work for the High Plains Press was the technical aspect of the job. 

“A lot of this job involves being on the computer and working with design elements,” she says. “I suppose it was my technical knowledge that brought me to working for High Plains Press.”

“I have always been interested in the history of Wyoming to a degree, but it sort of grew as each individual book I read got me a little more interested – the interest feeds on itself,” she adds. “When looking back to the 1890s, these same characters appear, and it is kind of fascinating to see where they show up.”

Niche market

High Plains Press focuses on the small, niche market of Wyoming and Western history.

“We mostly publish Wyoming history – the closer to Wyoming, the better we are. The closer to where I’m standing, the better we are,” Laura says. “It is a market we know how to sell books to.”

High Plains Press also publishes poetry and an occasional memoir when the right one comes along. Laura notes the importance of sharing Wyoming’s history.

“I think the history of Wyoming is so unique, and there are so many great, true stories,” she says. “Some of these stories are so good, they can’t even be made up.”

Recognition and achievements

High Plains Press books have won five Wrangler awards for poetry, two Willa awards and several Willa finalist awards, as well as several finalist awards in the Spur, High Plains Book Awards, ForeWord and Ben Franklin Award competitions. Their poetry books were named Best Poetry Series of the West by True West magazine. 

In 2012, High Plains Press was the winner of the prestigious Lariat Award from Western Writers of America for supporting Western books and authors.

Nancy is also the coeditor, with Linda Hasselstrom and Gaydell Collier, of three collections of writing by plainswomen published by Houghton Mifflin: “Leaning into the Wind,” “Woven on the Wind” and “Crazy Woman Creek.” 

In 2011, Nancy was presented with the Governor’s Arts Award by former Gov. Matt Mead for her work with literature and the arts.

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Kaitlyn Root is a corresponding writer for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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