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The story of Buck's T-4 Lodging & Dining

big sky mt lodging - buck's t 4

Historic Roots

The original Buck’s T-4 was established in 1946 by Buck and Helen Knight as a hunting camp. Setting up a saw mill on the property and skidding out the timber by horseback, the Knights built cabins and opened for hunters with lodging, meals, and a horse with guide costing only $12 a day. In 1950, two of the cabins were slid together and converted into the present bar. With Buck behind the plank and Helen in the kitchen, Buck’s became a favorite Montana roadhouse for locals, hunters and tourists to Yellowstone National Park. 

During the initial construction phases of Chet Huntley’s Big Sky Resort, Buck and Helen retired and sold the business to the Scholz family in 1972. Just out of college, Mike Scholz took the reins for the next 41 years. He displayed the same pride of ownership demonstrated by the Knights striving to fulfill both the Knights’ and his dream of making Buck’s T-4 a full service resort complex.

The Age of the Dancehall

In the 1970s, the addition of a dancehall, game room and pizza saloon quickly transformed Buck’s into the most popular dance venue in the state. Buck’s legendary New Year’s Eve parties featured Montana’s own Mission Mountain Wood Band and drew crowds of upwards of 1000 people. People came from miles around to enjoy such bands as Asleep and the Wheel, Richie Havens and Norton Buffalo.

Culinary Transformation

In the 1980’s the first hotel rooms were built and the restaurant began to emerge as a culinary destination. At the age of 22, Chuck Schommer became Buck’s executive chef and developed a culinary following that earned rave reviews in national food magazines, culminating with a presentation dinner at the James Beard Foundation in New York City in 2000.

Leading the Pack

By the 1990’s, two additional hotel buildings and a lobby were constructed. David O’Connor, another young ‘buck’ fresh from college, joined Mike and Chuck to round out the team. He later became the general manager and under his guidance Buck’s entered the age of computers, became a regional leader in lodging and achieved the first of nearly twenty Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence.

The 2000’s brought exciting growth and new challenges at Buck’s T-4. To complement the dancehall’s popularity as a wedding venue an inviting wedding garden was constructed, with inspiration taken from the untouched beauty of the surrounding Montana wilderness. Hotel rooms were completely remodeled and outfitted with a full set of modern amenities and the restaurant saw increasing national press recognition.


In 2006, for the first time in over 30 years, Buck’s was no longer in Mike’s practiced hands. He sold Buck’s T-4 and retired in Big Sky.

In 2009, he had the opportunity to buy the business back, this time forming an unbeatable partnership with Chuck and David. In early 2013, Chuck and David were able to assume Mike’s ownership, thus enabling him to once again retire, and once again pass the baton, this time from one family to two others.

From the Knights, from the Scholz family, from the Schommers and O’Connors, thank you for being our guests. We look forward to meeting you.
– Chuck and David, Proprietors