Close up of Nevada Writers Hall of Fame medal and Silver Pen.

Sally Denton

2008 Nevada Writers Hall of Fame Inductee, 2003 Silver Pen Awardee


Sally Denton was born in Elko, Nevada, and started writing when she was eight. She attended the University of Nevada, Reno, from 1970-72 before obtaining her B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1974. She was married to her first husband, Robert Samuel, from 1984-1995. She married Roger Morris, a former member of the National Security Council, in 1998. Her career as an investigative reporter has encompassed writing for the Rio Grande Sun in New Mexico; Jack Anderson's nationally syndicated column, "Washington Merry-Go-Round"; and the CBS affiliate WKYT-TV in Lexington, Kentucky. Her articles have been published in American Heritage, the Columbia Journalism ReviewThe New York TimesPenthouse, and The Washington Post. Her investigative work in Kentucky led to her first book, The Bluegrass Conspiracy: An Inside Story of Power, Greed, Drugs, and Murder. Her 2001 book, The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America, 1947-2000, co-authored with her husband, was described as "... one of the most important nonfiction books published in the United States ..." by a Los Angeles Times reviewer. In 2002, the Arts & Entertainment Network developed a documentary film, Las Vegas: The Money and the Power, based upon the book, which was broadcast on the History Channel. Switching her focus to earlier western history, Faith and Betrayal: A Pioneer Woman's Passage in the American West is the story of her immigrant great-great grandmother, Jean Rio Griffith, and her disillusionment with the polygamist Mormons in Utah. Denton received a Lannan Literary grant in 2000, Western Heritage Awards in 2002 and 2004, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006. She was selected for the Nevada Writers' Hall of Fame Silver Pen Award in 2003. She currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she teaches documentary film courses at the College of Santa Fe. An environmentalist, she enjoys hiking, horseback riding and skiing amid a disciplined writing schedule and raising three sons.