This work, which was first released during 1976, has been published in several formats: as a collection of short stories, bearing a title starting with that of the novella, and as a stand-alone novella, usually as an art book with many photographs, or with many illustrations such as woodcuts. For much of its publishing history it was purposely not advertised, publicity depending on word of mouth and critical mention. Talk of the "Never advertised" book generated a considerable amount of publicity.
For an illustrated version there is still in print a hardcover edition issued in Chicago by the University of Chicago Press in 1989 with ISBN 0-226-50060-8.
The collection of short stories with the novella, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories is issued as a paperback by the University of Chicago Press in 2003 with ISBN 0-226-50066-7.
The small anthology contains two other stories, also partly autobiographical and which precede the events of River: "Logging and Pimping and 'Your pal, Jim'" and "USFS 1919: The Ranger, the Cook, and a Hole in the Sky".