Abstract

Many of the men who headed west to establish the open range ranching system on the northern Great Plains in the late nineteenth century failed to grasp the enormous challenge that faced them. Attempting to produce quality live-stock for local and eastern markets, they found themselves struggling with an array of unforeseen obstacles. The worst of these were natural predators, harsh winter weather, drought, the ability of the domesticated animals to wander over great distances on the unfenced plains, and their tendency to breed indiscriminately. This article provides a detailed explanation of how all these conditions came together in the high-bred horse business on one very large ranch in southern Alberta. The author’s central argument is frontier ranching proved uneconomic in this case and thus in many others on both sides of the Canadian/American border.

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Notes

1 Robert H. Fletcher ,
Free Grass to Fences; the Montana Cattle Range Story
(New York: University Publishers,
1960
),
145
-54
David H. Breen ,
The Canadian Prairie West and the Ranching Frontier, 1874–1924
(Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
1983
),
111
-35
Simon M. Evans ,
Prince Charming Goes West: the Story of the E. P Ranch
(Calgary: University of Cal¬ gary Press,
1993
), 4748
Terry G. Jordan ,
North American Cattle-Ranching Frontiers: Origins, Diffusion, and Differentiation
(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press,
1993
),
249
-307
Warren M. Elofson ,
Frontier Cattle Ranching in the Land and Times of Charlie Russell
(Montreal: McGill-Queen’s Univer¬ sity Press, Seattle: University of Washington Press,
2004
),
159
,160,179-80
Warren M. Elofson ,
Cowboys, Gentlemen & Cattle Thieves: Ranching on the Western Frontier
(Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press,
2000
),
27
-28
Simon M. Evans ,
The Bar U & Canadian Ranching History
(Calgary: University of Calgary Press,
2004
),
149
-67
2 Elofson, Cowboys, Gentlemen & Cattle Thieves
3 New Walrond Ranche, started in 1898
"
Prospectus of the New Walrond Ranche Company
,"
Feb. 26
,
1898
4 "Prospectus of the New Walrond Ranche Company," 3
Memo from David Warnock, Nov. 13,1893
5 David Warnock, Sept. 19, 1894
6 Fletcher’s Free Grass to Fences
Jordan’s North American Cattle-Ranching Frontiers
Evans’s The Bar U and Canadian Ranching History
"Ranchers Want Feds to Start Killing Wolves,"
Bozeman Daily Chronicle
,
Apr. 16
,
2004
"Livestock Losses Leave Ranchers Worn Down by Wolves,"
Billings Gazette
,
May 16
,
2004
"Impact of Wolves Grows,"
Casper Star Tribune
,
Jan. 18
,
2005
Barry H. Lopez ,
Of Wolves and Men
(New York: Scribner,
1978
)
Thomas McNamee ,
The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone
(New York: Henry Holt,
1997
)
Rick Bass ,
The Ninemile Wolves: An Essay
(Livingston, Mont.: Clark City Press,
1992
)
Karen Jones ,
Wolf Mountains: A History of Wolves along the Great Divide
(Calgary: University of Calgary Press,
2002
)
Martin A. Nie ,
Beyond Wolves: The Politics of Wolf Recovery and Management
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,
2003
)
Warnock to McEachran, Oct. 31,1894
7 Warnock to McEachran, July 31 and Nov. 12,1894
8 Warnock to McEachran, Apr. 18, 1896
Leroy V. Kelly ,
The Range Men
(1913; repr., High River, Calif.: Willow Creek Publishing,
1988
),
130
Warnock memo, July 2,1894
9 Warnock to McEachran, Nov. 13,1894
Warnock to J. G. Ross, May 16,1894
10 J. W. Mathison memo, Nov. 17,1888
Warnock to McEachran, Mar. 25, 1895
11 Warnock to McEachran, Jan. 23,1894
Warnock to McEachran, Mar. 25, 1895
12 J. F. Scott to McEachran, Aug. 3,1892
Kelly ,
The Range Men
,
99
,
191
Elofson, Cowboys, Gentlemen & Cattle Thieves, 71-98
Elofson, Frontier Cattle Ranching, 132-43
13 Warnock to Major Bell, Apr. 6, 1894
Warnock to J. G. Ross, May 16, 1894
14 Warnock to McEachran, Nov. 13,1893
Feb. 2, 1894
Nov. 14, 1894
Apr. 22, 1895
Apr. 2, 1895
Warnock to J. G. Ross, Nov. 11, 1895
16 Warnock to McEachran, Apr. 15, 1895
Feb. 28, 1894
Mar. 12, 1894
17 Warnock to J. G. Ross, May 26,1896
Warnock to McEachran, Apr. 15,1895
18 Warnock memo, May 2,1896
Warnock memo, July 25, [1896]
Warnock memo, Aug. 1,1896
Warnock memo, Aug. 1,1896
Warnock memo, Oct. 19,1896
Warnock memo, Nov. 1896
McEachran on Apr. 18,1896
19 Elofson, Frontier Cattle Ranching, 47,58-59
A. R. Springett, Nov. 10,1902
20 Elofson, Frontier Cattle Ranching, 167
Warren Elofson, "Figures Don’t Lie, Reinventing the Walrond Ranche, 1897–98," Prairie Forum (forthcoming, Fall 2006)
During 1894 and 1897
Warnock memo, June 1897
Elofson, Frontier Cattle Ranching, 151–57
21 George G. McNeil, Jan. 2,1901
Elofson, Cowboys, Gentlemen & Cattle Thieves, 31
L. McKinnon, Jan. 23, 1908
Kelly, Range Men, 130
Mr. Hodson, Nov. 1900
A. R. Springett, Nov. 10,1902
22 Elofson, Frontier Cattle Ranching
Elofson, Cowboys, Gentlemen & Cattle Thieves