Ranching And Rustling
Ranchers did not come to the Bighorn Canyon area until around 1880 when Henry Lovell with the financial backing of Anthony Mason built a herd of over 24,000 cattle in just five years on the open range. The grass, water, and sagebrush were free in the early days. The open range gave way to fenced pastures in the 1890s.
Looking For Gold
Much like Ewing, Doc Barry came to the area looking for gold and procured the fine water resources of Trail Creek. Barry formed three gold mining companies yet all failed. The upshot was that Barry too went into ranching, specifically dude ranching. He would become the first person to exploit the recreation potential of Bighorn Canyon with his Cedarvale Dude Ranch.
The Cattle Queen
These stories all prove that people could live a modest and in a few cases thriving lifestyle by raising stock in this rugged area. Yet many more failed and fled from this unforgiving landscape. There voices are for the most part silent, little if anything remains of there once vibrant dreams.
The "Running Iron And Lariat"
Even the law abiding found that there was often a different legal code in the Bighorn Canyon area. Neighbors were often at odds, alliances formed around commonly held grievances. Good fences it is often said make good neighbors. On the land in and around the canyon, the lines between ranching and rustling were often blurred.
Did You Know?
On August 1, 1867, a haying party of 25 soldiers and civilians held off the attacks of over 800 Sioux and Northern Cheyenne warriors in the hayfields 2 ½ miles northeast of Fort Smith. The outcome was a draw. The incident became known as the Hayfield Fight. More...