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around our Ranches

The Great Dinosaur Rush

March 7, 1877.  Union Pacific Railroad foreman William Harlow Reed, with his Sharps 50mm rifle in hand and an antelope slung over his shoulder, has just come over the ridge near Como Station, a desolate railroad stop. Hidden but exposed in the eroded anticline of the Como Bluff, huge fossilized bones caught the eye of the foreman. Some months later, Reed and fellow Union Pacific worker William Edward Carlin would write well-known Yale paleontologist Othniel C. Marsh with the announcement of the discovery.  And thus began Wyoming’s dinosaur rush.

Over several official excavations, a multitude of dinosaur remains were unearthed, many of these specimen being found in near-perfect condition.  The bones were shipped to institutions all over the world, and they were exceptionally influential in the process of museum design and construction throughout the world.  Notable finds include the brilliant Apatosaurus (formerly the incorrect Brontosaurus) skeleton at the Yale Peabody Museum, and the iconic Allosaurus skeleton at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, displayed in a menacing pose over the remains of an Apatosaurus.

Como Bluff is located next to Medicine Bow and is a brief half-hour drive away from Cassidy River Ranch.

Outlaw's Paradise

An Outlaw's Paradise

The view looking out from the Hole-in-the-Wall, highlighting its radiant red sandstone.

Butch Cassidy (front right) and members of his illustrious Wild Bunch.

Although the Wild West outlaw period in American history lasted all but a few decades, it still remains implanted firmly in our minds with visions of horses sprinting, guns firing, and cowboys riding off into the sunset.  Wyoming was one of the main stages for the tales of train robbing and cattle rustling by Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch, and one of their most famous hiding spots is just north of us.

The Hole-in-the-Wall was not only remote and secluded, but it was a red wall of eroded rock having only a single entrance from the east – a narrow trail that led into a deep V-shaped canyon with a fertile valley, in which the outlaws would build cabins and graze their stolen livestock. 

The top of the wall overlooked much of the country below on all sides, providing panoramic views for the Hole-in-the-Wall gang to spot approaching riders from far off.  Adding to its already incredible sense of isolation, this outlaw outpost was also known to be at least a full day’s ride on horseback from the nearest small town. 

​Today, the former outlaw hideout is a part of a working cattle ranch, the Hole-in-the-Wall still remains isolated and is accessible through dusty roads and a small foot trail.  Even now, exploring the verdant valley and the top of the wall, we can understand why it was such a famous, well-situated hideout.

The Hole-in-the-Wall is a few hours' drive from our ranches and is located on Willow Creek Ranch.

A Wonderful Win for

Wyoming Women 

The monumental women's march on the capital in 1913 called for a constitutional amendment of rights for all women in the United States, which would finally arrive in 1920.

The Equality State.   Wyoming has long been known as the Equality State, with a state motto of “Equal Rights” to match. But not many are aware of the history behind these distinctions. In 1867, when Cheyenne was a city of just 4,000, the Union Pacific railroad  reached the region, which caused the city to grow rapidly as hopes of prosperity attracted many settlers to the region. The region grew so quickly that pieces of others were taken to create the Wyoming territory in 1868. In May of 1869, the transcontinental railroad, first of its kind in the world, was completed, linking the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads.  Later that year, the first elections for the Wyoming senate were held, and in the first legislative session following the elections, a bill was introduced to give Wyoming women the right to vote.

Political Motives.  The bill passed easily, in part because lawmakers wanted to attract more people to the territory, especially women, who were scarce in the west, and also in part because the Democratic legislators wanted to contend with and potentially embarrass the Republican governor with their bill, expecting a veto against a proposal for rights that did not exist yet in the United States. Racial arguments were also made, since the Civil War Amendments to the Constitution had just granted new rights and freedoms to non-white Americans, and some had even argued that the bill was a joke that went further than expected, but still others stated that it allowing women voting rights was simply the right thing to do. 


The matter went on to the House, where some legislators tried and failed to halt the bill, but nonetheless women’s suffrage was passed by the House and signed by the governor John A. Campbell on December 10, 1869, officially granting women the right to vote, along with the right to sit on juries and to run for political office.

An illustration of women voting in Cheyenne in November 1888.

Women's suffrage was formally signed into Wyoming law on December 10, 1869.

Suffrage Achieved.   In early 1870, Esther Morris became the first woman ever to hold a public office when she was appointed a justice of the peace, and that spring, several female jurors were appointed for service. The following September was the first election in which women could vote, and about 1,000 women turned out to cast their ballots.  Speaking of women’s suffrage in Wyoming, American journalist and the founder of the Laramie Boomerang newspaper Bill Nye noted:


No rum was sold, women rode in carriages furnished by the two parties, and every man was straining himself to be a gentleman because there were votes at stake.  


A Wyoming election, as I recall it, was a standing rebuke to every Eastern election I ever saw.” 


That election saw the Democrats lose many legislative seats to the Republicans, and a bill repealing women’s suffrage was passed, only to be vetoed by Governor Campbell, who stated that “no legislature has the right to disenfranchise its own constituents.”  The law was never challenged again, and it would be 50 years before other women in the United States were granted the right to vote.

Statehood and Beyond.   Two decades later, as Wyoming sought statehood, the United States Congress tried to remove the women’s suffrage provision in the state charter, but instead the Wyoming legislators declared that they “will remain out of the Union one hundred years rather than come in without the women”. 


After successfully becoming the 44th state in 1890, the rest of the west followed Wyoming’s progressive ways and gradually ratified women’s suffrage, until 1920, when the 19th Amendment was passed, guaranteeing all American women the right to vote.  Not long after, in 1924, Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected governor of Wyoming and the first female governor in the country. 

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