14 May 2010

Pitchfork Ranch, Meeteetse, WY

At the Belden Museum in Meeteetse we learned of the Pitchfork Ranch. This is where the Marlboro cigarette television commercials were filmed (see the fourth and fifth photos of this link). This post is our short excursion into Marlboro Country.

Pitchfork Ranch, Meeteetse, WyomingThe bridge above leads to the residential buildings (and barns) of the ranch. We spoke with Darcy, the manager's friendly wife, who gave us permission to take pictures.

Pitchfork Ranch, Meeteetse, WyomingThe work of art on the right in the shot above is seen better in the following photo.

Pitchfork Ranch, Meeteetse, WyomingAs a dude ranch, this place became famous in the 1930s, hosting people like Amelia Earhart and Will Rogers. Charles J. Belden, the owner, was also a photographer (click here to learn more about him). This beautiful home was his residence.

About ten years ago, Darcy informed us, the Belden family sold the ranch to two wealthy professionals on the east coast.

Pitchfork Ranch, Meeteetse, Wyoming
Pitchfork Ranch, Meeteetse, WyomingUnder the house eave are numerous swallow nests:

Pitchfork Ranch, Meeteetse, WyomingThis used to be the Post Office:

Pitchfork Ranch, Meeteetse, Wyoming
Pitchfork Ranch, Meeteetse, Wyoming
Pitchfork Ranch, Meeteetse, Wyoming
Pitchfork Ranch, Meeteetse, WyomingFrom Pitchfork Ranch, we drove up into the foothills.

Here are some elk:

When the road became muddy due to the melting snow, we turned around.

Back toward Meeteetse, we took this bridge across Greybull River. The old cars, used to prevent erosion, caught our eye.

We continued on that road and took these shots:

This pronghorn and his female companion looked at us for a couple of minutes before continuing on up the hill.

Driving through Meeteetse and then north toward Cody for about a mile, we came to the historical marker below which describes the old town of Arland.

Here is what the sign says:
1884 -- 1897
A few miles up Meeteetse Creek from here, stood one of the toughest settlements of Wyoming's frontier history. The town was founded in the spring of 1884 by Victor Arland, a French businessman, and John Corbett, a buffalo hunter. From 1880 to 1884, the men were partners in a trading post on Trail Creek and another on Cottonwoood Creek, just north of Cody, Wyoming. They moved to Meeteetse Creek to be in the center of cattle country and the developing ranches.

"Arland" soon had a store, saloon, restaurant, U.S. Post Office, a two story hotel, blacksmith shop, red light district, coal mine, livery stables, residential cabins, and corrals. A mail and passenger stage ran weekly through Arland, helping the town to become a trade center for the area ranches and a mecca for the cowboys and other rough characters of the region. The nearest law was 150 miles away in Lander, Wyoming.

On February 22, 1888, Vic Arland shot and killed Broken Nose Jackson in self defense at a dance in Arland. Jackson's friend, Bill Landon, shot and killed Vic Arland in revenge, at Dunivan's Saloon in Red Lodge, Montana, on April 24, 1890. After vic's death Arland degenerated into a hang-out for the outlaw element. There were names such as Black Jack Miller, John Bill, Al Durant, Butch Cassidy, W.A. Gallagher, Blind Bill Hoolihan, Ed Nye, Rose Williams, Sage Brush Nancy, and Belle Drewry, known as the "Woman in Blue". Most of the above, and others, died entangled in a web of lawlessness, romance, intrigue, and murder.

By 1896, the nearby town of Meeteetse had sprung up and by 1897 Arland had died. Today, nothing remains of old Arland but the stories and ghosts of days gone by.
Arland, WyomingHere are two close-ups of the sign above:

Arland, Wyoming
Arland, WyomingBefore leaving the area, we went down a side road and found these two fox kits.


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