By Will and Deni McIntyre, with an introduction by ranch managers Lissa Howe, Justin Howe, and Mark Dunning
How, in this day and age in the United States, do you run a successful guest ranch, manage thousands of acres of land for livestock and wildlife, and raise top quality beef cattle? This is the story of three Western ranches, two in southern Wyoming and in northern Colorado. They have been owned since the 1960s by the extended family of Charles C. Gates Sr. One is a guest ranch; the other two are working cattle operations. All three confront a daily challenge to survive and thrive.
Will and Deni McIntyre have photographed at the A Bar A guest ranch almost every year since 2002. For this project they brought in their scope to include the Big Creek and State Line Ranches as well, recording a year in the life of all three spreads.
“For the text, we had access to wonderful archives both private and public,” Deni McIntyre says. “They held documents going back to when these ranches were homesteaded. I selected excerpts that helped tell the story, and they became the background of the book.”
Life on a ranch can be lonely, hard, breathtakingly beautiful, often ironic, and sometimes downright hilarious. Welcome to one family’s three ranches.
By David M. Jessup
Winner of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Contest, Mariano’s Crossing was also chosen as a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Contest and the Santa Fe Writers Project.
Mariano Medina, a former scout with Kit Carson, has become the richest man on Colorado’s Big Thompson River. But his success provokes resentment among the new settlers. To bolster respect for his family, Medina decides to send his daughter, Lena, to an expensive boarding school. But his Indian wife, Takansy, has other ideas. She wants Lena to pursue her skills with horses, her “spirit path.” As their conflict grows, young John Alexander, son of a domineering, hardscrabble sawmill owner, tries to persuade Lena to run away with him to start a new life. Their tug of war soon spirals out of control as secrets past and present propel them toward their final, haunting encounter.
Based on real characters and the mysteries connected with historic events, author David Jessup has woven a mesmerizing tale of people struggling to find their places in the rapidly changing landscape of post-gold rush Colorado.