Film, Video Roundup: Going to Camp

Format Film, Video
Contributors Fleischhauer, Carl
Smock, William
Stewart, Leslie J.
Dates 1979
Language English
Subjects Activities
Cattle Movement
Grazing Lands
Motion Pictures
Ninety Six Ranch
Trail Drive (1979)
Roundup: Going to Camp
Contributor Names
Stewart, Leslie J. (Narrator)
Fleischhauer, Carl (Interviewer)
Smock, William (Interviewer)
Created / Published
October 1, 1979
Subject Headings
-  Ranching
-  Landscapes
-  Ninety-Six Ranch
-  Activities
-  Trail Drive (1979)
-  Cattle movement
-  Grazing lands
-  Ethnography
-  Motion Pictures
Motion Pictures
-  96 Ranch crew packs gear at home ranch in fall en route to Bradshaw Camp where they will round up cattle from the summer grazing range in the mountains and bring them back to the home ranch.
-  The annual cycle on the Ninety-Six Ranch in northern Nevada begins in early spring with the birth of the year's calf crop. The calves spend the summer on the range with the rest of the herd, and are rounded up in the fall and sold. During the winter, while the grazing range is snowbound, the remaining herd (mostly cows) is kept in pastures and fed hay. (An interesting comparison with Texas ranching may be found in Erickson 1981, 174-80).
-  Until 1981, when Les reduced his operation, the Ninety-Six's cattle spent the spring and summer on grazing land leased from the federal government, the ranch's "grazing rights." The ranch held a sixty-five-thousand-acre allotment east of the valley from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and a thirty-eight-thousand-acre allotment in the Humboldt National Forest north of the valley from the U.S. Forest Service. The arid land has little edible cover, and the herd must be moved during the season to prevent overgrazing. The government land managers regulate herd size, and the leases calculate use in terms of "Animal Unit Months" (AUMs). In 1979, the ranch grazed about two thousand animals on its two allotments, occupying the BLM range from April to June, and the Forest Service range from July to the beginning of October.
-  The herd is rounded up in two "gathers," each of which lasts three days, sweeps half of the Forest Service range, and collects half the herd.
-  Each gather is followed by a three-day, thirty-mile trail drive back to the home ranch in the valley. These two roundup trips occur during the first two weeks of October, before cold weather sets in. Forest Service land managers set the dates in consultation with rancher Les Stewart. This video clip depicts the start of the second cycle in 1979, as the crew packs at the home ranch and travels to the Bradshaw Camp.
-  The film offers a fleeting view of the home ranch, the central headquarters and residence complex of the Ninety-Six. The home ranch includes Les and Marie Stewart's modern one-story house, the two-story house occupied by Les's parents until their death; year-round residences for buckaroos; and an array of barns, sheds, corrals, and other structures. The Ninety-Six lies on Martin Creek, a tributary of the Little Humboldt River and the main stream flowing through the upper section of Paradise Valley. The creek irrigates the ranch, and some of the irrigating channels pass through the home ranch compound, where the abundant water supports gardens and the copse surrounding the buildings. Tall cottonwoods and Lombardy poplars form a windbreak around the old house, but since the elder Stewarts died, the yard has grown wild. Birds abound in the cover, including hawks nesting in the treetops. The stand of trees can be glimpsed for one brief moment as the truck begins its drive into the arid rangeland.
-  The opening scenes in the video were taken in the former dining hall adjoining the old two-story house, where the large crews employed by the ranch were fed in an earlier day. The film shows Northern Paiute buckaroos Tex Northrup and Myron Smart helping Les and his son, Fred, load gear into the pickup truck. Some gear and the cavvy, or string of riding horses, have remained in the mountains from the previous week's trip. The men load cooking utensils, the grub box, and food, including meat from the stone meat house adjacent to the hall.
-  The Forest Service grazing allotment lies in the Santa Rosa Mountains about fifteen miles due north of the ranch. The truck is shown driving north on the valley floor, climbing the mountainside to the pass at Hinkey Summit, and arriving at Bradshaw Camp.
-  In the interview used for this video clip's soundtrack, Les says that a herd of about two thousand cows requires about two hundred thousand acres of summer range. After Les saw the edited film, he said that he had given the wrong figure and that it is more accurate to say that the BLM, Forest Service, and private lands supporting his herd comprise a little more than one hundred thousand acres.
16mm film
Call Number
AFC 1991/021: NV9-VT1
Source Collection
Paradise Valley Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1991/021)
American Folklife Center
Digital Id

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Paradise Valley Folklife Project collection, 1978-1982 (AFC 1991/021), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

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