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Film, Video Branding, Ninety-Six Ranch

About this Item


  • Branding, Ninety-Six Ranch


  • Northrup, Tex (Narrator)
  • Stewart, Leslie J. (Narrator)
  • Fleischhauer, Carl (Interviewer)
  • Smock, William (Interviewer)

Created / Published

  • October 16, 1979


  • -  Landscapes
  • -  Ninety-Six Ranch
  • -  Activities
  • -  Branding
  • -  Castrating
  • -  Cattle marking
  • -  Inoculating
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  Motion Pictures


  • Ethnography
  • Motion Pictures


  • -  A week after the fall roundup, new calves and calves overlooked in the spring are branded, earmarked, wattled, inoculated, and males are castrated.
  • -  Les controls breeding by trying to limit the period in which bulls mix with cows. His goal is to have calving occur in March and April. The earlier in spring a calf is born, the greater its weight and value at weaning. An early calf will also be better able to fend for itself when the herd is turned out to graze in April. But if the birth is too early, the calf's life is threatened by cold weather. Les says he wishes calving could occur as early as January, as it can further south, but the severe Paradise Valley winter precludes it. Complete control is impossible for a range cattle outfit, however, and some calves are born every month.
  • -  The Ninety-Six's main branding occurs in late March or early April and processes most of the year's new calves; spring branding is the subject of video selection <032>. Fall branding processes calves that were overlooked in spring and calves born during the summer; the calf shown here is much bigger than the younger animals branded in the spring. (A full treatment of branding in other parts of the West may be found in Erickson 1981, 130-47 and Ward 1958, 59-62).
  • -  Les estimates that during the three-day task, about two hundred calves would be branded per day. The process includes more than the simple application of the brand. Calves receive a wattle and earmark for identification and an inoculation to ward off certain diseases, notably blackleg. They are also dehorned to reduce the likelihood of injury in crowded feedlots. Since steers produce better beef than bulls, male calves are castrated. The occasion may also be used for miscellaneous medical treatment of adult cows.
  • -  Heifers receive two brands: the ranch's 96 iron and a digit indicating the year, in this case a 9. Many of these heifers become the ranch's brood cows, and the rancher must be able to determine the animal's age. Les says he has mixed feelings about dehorning. It makes cattle buyers more willing to purchase the animals for fattening in a feedlot, but leaves the cattle a bit more vulnerable to predators on the range.
  • -  The workers include Les and his son, Fred; the three full-time buckaroos Tex Northrup, Theodore Brown, and Myron Smart; and neighbors Fred Miller and Bob Humphrey. Miller operates the adjoining ranch to the south. In exchange for Miller's assistance with chores like branding, Les says he sends some of the Ninety-Six's crew to help with chores at Miller's place. Humphrey is a retired Carson County, Nevada, sheriff who has moved to Paradise Valley. In 1981, he and his wife bought the Rinehart house, buildings, and some land from Les. Humphrey enjoys working on horseback and is always a willing helper in the valley.


  • 16mm film

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1991/021: NV9-VT6

Source Collection

  • Paradise Valley Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1991/021)


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • video

Rights & Access

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The Buckaroos in Paradise collection includes copy photographs of numerous historical still photographs, works of art, and other objects that are owned by the families or individuals identified in bibliographic records for those objects. The collection also includes audio and video interviews with individuals who consented to the inclusion of these selections here.

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Credit line

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

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Northrup, Tex, Leslie J Stewart, Carl Fleischhauer, and William Smock. Branding, Ninety-Six Ranch. 1979. Video.

APA citation style:

Northrup, T., Stewart, L. J., Fleischhauer, C. & Smock, W. (1979) Branding, Ninety-Six Ranch. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Northrup, Tex, et al. Branding, Ninety-Six Ranch. 1979. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.