Cowboy photographer Charles Belden co-owned the massive Pitchfork cattle and dude ranch near Meeteetse from 1922 to 1940. Even more than ranching, however, he cared about taking pictures. His images show working cowboys, sheepherders, dudes, cattle and sheep—and a spirit of western romance and adventure that the public was hungry for.
Early Wyoming was seen as a hardscrabble place. But after 1900, dude ranches showed off Wyoming’s mountain scenery, fishing, hunting and hospitality, and thanks to the elite guests’ taste-making powers, Wyoming and the West became associated less with cold wind and distance and more with romantic glories.
The T Cross Ranch north of Dubois, Wyo., on Horse Creek in the Absaroka Mountains was first homesteaded around 1900 by Ernest O. Hadden. In 1919, Henry Seipt acquired the property, named it “The Hermitage” and operated a dude ranch here. Robert Cox became the owner in 1929 and changed the name to “T Cross Ranch,” but continued the dude ranch. The ranch is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is still operated as a dude ranch.