In the 1880s, a group of fledgling cattle ranchers descended on the plains of southern Alberta. They were drawn by the promise of the West, where the grass seemed endless and they could ranch under the arch of the Chinook—the warm Pacific wind that swooped down the eastern slopes of the Rockies to melt the snow and clear the land for year-round grazing. They came with wild optimism, but their ambition was soon tempered by the brutal reality of a frontier land.
Ranching under the Arch is a tale of survival, perseverance, and prosperity in the face of struggle, loss, and loneliness. Following over a dozen ranches still in operation that have roots dating to the late nineteenth century, historian D. Larraine Andrews recounts the culture that developed around this unique vocation. These ranches have endured as vibrant enterprises, sometimes into the fifth generation of the same family, sometimes with new faces and dreams to change the focus of the narrative. Drawing from historical archives, diaries, and personal accounts, and illustrated by informative maps, fascinating archival imagery, and stunning contemporary photography, Ranching under the Arch is an epic portrait of the “Cattle Kingdom” and its place in Alberta history.