Tanner’s Ford Area Ranches Overview

Montana Territory was created in 1864, shortly after gold was discovered near Virginia City. After the end of the Civil War, with the possibility of gold and great adventure, many men headed west. By 1870 there were hundreds of men in Montana Territory for every woman wishing to be a wife. This western imbalance created an over-abundance of single women in the East.

What if the government, wishing to have the West settled, sent Bride Trains of women eager to find husbands, and a new life, in a place where the rules of society could be bent? The women who make it all the way to the end of the line in Virginia City are the most spirited (some say ornery), determined, and free-thinking brides-to-be.

Creating a ranch from nothing is an almost impossible task for one man. In addition to what nature throws at you (fire, flood, rattlesnakes, disease, accidents, bitter winter cold, and pests) there are two-legged varmints eager to take from someone weaker. Ranchers therefore create partnerships in trios to spread the work and provide companionship.

Tanner’s Ford Valley is tucked into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, a long way from what Eastern folks would call civilization. The law is what the people say it is. And as long as the women are willing, the sheriff doesn’t mind if the wife shares her bed with her husband and his two partners.

The ranchers are strong, determined, and often a bit more arrogant than a woman would want. But the brides-to-be who arrive in Tanner’s Ford are up to the challenge.

Map of Ranches in the Tanner's Ford area.

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