Visit Our Western Gallery


July 1st, 2018

Jim Sanderson, longtime area rancher opened the gallery with the ceremonial “Burning Of The Brand”

Jim is seen here with his daughter Dianne Ferguson

Ranching in the south west part of our province began as the result of two major Federal Government initiatives in the early 1880s- the removal of First Nations peoples to reservations in the north and northeast and the subsequent removal of NWMP headquarters at Fort Walsh to Regina. With the dismantling of Fort Walsh in 1882/83, Division “A” Headquarters was established near the fledgling community of Maple Creek on the newly constructed CPR rail-line to the north of Fort Walsh.

Simultaneous with the developments, ranchers begin moving into the area as early as 1882 with Michael Oxarart, a Basque in origin, being the first official rancher and holder of a federal lease. He established his holdings to the east of Fort Walsh on the edge of Davis Lake, now known as Cypress Lake. Following the establishment of “A” Division headquarters in Maple Creek, a number of other men followed Oxarart’s lead establishing their ranches along the small creek bottoms running north from the Cypress Hills. Names such as Wood, Shurtcliff, Quick, Pollock, McGarry, Cheeseman, Lawrence, Jones, Quesnelle, Fauquier, Peecock, Caswell, O’Hare and Nicol are among the first names associated with early ranching in this area- by 1890 most of the creek bottoms running north and south of the Cypress Hills were homesteaded. For the most part the ethnic nature of the earliest settlers was British Canadian with an influx of American settlers to the south of the Hills following the turn of the Century. Several early ranchers were former North-West Mounted Policemen who decided to remain in the area following their discharge.

Apart from the famed 76 ranches, established by Sir John Pepys Lister Kay, many of which were located along the main-line between Swift Current and Medicine Hat, ranching was generally done on a smaller scale. Holdings tended to be self-sufficient units along the creek bottoms. Although large American ranch companies had moved into the area south of the Cypress Hills as early as the 1880s, they were short-lived due to the severe winters of 1886 and in 1906/07. The years following 1907 saw the demise of open range ranching and the end of the large ranch companies. However the smaller operations survived and continued to grow and develop until present day

The Ranches/Ranchers represented in the gallery, either by photo or equipment are:

  • Michel Oxarart
  • Wylie Ranch
  • Bob O’Neil
  • Les Fleming
  • First Nations Farm/ John Stewart Ranch
  • Lindner Ranch
  • WP Ranch
  • 20 Mile Race with George Naismith
  • 6-Mile Ranch
  • Carl Westerlun
  • Briggs Ranch
  • Z-X Ranch
  • Fauquier Ranch
  • Lawrence Ranch
  • Robert Young
  • Elsie (Garrison) White
  • Adeline (Braniff) Reid-Hensman
  • Ann (Caton) Saville
  • Dora Belle (Kirkendall) Westerlun
  • Daphne (Humphrey) Fordice
  • Anne (White) Naismith
  • Sarah (Warnock) Bettis
  • The Gow Ranch
  • Alf Dawson
  • Dave Perrin
  • Bridge Hartley
  • Jessie Perrin
  • Bert Ingram
  • The Bowie Ranch
  • Cross Ranch
  • Hassett Ranch
  • Pete O’Hare
  • Dimmock Ranch
  • Slim Parker
  • James Friday
  • James McDougald
  • Tootsie Fleming
  • Alf Whitney
  • Bert Young
  • The Q Ranch

The Western Gallery