Book cover image for: Bar U and Canadian Ranching History

The Bar U and Canadian Ranching History

Simon Evans

$44.95 CAD / $51.95 USD (S)

385 pages, 175 illustrations

8.75 x 10.35 inches

978-1-55238-134-2 (Paperback)

978-1-55238-290-5 (Institutional PDF)

June 2004

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About the Book

The fascinating story of the Bar U Ranch over its long history, from the colourful figures of Fred Stimson, George Lane and Pat Burns to the development of Canadian ranching and our evolving understanding of Alberta’s agricultural past.

For much of its 130-year history, the Bar U Ranch has been one of the most famous ranches in Canada. Its reputation is firmly based on the historical role that the ranch has played, its size and longevity, and its association with some of the remarkable people who have helped develop the cattle business and build the Canadian West.

The long history of the ranch allows the evolution of the cattle business to be traced and can be seen in three distinct historical periods based on the eras of the individuals who owned and managed the ranch. These colourful figures, beginning with Fred Stimson, then George Lane, and finally Pat Burns, have left an indelible mark on the Bar U as well as Canadian ranching history.

This fascinating story integrates the history of ranching in Alberta with larger issues of ranch historiography in the American and Canadian West and contributes greatly to the overall understanding of ranching history.

About the Author:

Simon Evans is a retired professor from the geography department at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He became interested in ranching while studying for his PhD at the University of Calgary in 1971. He has written extensively on the cattle industry in numerous journals and co-edited three books on the geography and history of the cattle business.

Table of Contents



1. A Western Journey: Checking Out the Prospects

2. Fred Stimson and the Northwest Cattle Company, 1881-1902
A Herd for the Bar U
Stocking the Canadian Range
"Natural Increase" at the Bar U
"e;Give Me Land, Lots of Land . . .&quot/
"Accustomed Range" vs "Grazing Leases"
Rules for the Canadian Range
Taking the Bait
Acquiring the Bar U Range
Buying the "Home Place"
Dollars and Cents
Beef for Victorian Britain

3. Building the Home Place: The Community and the Work They Did
The Bar U Community in 1891
"Mail Call and Roll Call"
The Maturing "Villate"
A Word about the "Open Range"
The Seasonal Round

4. George Lane Buys a Ranch
Who Was This Man Lane?
George Lane and the Young Napolean
"She Stock" and Steers
The Killing Winter of 1906-7
Lane Takes a Hit

5. Building an Internationally Famous Percheron Stud
Horse Power for the Developing West
Introducing the Percheron
Early Percheron Purchases
Methods and Techniques
Rewards and Returns
Making Room for Horses on the Cattle Ranch

6. George Lane: At Full Gallop!
Namaka Farms
The Public Life of a Private Man
Lane’s "Boys" and Happy Families
A Royal Visit
Post-War Dilemmas

7. Pat Burns Takes Over, 1927-37
The Irish Drover
New Ways of Rearing Stock
Buying the Bar U Ranch
Wondering Why

8. The Bar U During the 1930s
Riders, Cooks, and Choreboys
Instilling New Attitudes
Surviving the Great Depression

9. P. Burns Ranches Limited, 1937-50
Integration, Rationalization, and Modernization
Wartime Opportunities and Frustrations
Labour Costs Go through the Roof
Help from the Stoneys
Hay, Crops, and Horse Power
A Last Look Around
The Sale of the Bar U Ranch

10. Postscript and Retrospect
Mavericks and Risk Takers
"To Commemorate and Celebrate . . ."
Reviewing Origins
Nature vs Nurture on the Range?
An Honourable Legacy


Selected Bibliography of Books




WINNER, BPAA Alberta Book Publishing Award - Scholarly Book of the Year | 2005

SELECTION, AAUP Book, Jacket, and Journal Show - Cover Design | 2005

WINNER, CHA CLIO Prize - The Prairies | 2004