Ranchers VS Developers – The Battle For Montana’s Future

Aug 28, 2022 847.5K Views 2K Comments

There is tension in the American West–especially in Montana–between ranchers and developers. In this video, we meet a man named Trinity who grew up ranching and transformed into a real-estate developer. Join me as we learn from this well-informed local who understands both perspectives of this complex situation.


► Lodge in video: https://battlecreekranch.com

► Trinity’s Socials:
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaMvp4VAmz5_NZib2KJSdYg
Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@trinityvandenacre
Telegram Community: Trinity Vandenacre
Insta: https://www.instagram.com/trinity_vandenacre/

► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello
► Researched by: Kymberly Redmond

Good afternoon, guys.
Here in beautiful Montana.
Have a very interesting
story for you today
and that is the tension
between ranchers, who own all this land
and developers that want to
subdivide and build.
Now that’s been going on
for a long time in Montana and the West
but the last two years
have really accelerated the process.
So today we have the great privilege
to meet with a local
who was a rancher and cowboy for 20 years
but is now developing.
He said he knows the situation
inside and out.
Both sides of the argument.
Let’s go meet up with him
and learn what’s going on here.
Let’s do this.
♪ country ♪
[door opens]
PETER: Trinity?
-Nice to meet ya.
-Peter, nice to meet ya.
So my dad used to own all this property
right here where these houses are.
My dad actually had a head injury.
So he was completely disabled
for about 17 years.
I was involved in selling part of this
just to make it through that time period.
-That’s my dad and mother.
-Hello, sir.
WOMAN: Hi.
You see dad’s face over there?
He just got kicked by a horse
two days ago.
That’s why he’s all messed up.
-Can we go meet dad?
-Yeah.
He’s a character.
[door closes]
PETER: Rumor has it
you were kicked by a horse.
Yeah, a few times, yeah.
[chuckles]
We used to own from here all the way
down past where you see those houses.
<Okay, yep, we just came that way.
like you’re sad to sell it?
or how’s that feeling?
TRINITY: I don’t know that
that was really beneficial. [chuckles]
JOHN: No, not really.
It barely got us by and then after that
and then after that, it’s a one time deal.
You sell the land,
you get one chunk of money.
-Oh, so you guys didn’t subdivide it?
-[both] No.
<Oh, so you sold to someone,
they split it up?
Yeah, ’cause it costs a lot of money
to subdivide something.
You gotta put in all the roads,
and the power, and everything like that.
So we just sold it
’cause we needed money right then
and you know, that’s gone in a year, so…
[all chuckling]
Used to but then they
started doing trail rides.
-So they didn’t want to sell us any more.
-Okay.
you saw part of it, right?
with the tension between the locals
far off Hollywood narrative stuff?
Part of that is far off Hollywood
because the reservations
really aren’t concerned about
getting more land.
They don’t really… That’s not something
we ever hear about anyway.
<Okay.
Yeah, I mean we get along
with them really well.
It’s a different world sometimes
when you’re dealing with
two different cultures.
If you go up there and say
you’re gonna be there on Wednesday.
You show up, they may not
be ready for you at all
and you’re like, “We told you
we were gonna be here on Wednesday.”
and they’re like, “Which Wednesday?
You didn’t say which Wednesday.”
I mean time is a completely relative term.
They’re very untrusting.
They’re very protective of each other
and all of ’em have nicknames.
<Okay.
Like Dudes, Pickles, Mouse.
So…
So I called…
I lost Mouse’s phone number.
I called everywhere around
that I could think of
and asked if they could
tell me how to get a hold of Mouse.
They 100% had never heard of Mouse.
So I gave his real name.
“Boy, never heard of that.”
I’m calling all the neighbors now.
So I’ve gotta talk to him
about some horses that he has for me
that I’ve gotta get up and buy hor…
“Oh, horses?”
“You’re talking about Horses.”
“Yeah, we can tell you
how to get a hold of Mouse.”
And then they would
give me the phone number.
[all laughing]
“And that’s my cousin.”
They said, “That’s my cousin.”
TRINITY: “Oh, that’s my cousin.” yeah.
PETER: Okay, so you have to have
true connections to get in there?
You gotta have some connections.
PETER: Which is sort of cool in a way,
once you get those connections.
Yeah.
The problem is that the fellas that
we dealt with over the years
are kinda getting pretty aged,
or dying, or dead, you know? So…
-It’s hard to find some of the newer ones.
-We’ve lost those connections.
PETER: Oh, gotcha.
TRINITY: The ones we had is ’cause
Dad used to ride there as a kid.
So those guys are gone.
-Your parents’ old house is that one?
-Right there, yep.
-And someone lives there now?
-Someone lives there now, yeah.
They sold that and you guys
are building this one?
TRINITY: Yeah, building this place
right here.
We’ve owned it for many years but…
PETER: And this is all your land?
TRINITY: Up to the railroad tracks.
-Okay.
-It’s not very big.
What I’ve been seeing in my
limited time on this trip.
Two and a half weeks
from Texas all the way up to here.
I was under the impression
ranchers sell their land…
They’re loaded
Set for life.
But you’re saying
that’s not the case here.
It depends on how much land you have.
If you’ve got a couple thousand acres
in an area that’s okay…
You know, a decent area
that people want to move to
it’s either development
or somebody who’s really, really wealthy.
Somebody from Microsoft
which is what we have here.
-They buy the big stuff, you know.
-Okay.
But these ranchers don’t really know
what to do with it anyway.
I mean if you’ve grown up all your life
this is what you do, is ranch.
-All your life.
-Yep.
And then somebody comes along
and offers you $50 million for your ranch
for one thing, they’ll say, “No.”
because they’re always thinking
their kids are gonna do it
but right now what we’re running in to
is the kids don’t wanna do it anymore
because they’re seeing
what their parents have done.
I mean my friends that are ranchers,
they don’t go on vacation.
You know, they’ve been on four vacations
in the last 20 years, you know?
And they live and work on the ranch.
I mean, they get up, the kids help them…
-You did this lifestyle for 20 years?
-20 years.
Now you’re doing real estate.
So I managed this
horse leasing business for 20 years.
<Okay.
And I started out as a teenager
living out here in a camper.
There was nothing here.
There was not a corral,
there was not a house, there was nothing.
Then I got married at 18.
Managed that business
’cause my dad was injured.
[laughs] No, no, I had a house
that was about 15 miles from here.
<Okay, okay.
So we drove here every day
and through those years,
you know, you’d work…
long, long hours.
In the morning at 6:00
I’d go change the neighbor’s water lines
and then come back here, do that…
I’d leave for two days
to go to the Bob Marshall Wilderness
to pack for an outfitter.
Meaning you pack up mules.
‘Cause everything has to be
packed in and out on mules
and you pack up mules and pack in guests.
<Okay.
Pack stuff back out,
meat, and hay, and things like that.
And then come back here,
ride for a rancher.
Meaning you move cows for him
and work for him basically,
and make some extra money
and then go do the horse leasing again
and then put up hay.
Working solid from 5:00
in the morning until dark
or even staying somewhere over night.
And still we were…
And you get a flat tire, and you don’t
have enough money to fix your flat tire.
I mean it was that tight of a budget.
-You’re just breaking even?
-You’re just breaking even.
At some point I’m like,
“You gotta go at this a different way.”
You gotta get out of it,
make money to get back in.
It’s ’cause it’s what they know
or they absolutely love it?
Well, here’s the thing.
You talk to somebody and it’s like
well, you could sell this place, right?
and go buy another ranch in Oklahoma
or at the other side
of Montana or whatever.
-Where it’s cheaper?
-Where it’s a lot cheaper.
They won’t do that because they’re
tied to that specific land.
It’s almost like a spiritual tie to land.
Land has a grab on you
and you won’t understand it
until you deal with families
who are five generation ranchers.
It’s not that they want land.
It’s that they want that land.
PETER: So the locals
are getting squeezed out
or can’t afford, or what’s the story?
Totally can’t afford.
Because everybody wants to move to Montana
the land thing has become a big issue.
There isn’t any more land obviously.
after pasture, after pasture.
There is land
but just not for sale, right?
There’s land but not for sale
or it hasn’t been developed.
So you can’t build on it.
PETER: So that’s where
the friction is right now, correct?
With these old communities
and then if a rancher sells off…
Like did your dad have a problem with that
because there are say 20 to 30 new houses
because he sold the land?
So people don’t really
understand what’s going on.
So they have a problem with it
on both sides.
<Okay.
So they’re like,
“Why isn’t there cheaper housing?”
and so they’re upset that you’re
selling a house for X amount of money.
<Okay.
But technically you’re
selling it for that because
there’s such high demand for
a very, very little amount of real estate.
So they don’t want you
to develop anything
which would actually drop the price
-because you’d have a supply.
-Yeah.
But you don’t wanna
develop the really good land.
PETER: I mean look at this view.
TRINITY: Yeah.
PETER: I mean why would you wanna
develop that if this was your house?
I mean, look at that.
-You don’t want a bunch of houses there.
What is the dynamic between
those coming in from the cities
and the locals?
Different ideologies of course
but I guess it depends who you’re dealing
with or what’s your thoughts on that?
-You know, a couple years ago…
-Yeah.
The people who were coming in here
were coming in because it’s beautiful.
They want part of Montana
and they wanna basically come in
and lock the gate behind them.
Those people, we didn’t
get along with very well.
<Why?
‘Cause they brought
their ideology with them
from where they didn’t
want to be in the first place.
But now the people who are coming from the
pandemic are not quite the same people.
Most of them are coming from
because they want what we have here.
The more freedom
the ability to raise your kid
the way you want
and have it in a school that’s small.
So you can know everybody
in the community and things like that.
Those people fit in much better.
Two years ago I coulda
built this house for
half what I could build it for right now.
And here’s the problem
with that in with the locals.
Somebody’s selling a house
somewhere in California.
-Let’s use that, okay?
-Yeah.
And it’s high real estate values.
They come over here with a chunk of money.
Somebody that’s living in Townsend
they don’t have that chunk of money.
So if they wanna go
from this house to that house
that cost has more than tripled
in the last two years.
They can’t…
They don’t make any more money
The inflation is killing ’em on…
‘Cause they’re making
the same amount of money
now the expenses are more.
<Okay.
And they can’t step up.
So there’s nowhere for them to go.
Does that build
a tension in the community?
Is there resentment?
There’s resentment there for that
because when somebody comes in with money
you’re just viewed as somebody with money.
Even though you may have gotten
your money from a very legitimate thing
or you believe the same things,
it doesn’t really matter.
You’re beating somebody out
that lived here for 40 years.
<Yeah.
That now can’t afford the house
that you just bought.
So I’ve been on both sides of that.
I lived in Lake Tahoe,
late 90s, early 2000s
and
especially at those times
there was no way I was buying a house.
So I moved to Reno, Nevada
because I could buy a house there.
And everyone was like,
“Ugh, Reno, what a hole.”
Which it was, still sort of is
but it’s gotten a lot better.
Anyways, so I had to move, right?
And then I’ve lived in San Francisco.
There’s no way I was gonna buy
a million and a half fixer-upper.
So I’ve moved from these locations
because I was in that position.
So I was just a realist.
Like, “Not gonna happen for me,
I’m getting out of here.”
Now I’m on the other side,
bought a house in Florida.
My wife and I live in
and by me buying a house
I helped drive up real estate.
-Right?
-Mm-hmm.
So I’m part of it,
I don’t want to be a hypocrite with it.
And that’s the thing is that…
I think you gotta realize
that you can’t be against these people.
You have to realize
what is actually going on.
That doesn’t mean you can stop it.
You can’t stop it from happening.
You just have to understand
if you wanna do better
you may have to move to an area like Reno.
People would rather
complain about it though
than actually go do what’s hard.
<Yeah.
So you have to do what’s hard
to actually get to where people are
that have what you want.
-And that should motivate you?
-That should.
It doesn’t usually but it should
That’s why there’s so much
opportunity in the world.
Lots of people focus on the negative
but that means there’s positive there too.
That means there’s things
that people won’t do.
-So why don’t you go do them?
So this is the old Geiger homestead.
PETER: Geiger homestead?
TRINITY: The Geigers came out here
in about 1900.
Homesteading though,
they passed the homestead act
to get people to move out here.
<Yeah.
Basically you could
move onto a 160 acre plot of land
and then prove it up.
Which means to prove it up you had to
live here and actually make it pay
for a specific period of time
and then if you did that
you were able to go file documents
that gave you the land.
So they did that, obviously
you can see the cabin on the left there.
That’s what they started with obviously.
You build that first ’cause
you’re trying to get something up quick.
Winters here are brutal.
Especially in something like that.
-As you can imagine.
-Yep.
And then once they made it
then they built that part
and then their daughter
she married the only son
of the Whitehead place
which is right over the hill here
connected to this place.
And they made the two places one.
-How many acres are we on right now?
-So this is… I’m not sure.
-It’s about 250.
-Okay.
TRINITY: And then that’s
like 500 over there.
TRINITY: So they made
those two properties one place
and then the parents,
once they died they abandoned this place
and moved over there
and then that place was sold in the ’50s.
That’s Canyon Ferry Lake.
Which is a reservoir.
-Okay, so that dam was put in 1955.
-Okay.
That’s part of this story.
The guy whose ranch
is underneath that lake
was forced to sell it to the government
for that particular lake to be put in
and he came up here
and bought this property
from the Geigers in the ’50s.
-It’s like Three River Gorges in China?
-Right.
-Except he got money for it instead.
-Yeah.
They hold a major grudge.
-Still to this day?
-Oh, yeah.
‘Cause they didn’t get
what the property was worth.
They got what the government
would give them.
The couldn’t replace it
but they did replace it
with some really nice land here.
They lost that place.
You could say that they up sold to here
but you didn’t see under the lake,
it was pretty cool. [laughs]
Okay, but to be fair,
that was a long time ago
and they’re sitting on how many
millions do you think this is?
This is priceless because you can’t…
You’re not making this anymore.
This is like something
you can actually access but has trees
you’re right up next to the mountains.
This borders Forrest Service and then
this is all the Elkhorn Mountains.
So this is full of elk. I mean,
elk are coming down in here…
PETER: This is one of
the most beautiful places I’ve been.
It’s got something to it
energetically.
Yeah, isn’t it?
Like this wind coming through
and these grasses and
these clusters of Aspen trees.
Big fields, rolling hills
off to a lake and
mountains, clouds, and then this.
You just…
There are many stories
that happened in here, right?
TRINITY: Absolutely.
PETER: And now the story is cow poop.
[both chuckle]
TRINITY: Yeah, the story is cow poop.
TRINITY: They have kind of taken it over.
[chuckles]
TRINITY: They had to burn
a lot of wood that’s for sure.
To keep this place warm.
-I guarantee it.
-Oh, yeah.
So every room when they
built the house back then
had a chimney in it, a fireplace.
PETER: So you think
it will fall over in a few years or…
TRINITY: I’d say probably 20 years,
it’s gonna fall over.
PETER: Whoa.
PETER: Birds coming out of here.
TRINITY: The pigeon kinda got you, huh?
[both chuckling]
PETER: All right, Trinity, you ready
to get hit in the face with pigeons?
TRINITY: Yeah, you gotta
watch out for those.
TRINITY: This was like a pantry cupboard.
PETER: Okay, pantry cupboard.
TRINITY: ‘Cause this was the kitchen.
PETER: Look at that, it’s like a picture.
TRINITY: Yeah, what do you
think of that view?
PETER: That’s your kitchen view.
TRINITY: And then this place used to
sell milk to the miners who were up here.
That’s one of the ways they made money.
PETER: Yeah, I don’t
feel bad for these people.
They landed on something amazing.
How do they feel about
us walking around it by the way?
PETER: So you know the guy
that owns this land?
-Yeah, he’s a good friend of mine.
-Okay.
TRINITY: There’s two types of people
who inherit ranches.
Some of them inherit ’em as like
you know… “This should be mine.”
and then it’s kinda just because
they were brought up that way
and then there’s Cory.
He feels he needs to earn it
and he works more
than anybody I’ve ever seen.
He wants to run it
but not run it half way.
He wants to run it better
than anybody else did before him.
I don’t know if you can
imagine going through a winter.
You were talking about the
sound of the wind through the trees.
That has a completely different
sound in the middle of winter
when there’s no leaves
on the trees and this is barren.
Blowing snow, and cold, and dark.
TRINITY: Trying to think
where the wildflowers would be
’cause there’s patches of those.
Like yellow, and pink,
and everything all over the place up here.
-Especially up there, you can see those.
-Oh wow, look at this.
TRINITY: The miners that came here…
I mean I’m sure
they missed gold everywhere.
There’s probably pockets of gold
and big veins of gold.
They’ve gotten all the easy stuff, right?
So for example, this. I don’t know
if we’re gonna pick it up on the camera.
-That’s a mine up there, right?
-Too far away?
It’s a mine tailing,
so basically what they were doing
they were testing
to see if there was gold there.
And obviously there wasn’t ’cause
there’s not a big mine there so…
PETER: Okay, my question was
there’s gotta be some much gold left
because they haven’t been
able to go in every bit of rock.
And you haven’t, they’ve tested
where they think there could be gold.
So there’s a lot of areas,
even remote areas.
That you’re like,
“How did they get here?”
PETER: What if your buddy who owns this…
He could start tapping in
where he wanted, right?
And if he hits gold, he hits gold.
You know what makes ranching
and farming the easiest?
-What?
-Is when you hit oil.
That doesn’t tear your land up at all.
‘Cause all you have is one or two
oil wells sitting here and there, right?
-And it’s just pumping money all day long.
-Just pumping money, right.
Makes ranching pay very well.
Wow.
[Trinity chuckles]
Look at this.
PETER: So look,
from an outsider’s perspective.
This is something so special
that you don’t want it to be developed.
But you want to live in it
and that’s why we’re flawed.
Exactly.
-[Peter laughing]
-That’s human…
Human nature says I want a house here
but I don’t want anyone else
to have a house here.
♪ country ♪
This is kind of like a newer
development in Townsend.
This is what a lot of the areas that
ranches that people sell turn into.
This is one of our projects
and we’re building this for a person.
PETER: How long have you
had this company for?
About five years.
I’ve been in construction,
in this business
for about 8 or 10 years now.
<Okay.
for people coming to town?
Yeah.
‘Cause you’ve seen the ranching side
you saw the beauty we were just at
you don’t want to lose the beauty.
-How’s it feel?
-There is a battle internally.
Because when I see places get developed
is where the battle is.
When they’re already developed
and the houses are going all in
it’s like you’re not gonna run cows
on five acres, or two acres, or something.
There’s not stopping that.
And the other thing is
allowing people the freedom
to do what they want to do too.
<Right.
It’s like some people say
“Well we just need to stop
all people from coming to Montana
and building on this land and everything.”
but you can’t really.
That’s why I feel you have to
help the rancher make money
so he doesn’t develop land.
That’s the only way out.
You can’t stop people from coming
because they want to come here.
<Right.
I believe in freedom so I believe
they have the freedom to do that.
PETER: Okay, so basically
we’re standing right now
where cowboys and cows…
Used to roam.
PETER: Used to roam.
-Just a few years ago.
-Mm-hmm.
PETER: And that’s the change,
and now we have a beautiful home.
PETER: Nice place with a beautiful view.
PETER: So what’s a home like this
these days would you say?
That’s probably $800,000.
$750,000 to $800,000.
-Okay.
-On one acre.
PETER: Place like this, same thing?
Maybe a little less?
Can you imagine a year and a half
or two years ago
when you could sell a house
for $850,000 or $900,000
in some other city in the country and then
come here and build that for $250,000?
PETER: Building that for $250,000?
TRINITY: Yeah, with the land.
<Wow.
[Trinity chuckles]
People would have a job at Home Depot
selling something, coming out here,
and buying these places
and going to work at
the Home Depot in Helena
and pocketing $500,000.
I mean it was happening quite often.
There’s something that’s
difficult to tell this story.
It’s that ranchers, a lot of them
don’t want to be on camera.
They’re afraid to show
exactly what they do.
They’re afraid of the outside
judgment of what they do.
‘Cause they hear it a lot.
They hear the outside judging them
for being mean to their cattle
for just doing the normal things
to cattle, you know, raising cattle.
But I think that’s changing a little bit.
In one regard it’s because
they’re beginning to understand
that if they don’t speak up
they’re gonna get overridden
without ever saying anything, right?
<They’ll get rolled
and I think that’s why this series
from West Texas all the way to here
I’ve gotten ranches
that have wanted to speak
A lot of these ranchers,
the ones I’ve met, it’s…
Salt of the earth type people.
Work super hard.
-“Leave me alone.” mentality.
-Yes.
Everyone stay out of my life,
let me do my thing.
“I’m not gonna tell you how to live,
just don’t tell me how to live.”
-Right?
-Mm-hmm.
And they thought
they could get by with that.
And they thought they could
get by with it but
a lot of people moving into these places
don’t have that same ideology.
Mm-hmm.
They’re more vocal
about how things should be done.
And there’s that friction right now.
And they’re more willing to tell that.
You know, to say it publicly.
They feel…
And what I’m talking about is
people that are against
ranching or against raising animals
for human consumption or whatever
feel that it’s socially acceptable
to say those things in public.
Where ranchers feel
that it’s not or have felt
that it’s not okay to say that in public.
<Right.
So now they’re thinking
“We have to tell this side of the story
or we’re extinct.”
I have no problems for anyone’s views.
If they’re against ranching
and against meat…
Absolutely.
I would say educate as much as you can
’cause I knew nothing
two and a half weeks ago.
I have a lot more of an education now.
But if you’re gonna
hold true to the values
then you gotta be
a little smarter about it.
Meaning if you’re totally against cows
-being a vegan is not enough.
-Right.
-You can’t wear leather.
-Mm-hmm.
Nail polish, off-limits, right?
You have to know what comes out of a cow.
A lot of the products…
I didn’t know nail polish came from cows.
-But I learned that.
-Yeah.
And a lot of the things we use
come from cows.
So if someone stays true to those values
I can respect that.
Absolutely.
It’s a little hard if they don’t.
-Exactly, it’s a bit hypocritical.
-It is.
-So old building in Downtown.
-Don’t step in that hole.
PETER: Okay, so you’re
making apartments here?
-The top of this building is apartments.
-Okay.
TRINITY: We’re selling these.
And then the bottom
will be commercial space.
This is an old building
obviously so we left
the original beams that are holding it up.
PETER: Oh, that’s so cool.
TRINITY: In this one, we were able
to leave the original brick exposed.
<Oh, great.
-So kind of a cool little place.
-Oh wow, so huge in here.
See, I would call this small.
[laughing]
<I’m thinking like a studio apartment
or one bedroom.
<It’s a nice space here.
So these are two bedroom, two bath.
So these places are now
going to be sold to the locals
because they can’t afford to buy a house.
Young couples…
They’re okay with living
in an apartment setting?
Right.
Definitely young couples.
Young couples, ’cause you gotta start out.
You don’t have to manage
anything here, it’s easy.
So what’s the price
of something like this when it’s done?
This is now like $340,000
for one of these.
<Okay.
This is kind of neat,
for Townsend there’s nothing like this.
Right, how are the locals taking to this?
-Or they just don’t know yet?
-They love it.
See ’cause now we’re taking
something that did look horrible.
It was a total eye sore for the community
and making it into something
that looks really nice.
<Yeah.
So they really like this stuff.
PETER: It is absolutely beautiful,
you did a great job with this, Trinity.
the wood framing around the windows.
TRINITY: Yeah, isn’t that cool?
Kinda gives it a rustic feel.
PETER: What a cool little town you got.
-I like it.
-Yeah, it’s busy too, huh?
[chuckles]
We’re gonna get some food here?
This is one really big problem
in Townsend, is food.
-They’re not open, so…
-But look at this place.
[laughing]
PETER: This is where we were gonna do…
You said the subs were excellent, right?
TRINITY: Excellent,
they’re very, very good.
PETER: So how do you get someone
excited about moving into town
if all the restaurants are closed?
That’s a problem.
So Mondays are really tough
’cause there’s like one restaurant
that’s open right now.
So we were gonna do
a little food sequence here but
it’s not happening in Townsend today.
So we’re going to, you said,
a very beautiful ranch, correct?
Yes, it’s a very beautiful place.
Very secluded.
Extremely secluded.
♪ country ♪
As a teenager that was just me,
I wasn’t with my parents.
My parents lived in Helena
and I would go back there every weekend
and I’d go fishing
in this creek every evening.
[music continues]
-Antelope?
-Mm-hmm, pronghorn.
PETER: And this is a massive ranch, huh?
TRINITY: We’re talking 300,000
400,000 acres, maybe more than that.
I have no idea.
PETER: So like a small
European country basically?
Yeah.
PETER: Little bit of exaggeration but…
It’s an interesting story.
I would love to talk to those guys
’cause there’s two brother that married
only children who were females
that were going to
inherit massive ranches.
Both the brothers did.
Like we’re talking
the biggest ranches in Montana.
TRINITY: I would love to hear
the story on that. [laughs]
[gate clanking]
PETER: What elevation are we at now?
[doors slam]
TRINITY: Now we’re about 6,500
something like that.
PETER: Okay, so we climbed about
3,000 maybe from Townsend?
Yeah, so this area gets a lot of snow.
PETER: What are these, bunk houses?
TRINITY: These were bunk houses.
Now they’re bunk houses
that people rent out.
So part of what ranchers
are doing to make money
to save, to keep their place
from development like this place.
You can book a cattle drive here.
<Okay.
So you can come
stay in these bunk houses
and then go on a cattle drive
and you can hunt here.
You can pay to hunt here,
things like that.
On top of their ranching
that’s actually paying them
probably more than the ranching itself.
This is an extremely
land rich, cash poor situation.
So what looks from the outside
is someone that’s very wealthy
it might not be the case.
They’re just sitting on the land.
Right, and a lot of times people see
people that have land like this
they’ll always have a new pickup.
You know, they’ll
run around on four-wheelers.
Everything looks groomed,
it’s a nice place
but that’s because they have to have it
that way to present to guests and things.
When you have a place as big as that
like Gault, he has a helicopter
that he flies because you can’t
get from one end of his place to the other…
-Neighbor.
-Oh, the neighbor, Gault, okay.
Has a helicopter.
It’s actually cost effective for him
to be able to check on something
25 miles away with a helicopter
rather than have to drive there
and take a whole day to do it, you know?
-Something ridiculous.
-They’re ridiculous.
I was talking to a rancher the other day
and we were talking about that.
He’s like, “On a good year we’re looking
for like $200 to $300 profit per calf.
<Yep.
And I’m like, “Well, yeah but then you
have the cow that you’ve raised for three years
to get the first calf from.
So you have to feed that cow
and keep it for three years.
How long does it take to pay that off
with $200 or $300 out of the calf?
He’s like,
“We don’t want to think about that.”
[laughing]
PETER: So here we have the rooms.
-Can I open one?
-They’re probably locked.
[door opens]
TRINITY: [surprised] They’re not locked.
PETER: Here we go, wow.
-Isn’t that cool?
-Bear pelt.
-That’s an elk.
-Oh okay, elk pelt.
PETER: And then log cabin style,
very nice.
<Hey, let’s leave the link to these guys.
-Are they looking for people?
-Yeah, Battle Creek Ranch.
-Battle Creek Ranch.
-Mm-hmm.
TRINITY: They’re coming up here
in the next few days to get it ready.
PETER: Okay, so this is
the start of the season?
TRINITY: Yeah, so like barely…
We’re getting here…
They haven’t even been here yet.
-And we’re almost in mid-June.
-Yes.
The season’s very short.
TRINITY: Very short.
[birds chirping]
TRINITY: Literally you can’t hear
a train, you can’t hear a vehicle
you don’t hear an airplane going over.
You hear absolutely nothing out here but
the sound of what it sounded like
a hundred years ago.
TRINITY: These people are so nice.
The Rickmeyers are great people.
-It’s okay to go in?
-Yeah, I think we can go in.
-There’s a bear in here.
-There’s a bear in here.
PETER: Wow.
PETER: How do you feel
about the bear in the house?
Is that your style, Trinity?
Uh, I don’t think it’s my wife’s style.
They have game all
over the place, moose…
TRINITY: Yes, well, ’cause this is
a hunting lodge as well.
PETER: Okay.
PETER: So this is what
a hunting lodge looks like?
-They always put the game inside?
-Yep.
PETER: It’s a bit creepy, I gotta say.
[both laughing]
TRINITY: It’s creepy, yeah?
PETER: A little bit, no?
You’re used to it but…
TRINITY: Oh yeah.
PETER: Wouldn’t be my first choice,
but hey, we’re all different.
-That’s the beauty of it.
-Yeah.
All right, end of the road, huh?
End of the road.
-Thank you, Trinity.
-Absolutely, it was my pleasure.
For bringing us in
because this is a world
most of us don’t have any clue about.
Like most issues in life
it’s super complicated.
You can see the ranching perspective.
You can see the local perspective.
You can see the person
moving in perspective.
I see your perspective.
Foot in both worlds.
There’s no easy answer, right and wrong,
or a solution I would say.
Definitely no easy solution,
that’s for sure.
Okay, and I also want to mention, guys.
Trinity has an awesome YouTube channel.
Super knowledgeable
as you can see today
and he understands
ranching and cowboying.
It’s all about
this part of the world, right?
Absolutely, the reality
of what it’s like out here
and being at one with what’s
going on with your food and with life.
You know, this part of life.
And it’s done…
There’s a lot of stuff like…
Not like you online,
but there’s a lot of stuff online
that’s educational that gets a bit boring
his content doesn’t get boring.
It’s really interesting.
That’s it, guys.
From Montana, thanks for coming along.
♪ country ♪

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