Yeee Haaaaa! In many ways southern Alberta has come to be defined by its ranches. A ranch is an area of land, including the buildings, where a farmer grows crops or raises animals for sale. Places like the Bar U Ranch and the Cochrane Ranch bring up images of the "Wild West" for many - an era made (in)famous in movies, novels and television programs of the twentieth century. However, ranching in Alberta developed generally much later than its American counterpart and lasted for only a very brief period, following the extinction of the prairie buffalo herd and diminishing with the opening of the West to settlement and a series of harsh winters.
While most of the technology and methods for ranching were adopted from the American cowboy experience, the ranch-hands (workers) on these early Alberta ranches were just as likely to be the sons of the British upper middle classes as they were the rough and tumble American cowboy.