Wyoming Legend: Two Dot Ranch is intricately laced into Wyoming’s rich history
The Two Dot Ranch has been the topic of a unique story, one depicting the vast landscape in Wyoming.
According to Author Nancy Heyl Ruskowsky, the privately held piece of paradise has changed hands and purpose over the years through the efforts of the settlers, homesteaders, managers, employees and owners who have called it home since the last quarter of the 19th Century.
The Two Dot headquarters was once a former stagecoach stop, but now the family-operated ranch runs cattle year-round, just east of Cody, along the scenic Chief Joseph Highway.
Today, the sprawling and rugged ranch in Park County, is home to thousands of Angus cattle and is managed by Wyoming native Mark McCarty.
McCarty is no stranger to the Big Horn Basin, as he was born and raised on his family’s ranch in Cody and began managing the Two Dot in 1996. McCarty also manages the Quarter Circle Eleven Ranch and owns and operates a ranch management and consulting company.
McCarty was also elected to the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust Board of Directors earlier this year.
The Two Dot Ranch has left its mark on Wyoming’s history and impacted many who were fortunate enough to experience its mastic landscape.
Heyl Ruskowsky describes this in her book, noting the the Two Dot has been touched by popular historical figures “from John Colter, after he and the Corps of Discovery had succeeded in reaching the shores of the Pacific, to Chief Joseph, whose attempt to lead his people to safety in Canada took him through what would become Two Dot lands and to the many cooks, cowboys, hunters, travelers and guests who have experienced Two Dot’s grandeur.”
According to state historical documents, in 1879, Jim Carter trailed about 3,000 head of cattle from Oregon to the area of Pat OʼHaraʼs Creek, located near the present-day Two Dot Ranch.
Legendary stories speak of O’Hara first coming to the basin in 1854 while working for the American Fur Company. Still, another version has O’Hara arriving as a prospector where he lived in a dug-out on a hillside downstream from the Two Dot Ranch.
Bruce Graham, an award-winning artist born in 1961 in New York City, had ties to the West. His grandfather owned the well-known Two Dot Ranch during the height of large, Western cattle ranches. Bruce’s paintings portray Western life, landscapes and wildlife.
In 1999, the New York Times reported Houston Billionaire and Money Manager Fayez Sarofim purchased the Two Dot Ranch from the seller Yves Burrus, a banker based in Geneva.
“The Sarofim family and every owner prior has only added to the ranch, never taking anything away from it,” McCarty concludes.
While many have moved on, others remain in Park County and the surrounding area, sharing their stories and memories of the Two Dot Ranch to help others understand the span and complexity of one of the most remarkable places on earth.
Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.