Cattle Drives in Montana- About Us
Ranching is a heritage. It is handed down through parents and grandparents, taught by example, and learned through hard work. In the late 1940s, Joe and Iris Bassett, newlywed and expecting their first child, purchased 17 mother cows. Over the next several years, the Bassetts leased land, moved many times, and slowly expanded their herd. In the 1950s, Joe leased land in southern Montana. His cattle herd had grown large enough to allow him to lease a large pasture on Claude Lewis’s Dryhead Ranch. The Bassett Pasture retained his name, and 50 years later, the herds we drive on our cattle drives are still mostly cattle descended from those original 17 head.
In 1967, Joe and Iris purchased the Schively Ranch. Tucked against the Pryor mountains, deep in the heart of the Crow Reservation, the Schively was lush, secluded, and most importantly, theirs. For the next twenty years, Joe and Iris raised cattle, children, leased more land, expanded, and brought their dream to fruition. In the summer of 1983, they hosted their first guests on a cattle drive holiday which began a tradition and enterprise that is still going strong thirty years later.
In the winter of 1990, a prime opportunity presented itself, and the Bassetts purchased the neighboring Dryhead. For a decade, they worked the two ranches: spring and early summer at the Dryhead, late summer and fall at the Schively. In 2002, the Schively sold, and the family was able to concentrate fully on developing the Dryhead. In the 1990s, Joe established a Quarter Horse breeding program that now is distinguished and respected, producing around 35 blue-blooded foals every spring.
Cattle Drives in Montana
In 2005, Joe lost his life in a tragic machinery accident. But he left behind his wife of 56 years, six children, 28 grandchildren, and 56 great-grandchildren. His legacy has been firmly established.
Today, four generations live and work the Dryhead Ranch. The guest business has flourished, and each summer the family hosts between 250 and 350 guests for cattle drive vacations. The 17 cattle purchased in 1949 have multiplied to include over 800 head. The horse program has produced money-earners, competitive athletes, valuable brood mares, and solid ranch horses. Joe and Iris’s sons, daughters, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren are working to pass on the legacy. You, too can experience the Dryhead Ranch legacy when you visit us for a cattle drive holiday!