Dude ranches got started in the 1880s as rustic places for men to stay when they came out West from England and the east coast for hunting trips. By the early 20th century dude ranching had become a thriving business, which needed women to keep it going.
Women ran ranches with their husbands, or opened outfits of their own. Well-bred ladies from back East found freedom from social constraint at dude ranches, and female writers built careers on their dude ranching experiences.
In her illustrated lecture, Lynn Downey will tell stories about some of the fascinating women she encountered when researching her new book, American Dude Ranch: A Touch of the Cowboy and the Thrill of the West.
About Lynn Downey
Lynn Downey, the former Historian for Levi Strauss & Co., has been coming to Wickenburg for nearly twenty years. She is the author of Wickenburg: Images of America and Arizona’s Vulture Mine and Vulture City, which was a finalist for the Arizona History category at the 2021 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards.
She is also the author of the historical novel Dudes Rush In, which is set on a dude ranch in the fictional town of Tribulation, Arizona, which she based on Wickenburg. The book won a Will Rogers Medallion Award, and placed first in the Arizona Historical Fiction category at the New-Mexico-Arizona Book Awards.
Lynn is President of Women Writing the West, and is a consulting archivist. She was the guest curator for the Wickenburg’s West exhibit at the museum, and also managed the museum’s oral history program.
She just finished writing the sequel to her novel, which will be called Dude or Die.