The Mayer Ranch

        The location for Prairie Dog Cowboy really exists: Not as the Hyman Ranch or the Roberts Homestead, but the author took an area south of Hooker and north of Hardesty, Oklahoma as the setting for the book.            

        The Mayer Ranch, used fictitiously as the home of the Hyman family, has continuously been in the same family for nearly 120 years and was declared an Oklahoma Centennial Ranch in 1990. According to the documentation provided, the first crops and/or livestock on the
ranch included wild mustangs, cattle, and prairie hay.           

         The Mayer Ranch headquarters is presently owned by James K. Mayer, his wife Dallas, their son Tyler, and his wife Naomi. The original ranch was developed by Jim’s great-grandfather James Beasley. Jim and Anna Beasley’s daughter, Lyda, married Fred Mayer, and they continued with the ranch, passing it to their son Lewis and his wife Anna. 

          From the history of the Mayer Ranch headquarters as compiled by Dallas, about 1883 Jim Beasley, at the age of seventeen years, looked down from the back of his horse at the confluence (the flowing together) of the Beaver and Coldwater Rivers. He saw wild mustangs grazing on the hay meadows where the Beaver River ran narrow and deep. The grass grew to the water’s edge. Jim and his friend Walter Danilson became “mustangers.” They caught and broke the wild horses before sending them to Missouri, where Jim’s father sold the horses to homesteaders. As the numbers of mustangs shrunk, Jim became a cattleman.

          As cattle drives made their way from Texas to the railheads in Kansas, baby calves were left behind. Jim rounded them up and started the B bar Ranch. The range of No Man’s Land was open to cattlemen in those days. According to Dallas’ account, the average spread for the cattlemen along the Beaver River lay three miles wide and ten miles long.

           However, the Organic Act of 1890 brought homesteaders, sodbusters (farmers), and barbed wire. The U.S. government took much of the land Jim Beasley had used and allowed homesteaders to claim it.  Still, Jim held part of the ranch together, and this portion has been in the Mayer family for over 100 years.