Mountain Ranch is a ten-year look at the disappearing world of cattle ranching in the mountains of Colorado.
The mountain ranches of western Colorado preserve a way of life that has nearly vanished from the American scene. Families who have lived on the same land for five or six generations raise cattle much as their ancestors did, following an annual cycle of breeding, birthing, branding, grazing, and selling livestock. Michael Crouser spent more than a decade (2006–2016) photographing family cattle ranches in Colorado, intrigued “not by the ways their lives are changing but by the way they have stayed the same.” He was, he says, “most interested in the traditional elements of these traditional lives, . . . what they call ‘cowboying.'”
The ever-increasing commercial and residential development of traditional ranch land and the economic difficulties facing a new generation of ranchers threaten the future of cattle ranching in the mountains of Colorado. Mountain Ranch powerfully records the last vestiges of a tradition that exerts a nearly universal fascination and mystique—cowboying in the American West.