- Guest Ranch
Long before the days of guest ranches, retreats, and trail rides there was a sleepy little cabin and some land 60 miles north of Helena, MT. This is where pioneer Gustav Rittel homesteaded in the late 1880s.
Gold, with the help of the railroad, had drawn him west to Montana in 1885. He arrived in Helena where he picked up the brewing trade, first at the Herman-Rister Brewery and then at the famous Kessler Brewery.
1889, the year Montana became a state, Gustav married Augusta Klause. Three sons were born in Helena and soon after, Gustav and Augusta took over a tiny cabin and a small plot of land in the Dearborn River area deserted by an old French trapper. On this homestead another son and a daughter were born.
This was the very start of the Blacktail Ranch, though of course, it wasn't near what you picture today.
Gustav and Augusta's youngest boy, John Frank, married a local homesteader's daughter Minnie Moren in 1928 and had a son, also named John Frank, who is better known as Tag.
By 1948 Tag had built six small cabins up the creek and started an outfitting business. The heart of the Blacktail Ranch at the time was back country hunting, but there were also fishermen and some summertime guests.
As a young man, Tag married Lyla Carlson and had four children; Eric, Jeri, Lori and John. Unfortunately after a long illness, Lyla passed away in 1982. After some time, Tag fell in love again and married Sandra Renner. Over the years, and with generous applications of good humor and ''elbow grease'', the kids grew, the cows were sold and a true guest ranch was emerging.
Whom to Contact
- Sandra Renner