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  • The cattle drive is an enduring symbol of the American West.

  • The image of tough cowboys pushing huge herds of cows across the open range is stamped on

  • our imaginations.

  • But by the 21st centurywith western states growing and changing fast - most horseback

  • cattle drives have been run off the range by suburban sprawl, government regulation,

  • lower beef consumption, and the return of protected predators.

  • But there's a group of stubborn men and women in Wyoming who every spring push thousands

  • of cows along the same 70-mile route their ancestors pioneered 125 years ago.

  • As we first reported last fall, this throwback to the old west is called the Green River

  • Drift, and it's the longest-running cattle drive left in America.

  • Just after dawn one Saturday in June of 2021, I'm trying to help Wyoming rancher Albert

  • Sommers and his team move hundreds of cowsmost of them mothers with new calvesin

  • a cloud of dust toward high pastures where they'll graze all summer.

  • ALBERT SOMMERS: And if you feel inclined, Bill, you can whistle.

  • You can yell.

  • BILL WHITAKER: I can do anything to m-- move these--

  • ALBERT SOMMERS: This is like a cowboy's therapy.

  • You get to voice everything out.

  • BILL WHITAKER: “C'mon Indy.”

  • I DO THE BEST I CAN...

  • BILL WHITAKER: “C'mon cows, move cows!”

  • BUT IT'S NOT QUITE AS GOOD AS LITTLE SHAD SWAIN, THE SON OF ALBERT'S RANCHING

  • PARTNER, TY.

  • BILL WHITAKER: Shad is 5 years old?

  • TY SWAIN: He is.

  • BILL WHITAKER: Shad, if you can do this I can do this, ok?

  • SHAD GOT TO DO IT WITH A SOUR APPLE LOLIPOP IN HIS MOUTH.

  • ALL OF US, WITH THE HELP OF SOME FEARLESS HERDING DOGSMOVE CATTLE OVER HILLS, ACROSS

  • CREEKS, (nats) THROUGH SHIMMERING GROVES OF ASPEN, ALONG WHAT COWBOYS CALL DRIVEWAYSAND

  • ACROSS HIGHWAYS, NORTH TOWARD THOSE DISTANT MOUNTAINS.

  • BILL WHITAKER: How long does it take you to get them to the summer feeding area?

  • ALBERT SOMMERS: So it-- it takes about 13 days from when we start to when we get up

  • there where we wanna be.

  • We travel up to about 60 to 70 miles.

  • ALBERT SOMMERS: “Hey, Cow!

  • Hey Cow, hey cow

  • ALBERT SOMMERS IS ONE OF 11 RANCHERS WHO WORK TOGETHER TO DRIVE MORE THAN SEVEN THOUSAND

  • HEAD OF CATTLE ON THE GREEN RIVER DRIFT.

  • THOSE 11 RANCHES ALL LIE IN WYOMING'S GREEN RIVER VALLEY, SOUTH OF JACKSON HOLE.

  • HERE, THE WYOMING RANGE IS TO THE WEST, THE WIND RIVER RANGE IS TO THE EAST, THE VALLEY

  • BETWEEN IS PART BONE-DRY HIGH DESERT AND VERDANT RIVER DRAINAGE WHERE NATIVE AMERICANS ONCE

  • HUNTED BUFFALO.

  • TODAY, THE GREEN RIVER RUNS THROUGH ALBERT SOMMERS' RANCH.

  • BILL WHITAKER: And your family's been doing this how long?

  • ALBERT SOMMERS: My family's been doing this since about 1903.

  • ALBERT'S NEIGHBOR JEANNIE LOCKWOOD'S FAMILY HAS BEEN AT IT EVEN LONGER

  • JEANNIE LOCKWOOD: This was my granddad's ranch.

  • He homesteaded this in 1889.

  • HER RANCH IS ABOUT 20 MILES SOUTH OF ALBERT SOMMERS' PLACE.

  • WE JOINED HER ON HORSEBACK BEFORE DAWN THE DAY SHE STARTED MOVING HER CATTLE NORTH

  • JEANNIE LOCKWOOD: “There's that sun.

  • It's gonna peek out over the hill

  • ALONG THE SAME PATH HER FAMILY HAS TREKKED FOR 125 YEARS.

  • BILL WHITAKER: So you're going to be doing this for the next two weeks?

  • JEANNIE LOCKWOOD: Yes.

  • Yeah.

  • BILL WHITAKER: Getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning.

  • JEANNIE LOCKWOOD: Or 3.

  • Or 2:30.

  • BILL WHITAKER: Or 2:30.

  • THOSE EARLY STARTS BARELY COMPARE TO WHAT OLD-TIMERS ENDURED, WHEN COWBOYS STAYED OUT

  • UNDER THE STARS ALL NIGHT AND THE SUN ALL DAY UNTIL THEY GOT THE HERD TO HIGH PASTURES.

  • ALBERT SOMMERS: “Well, I think we can go home.

  • What do you think?”

  • TODAY, THEY GO HOME AFTER EACH DAY'S DRIVE.

  • THE NEXT MORNING THEY TRAILER THEIR HORSES BACK TO WHERE THEY'D LEFT THE CATTLE, ROUND

  • UP THOSE THAT HAVE STRAYED, AND MOVE 'EM OUT AGAIN BEFORE DAWN.

  • THE OLD CHUCKWAGON: IT'S BEEN REPLACED BY A COOLER AND THE TAILGATE OF A PICKUP TRUCK.

  • BILL WHITAKER: But compared to what your grandfather did-

  • JEANNIE LOCKWOOD: Our ancestors, yeah.

  • BILL WHITAKER: This is easy.

  • JEANNIE LOCKWOOD: Yeah, we have it easy.

  • ONLY RANCHERS WOULD CALL THIS EASY.

  • DRIVING CATTLE IS HOT, DUSTY, DEMANDING, AND THEY'LL BE LUCKY TO MAKE A $50 PROFIT PER

  • COW WHEN THEY FINALLY SEND THEM TO MARKET.

  • JEANNIE'S DAUGHTER HALEY AND SON-IN-LAW FRANCE HELP WRANGLE THE HERD, HER HUSBAND,

  • MILFORD, SHUTTLES THE HORSE TRAILERS.

  • THEY ALL LEFTREGULARJOBS AND MOVED BACK TO THE RANCH SEVERAL YEARS AGO AFTER

  • JEANNIE'S BROTHER, WHO HAD BEEN RUNNING THE PLACE, DIED IN AN ACCIDENT.

  • JEANNIE LOCKWOOD: It takes all of us to do it, it seems like.

  • So -

  • JEANNIE WAS A LIBRARIAN.

  • BILL WHITAKER: So what is it about this place that makes you give up regular, normal American

  • jobs and come back here to do this really hard work?

  • JEANNIE LOCKWOOD: Well, first of all, it was home to me.

  • And it was hard work for my parents.

  • And I know it was hard work for my grandparents.

  • And I just couldn't see lettin' it go.

  • Labor of love, it's called.

  • Yeah.

  • BILL WHITAKER: Where's the emphasis?

  • Labor or love?

  • JEANNIE LOCKWOOD: Love.

  • LOVE MIGHT SUSTAIN THE GREEN RIVER DRIFT, BUT IT WAS BORN IN CRISIS.

  • CLINT GILCHRIST: The winter of 1889/'90-- is really what started the Drift.

  • CLINT GILCHRIST IS AN HISTORIAN WHO GREW UP IN THIS VALLEY AND HAS WRITTEN ABOUT THAT

  • HARSH WINTER.

  • CLINT GILCHRIST: And it killed off-- the vast majority of the cattle herds that

  • were here, because they weren't prepared for a bad winter.

  • Nobody had prepared for a bad winter.

  • WHITE SETTLERS WERE NOT PREPARED.

  • NATIVE TRIBES, WHICH THE U.S. GOVERNMENT DROVE OFF THE LAND TO MAKE ROOM FOR HOMESTEADERS,

  • KNEW THAT WINTERS IN THE GREEN RIVER VALLEY COULD BE MERCILESS.

  • CLINT GILCHRIST: The Shoshone Indians and the Crow Indians were one of the dominant

  • tribes in these areas.

  • And they didn't winter here.

  • They wintered over on the other side of the mountains, where it was s-- you know, less

  • elevation.

  • AFTER THAT BRUTAL WINTER, RANCHERS REALIZED THEY HAD TO MOVE THEIR CATTLE OUT OF THE VALLEY

  • LONG ENOUGH TO GROW A CROP OF HAY.

  • BILL WHITAKER: So while the cattle are up in the uplands, you're able to grow hay.

  • ALBERT SOMMERS: Right.

  • BILL WHITAKER: And that feeds them all winter long.

  • ALBERT SOMMERS: Right.

  • And so that was the genesis of what we call "The Drift.”

  • THE DRIFT,” ALBERT SOMMERS SAYS, BECAUSE WHEN THE FIRST FALL FROST CHILLS THE MOUNTAINS,

  • THE COWS INSTINCTIVELY HEAD FOR HOME.

  • BILL WHITAKER: And just on their own?

  • Turn around and start coming back?

  • ALBERT SOMMERS: Turn around and start

  • we open the gates

  • BILL WHITAKER: Drift back?

  • ALBERT SOMMERS: And they drift back.

  • In the spring, we drive them.

  • In the fall, they drift.

  • WHEN THE DRIFT BEGAN 125 YEARS AGO, THERE WERE NO REGULATIONS, NO SUBDIVISIONS, JUST

  • WIDE OPEN RANGE.

  • ALBERT SOMMERS: “Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.”

  • Now, ranchers drive their cattle to U.S. Forest Service land - the largest grazing allotment

  • in the country - 127,000 acres of the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

  • Last summer, they paid the federal government $1.35 a month for every cow and her calf.

  • JAMIE BURGESS: “Murdoch!

  • Sommers!

  • Price!

  • Murdoch!”

  • HOW MUCH EACH RANCHER WILL OWE IS TALLIED AT A PLACE CALLED THECOUNTING GATE.”

  • IT'S JAMIE BURGESS' JOB TO READ BRANDS OR EAR TAGS AND CALL OUT WHICH COWS BELONG

  • TO WHICH RANCH

  • JAMIE BURGESS: “Sommers!

  • Sommers!”

  • Sommers, Sommers, Price, Price

  • WHILE HIS WIFE RITA ADDS UP THE TOTALS.

  • WHEN THE COWS FINALLY REACH MOUNTAIN PASTURES, THEY ARE HANDED OFF TORANGE RIDERS,”

  • Bring em!

  • (whistle)”

  • LIKE BRITTANY HESELTINE, WHOSE JOB IS TO WATCH OVER THEM ALL SUMMER.

  • BILL WHITAKER: And you're up here by yourself?

  • BRITTANY HESELTINE: Yes.

  • Just me, my horses, my three dogs and a cat.

  • BILL WHITAKER: How long altogether?

  • BRITTANY HESELTINE: It'll be about five months.

  • EVERY DAY FOR THOSE FIVE MONTHS, BRITTANY IS OUT AT DAWN TO CHECK ON THE 600 OR SO CATTLE

  • IN HER CARE.

  • BRITTANY HESELTINE: First thing in the morning, you come out on a rise.

  • And especially in the fall, the elk are bugling and just talking to each other.

  • Brittany earned her degree in veterinary science in 2019.

  • This was her third summer as a range rider.

  • BILL WHITAKER: It's really hard work.

  • What's the attraction?

  • What's the draw?

  • BRITTANY HESELTINE: Something about it speaks to my soul.

  • I really can't describe what.

  • But all winter long I'm, like, "Oh, couple months more, couple months more.

  • And then I'll be up at home."

  • Her home for the summer was a small trailer in an isolated camp; off the grid, no running

  • water, no cell service.

  • At the start of last summer, four of the five drift range riders were women.

  • SOT: (JEANNIE LOCKWOOD INTV)

  • BILL WHITAKER: You told us that you thought women made the best range riders.

  • Why would that be?

  • JEANNIE LOCKWOOD: They'