American Dude Ranch: A Touch of the Cowboy and the Thrill of the West

The Dude Ranch Foundation cordially invites you to meet author Lynn Downey at the Dude Ranch Museum!

When: Monday, July 25th, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Dude Ranch Museum, 1122 12th Street, Cody, WY 82414

Proceeds from the sale of the book support the Dude Ranch Foundation.
Join us and stay for the Cody Gun Fight!
Refreshments will be served.

“[In her book, Lynn] Downey follows dude ranching across the years, tracing its influence on everything from clothing to cooking and showing how ranchers adapted to changing times and vacation trends. Her book also offers a rare look at women’s place in this story, as they found personal and professional satisfaction in running their own dude ranches.

“However contested and complicated, western history is one of America’s national origin stories that we turn to in times of cultural upheaval. Dude ranches provide a tangible link from the real to the imagined past, and their persistence and popularity demonstrate how significant this link remains. This book tells their story—in all its familiar, eccentric, and often surprising detail.”

Make sure American Dude Ranch is on your reading list! The books are $25.00 each ($15 on Kindle). To purchase your copy, come on down to the Dude Ranch Museum on July 25th! You can also visit: or Amazon.

Thank you for your support for Lynn Downey, the Dude Ranch Foundation, and American Dude Ranch: A Touch of the Cowboy and the Thrill of the West!

Read the Reviews!

‘American Dude Ranch’ Review: The Tumbleweed Treatment

As the American frontier vanished, thousands sought escape from the modern world via a vacation spent around the cowboy campfire.

By Andrew R. Graybill | Wall Street Journal

Readers of a certain age may remember the 1991 movie “City Slickers,” in which three friends from New York head west to participate in a cattle drive as a cure for their midlife malaise. Their inexperience is played for laughs, as when Billy Crystal’s character accidentally sets off a stampede by using a battery-operated coffee grinder in camp. Jack Palance, in an Oscar-winning turn as the weathered trail boss, looks on with amusement as the frightened animals destroy the tents and chuckwagon before he brings the cattle to a sudden stop by firing his pistol into the air. “City folk,” he mutters with a smile. He could just as easily have called the trio “dudes.”

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The Thrill of the West

Discover the tourist West in American Dude Ranch

By Stuart Rosebrook | True West Magazine

In American Western history, dude ranches have been greatly enjoyed by hundreds of thousands but have rarely been considered for their importance in the growth of the West, the economic stability they brought to rural Western ranches and their direct effect on popular culture. American Dude Ranch: A Touch of the Cowboy and the Thrill of the West (University of Oklahoma, $24.95) by California historian Lynn Downey reverses that and brings us an up-to-date history of the Western guest ranch, from its origins 140 years ago at the Eaton Brothers Custer Trail ranch in Medora, Dakota Territory, to its influence on Western tourism, fashion, film, television and culture. Downey writes, “For 140 years dude ranches have given visitors from all over the world a touch of the cowboy and the thrill of the West. This book tells their story.”

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“American Dude Ranch,” “Tell Me Everything” and more books to read this month

By Sandra Dallas | The Denver Post

Nothing embodies the life of the Old West more than the dude ranch. Over the years, Hollywood stars such as Bela Lugosi and Gary Cooper (a real cowboy) to the Rockefellers flocked to these guest ranches to live the cowboy life, riding horses and hunting and fishing — or, in the case of Ernest Hemingway, finishing a novel.

In her highly entertaining and fact-filled “American Dude Ranch,” Lynn Downey, a former historian at Levi Strauss & Co., gives a cultural history of the dude ranch phenomenon.

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