Montana Ranch History Runs Deep at 63 Ranch

Although our Montana ranch has been welcoming guests since the summer of 1930, the 63 Ranch name actually dates back to 1863 when a homesteader by the name of George Bruffey first settled in Montana; then part of the Dakota Territory. Mr. Bruffey designed a brand to use on his livestock in commemoration of this date. It was first registered with the Territorial Government and then with the state when Montana achieved statehood in 1889. It’s not only one of the oldest continuously recorded brands in Montana, but one that all 63 Ranch horses wear on their right thigh to this day.

Memorus, George Bruffey’s son, homesteaded just over one hundred fifty-six acres on upper Mission Creek in 1907, nearly three miles upstream from where his mother, Matilda, had claimed a homestead in 1890. This very homestead is the heart and soul of our Montana ranch today. For in the spring of 1929, three members of the Christensen family (Paul, Elmer and their sister, Johanna) purchased this homestead from Memorus in pursuit of their mutual dream of starting a Montana dude ranch. After negotiating the purchase of the 63 brand from George Bruffey’s family, the “63 Ranch” name seemed fitting for their future venture.

In 1931, Virginia Bevin and a friend traveled from New York to the Triangle 7 Ranch, a neighboring dude ranch to the recently opened 63. At the July 4th rodeo in Livingston, Virginia met Paul Christensen. Yes, Virginia too shared the Christensen dream and within two years married Paul. The 63 Ranch is still owned and operated by members of the Christensen family, making it one of the oldest family-owned and operated dude ranches in the business today. The family has expanded their Montana ranch holdings to nearly twenty-five hundred deeded acres including the original Matilda Bruffey homestead as well as the Triangle 7 property. Many of the originally constructed log buildings exist today; five of which date back to the winter of 1929-30. In 1982, 63 was the first dude ranch in Montana to be designated a National Historic Site by the National Historic Register of Historic Places.

Today, on land originally roamed by the Crow Indian tribe, very little has changed in the daily operations at this Montana ranch. 63 Ranch continues to welcome about 30 guests each week throughout the summer months and maintains a herd of cows year around. Guests from around the globe continue to experience a deep spiritual connection to the land, sky and surrounding Absaroka Mountains just as the Crow Indians have done for centuries.