A wildcatter is defined as one who drills wells in the hope of finding oil in territory not known to be an oil field. In the early 1920s, that described the individuals who frequented this area. Many of these enterprising souls struck it rich as oil rumbled from beneath the earth, blowing out above the wooden derricks that dotted the Brazos River bottoms. As the oil fields were developed, short-lived boomtowns emerged, some within sight of this very restaurant.
Even before this important piece of history evolved, this ranch was situated in the middle of some of the most colorful pioneer history in the state of Texas. A multitude of books and at least four movies are based on incidents that occurred within 20 miles of this ranch. The movies "Lonesome Dove," "The Searchers," "Black Fox" and "The Sons of Katie Elder" tell tales of frontier forts, Indian massacres, outlaws and cattle drives.
From the 1850s to the 1890s, such characters as Oliver Loving, Charles Goodnight, William Tecumseh Sherman, Britt Johnson, Sam Bass and the Marlow Brothers roamed this area. Such famous Kiowa and Comanche Chiefs as Satanta, Satank and Quanah Parker created very dangerous scenarios for the pioneers who dared to settle here. In 1855, friendly Indian tribes were placed on the Brazos River Indian Reservation, which was the western boundary of the ranch. Sadly, this attempt failed and by 1859 the Indians were moved to Oklahoma in the Texas version of “the Trail Of Tears.” There are so many stories we could tell you.
You are situated where pioneers and wildcatters created the history of Texas. So sit back, gaze across the Palo Pinto Hills, enjoy the best food in Texas and let your imagination envision the colorful past of Wildcatter Ranch.