In the late 1800ís, Matthew Joyce saw an opportunity. While miners searched for gold and silver in the sagebrush-covered hills in Southwest Idaho, Joyce raised cattle to feed the hungry miners. In 1865, he established the Joyce Ranch near Murphy, Idaho.
Some 80 years later, a young woman from Philadelphia fell in love with the Joyce Ranch and its owner, Hugh Nettleton. In the 1940ís, newlywed Helen Nettleton got a movie camera and began documenting life on the ranch. Although Paul Nettleton was just a child at the time, he recalls his motherís fascination with the ranch. "She had never seen anything like this before," says Paul Nettleton. "She was quite interested in all aspects of the Western way of life Ė the Indians, the cowboys, and all the operations of a ranch like this."
Helen Nettletonís real love was for horses. Every year, ranch hands would round up the 200 or so head of horses running loose on the range. Helen Nettleton was always there with her camera, capturing all the excitement on film.
Today, the corrals are almost empty. Itís just one indication of how life is different from when Helen Nettleton filmed the ranch. And Paul Nettleton fears even greater changes in the years ahead. "From the way itís going today," he says, "Iím not sure thereís even going to be a cattle industry in 25 or 30 years. We might have this all broke up into ranchettes and housing developments."
Idaho State Historical Society