Born in Stanford on July 8, 1931, James Andrew “Jim” Lind moved with his family to the Beaver Creek Ranch, 32 miles northwest of White Sulphur Springs, in 1936. Jim’s Grandfather, Andy, thought every kid should grow up with a horse;
so, he made that happen. Young Jim rode everywhere he went.
As he was 13 years older than the next brother, a lot of responsibilities fell on Jim. No electricity to the house meant that there was a lot of wood to be sawed, split, and hauled for heating and cooking. There was no running water, and so it had to be carried at least once every day.
When Jim was a sophomore in high school, Andy became ill, and Jim was shouldered with more responsibilities. He tried to balance schoolwork and ranch life, but the ranch won out. For more than seventy years, he’s been a rancher.
Jim spent a lot of days behind a team of horses, mowing or buckraking hay in the summer and feeding cows in the winter with a bobsled. For a good number of years, Jim and his sister Frieda would trail the calves the 32 miles to town in the fall, then turn around for the ride back home.
The few neighbors who lived in the 20-mile area considered Jim the “White Knight of Beaver Creek,” as he would make a circle once or twice a year to check on each of them. He was a welcomed sight delivering mail, sharing news, and getting messages in or out to loved ones.
In the “Big Centennial Cattle Drive of ’89,” Jim was selected as the official drover of Meagher County. He had several cattle in the drive from Roundup to Billings, including a Longhorn steer that carried the big “89” brand on the ribs. That steer lived out his retirement on the Beaver Creek Ranch.
Jim married Dellamae Olsen in 1957, and together with hard work, perseverance, tough bankers, and some luck, they leased and bought enough land to run 900 cows. Jim’s passion for life as a cattle rancher has been passed down to his family and anybody who has had a chance to ride with him. Any ranch hand worth his salt has admired Jim’s ability to “cowboy” (but secretly couldn’t wait to see what Della had cooked for lunch). If a neighbor was having trouble moving cows, sorting strays, or what have you, the best feeling was to look up and see Jim Lind unloading his horse from his trailer. You damned well knew you were saved from a wreck.
Jim is a lifelong learner, very curious about the world around him. He always tried to do things the right way, not just the old tried-and-true way. Jim continues to teach generations of friends, grandkids, and great grandkids about horses, life, and responsibilities. His willingness to do so is endless. One always feels honored to ride with Jim Lind, truly one of Montana’s last real cowboys.