The story of the 320 Guest Ranch begins in the early days of Montana dude ranch hospitality. In 1898, Sam Wilson homesteaded 160 acres along the Gallatin River. Two years later, his father, Clinton, claimed the adjoining 160 acres. The family started a year-round dude ranch on their property in 1907, naming it the Buffalo Horn Creek Resort. In 1911, a young doctor from Butte would set eyes on the property for the first time.
Dr. Caroline McGill packed her bags and moved from Missouri to Butte, Montana in 1910 to accept a pathologist position at the Murray Hospital. A year later, she would visit the Gallatin Canyon and the Buffalo Horn Creek Resort for the first time. McGill believed in the physical and mental healing abilities of the outdoors. In 1936, after many visits to the ranch, she offered to buy the Wilsons’ two 160-acre parcels. She renamed the property the 320 Guest Ranch.
Dr. McGill imagined the 320 as a place where visitors could rest and restore their bodies and minds. Dr. McGill, an avid collector of historical memorabilia, filled the guest rooms with antiques and trucked a Cadillac engine onto the property to bring electricity to the ranch, more than a decade before it would come to the rest of the Gallatin Canyon. When she retired from medicine in 1936, she moved to the ranch, living out her days in the Christmas Cabin, a cabin that the staff finished building for her on Christmas day. On January 4, 1959, at age 79, Dr. McGill passed away. In her will, she gave the Goodrich family the option to buy the ranch, which they did. They continued to manage it until 1987 when it was purchased by Dave Brask who still owns and operates the ranch with his family today.
Dr. McGill’s legacy lives on here at the ranch through the many antiques she brought to the property, the buildings that hold her memories and the land that rejuvenated her mind and body. But it also lives on elsewhere throughout our great state, including at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman which was co-founded by Dr. McGill and houses many of her artifacts. Over the years, she filled buildings at Montana State University with her treasured finds from across Montana.