Most of the multimedia material in Buckaroos in Paradise dates after World War II. The collection documents Ninety-Six Ranch, a family-run ranch in Paradise Valley, northern Nevada. Contained within the collection, however, are essays on the early history of the ranch with historic photographs and a few sound recordings recalling the early days, covering the period from 1863 through World War II.
1) Ethnic Groups and Immigration
Paradise Valley has attracted immigrants from several parts of the world, who joined the Native Americans already living in the area. The collection also includes images of European (German, Italian, and Basque) and Chinese immigrants who settled Paradise Valley in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. See, for instance, photographs of Catholic religious celebrations and Meal Day, which illustrate the diversity of people who settled the West. There are also photographs of artifacts left by Chinese immigrants who came to Nevada to work on the railroad and in the mining industry.
Search on Native American, Basque, Chinese, Italian, or German to find pictures and audio recordings related to the different ethnic groups who settled Paradise Valley. How did the make-up of Paradise Valley's inhabitants change over time? How does this relate to this history of immigration in the United States in general?
2) Modern American Economy
The several videos and audios describing changes in haying technology and labor in the 1940s and 1980s tie into the subject of the modern American economy, particularly the impact of scientific and technological change on workplace and productivity and the changing composition of the American workforce. See also the essay Haying, Irrigating, and Branding: Tradition and Innovation, which describes the different ranching activities and how they have changed during the twentieth century. Many other examples of the old vs. new methods of doing things exist in the collection, and the combination of still photos and videos offer a chance to see, rather than just read about, items used by ranchers. Students can look at the technology and listen to and read the special terms used by ranchers.
Use these materials to talk about how industrialization changed peoples's lives over the course of the twentieth century. Compare the way tasks were completed in the "early days" of the ranch versus more recent times. How many people did it take to run the ranch in the early part of the century? How does that compare with the 1970s, when the interviews here were done? What has that meant for the individuals who performed the various tasks?