was born in August of 1900 at Crow Creek, near Joseph, Oregon. He was
the oldest of eight children. He grew up on the Crow Creek Ranch, doing
things a boy would do helping with the purebred and commercial cattle
operation; haying, breaking colts, both saddle horses and work horses.
He never seemed to have fear of any horse, regardless of how rough the
country was, and horses never seemed to be worried about him. He looked
real nice on a horse, even a bucking horse; not many got out from under
In 1927 Jim bought a place of his own on the Snake River. He & his
wife had two children, Jimmy and Phyllis born there. In 1942 he moved
south to Riddle, Idaho. But Jim had always wanted to go to Nevada, so
in 1944 he got a job on the Marys River Ranch out of Deeth, Nevada
for Bill Wright and later for the Seven S Marble Brothers at Deeth. He
was cow boss until 1958, running several thousand head of cattle. A good
part of the year was spent out with the wagon, many buckaroos, and a sizable
remuda, keeping the calves branded, doctored and moved as needed.
Jims highlight of the year was the Elko, Nevada Fair during Labor
Day weekend where he always took a horse to show and caught up on the
latest from his many friends and acquaintances.
Although somewhat retired, Jim needed something to do. In 1960 he went
to Battle Mountain, Nevada to work for John and Tom Marvel on the 25 Ranch
where he made himself useful with the horses and cattle. About the same
time his brother Tom sold out in Oregon, and they both worked for the
In later years Jim spent time with his brother Bill on his Salinas, California
ranch. Bill was famous for his rawhide braiding. There, Jim worked with
both of his brothers Bill and Tom with horses. Like traditional Vaqueros,
the Dorrance brothers used cattle to work their horses (as opposed to
using their horses to work cattle.) Tom developed his horse handling methods
& training techniques to the degree that he became noticed. Ray Hunt,
and later Buck Brannaman, and many others worked with the Dorrances, and
continue that great tradition of horse handling. Many world-renowned horsemen
and clinicians consider Tom Dorrance as the man whose philosophy on horses
revolutionized western horsemanship. The Dorrance brothers brought many
of the highest art concepts of old time Vaquero horse handling methods
to the forefront of fine horsemanship today.
Bill, Jim & Tom Dorrance 1970
Jim Dorrance spent his last years with his daughter Phyllis at Enterprise,
Oregon. He passed away at the age of 90.
Jim Dorrance was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in September
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