Ranch House Cafe
Photo by toddross used under a Creative Commons license.

David Remley, Bell Ranch: Cattle Ranching in the Southwest, 1824 – 1947 (University of New Mexico Press, 1993).
An academic history of the Bell Ranch, whose operations ranged across three-quarters of a million acres – roughly twenty miles by thirty miles – in northeastern New Mexico, along the Canadian River just outside Tucumcari. Remley focuses on the ranch managers’ changing practices. Modern business practices were adopted at the end of the nineteenth century, when new owners bought the place from Wilson Waddingham. The story closes in 1947, when Bell Ranch was sold and broken up. Like a cattle drive, Bell Ranch can be dry and slow-going, less romantic than Westerns might lead you to believe. On the other hand, the Historical Society of New Mexico selected Bell Ranch in 1994 for the Gaspar Perez de Villagra award for “outstanding publication” in history.

If you have JSTOR access, Darlis A. Miller reviewed it in The American Historical Review. Here are links to book reviews by Remley. The University of New Mexico has Remley’s papers. Here is a list of further reading (.pdf) on the Bell Ranch. This ranchers’ discussion forum has a thread about the Bell Ranch, including the text of a 2005 article about its impeding sale.

Buy it at Amazon.com.