When I went to work on the Phillips Ranch when I was 16 years old they took it for granted that I knew what I was doing. My dad and granddad had been horseman and worked on the ranch long before me. They gave me 2 animals to break. I knew nothing about breaking a horse but the cowboys really helped me out. Every time I got bucked off they told me what I had done wrong. The man I worked for was B.D. Phillips. I asked him what he looked for in a horse. He said he wanted a lion in the front and a greyhound in the back. He wanted a horse that could hold up and with feet that did not need to be shod.
Years later when I owned horses of my own I took them to Jimmy Phillips of Lewistown. I considered him to be the best trainer there ever was. He never hurried. He knew horses.
To the hole in the wall…
Growing up in Malta and working around Zortman, Montana as a young man, I heard the stories of the Great Northern train robbery of 1901 many times. Apparently my grandmother, Maggie Pellitier was 12 at the time the train was robbed. She had known Kid Curry and members of his gang because they stopped at her family home in Zortman. One gang member always had candy for the kids and that man was Butch Cassidy.
In the badlands of the Missouri River, south of Zortman, there is a remote spot called The Hide-a-way, which offered rough accommodations. A few cowboys who worked at the Phillips Ranch new about this place but no one offered to show me the exact location. I rode many miles in that country but never came across it. The story goes that after Kid Curry robbed the train at Malta, Montana the first stop he made was at the Coburn Ranch to change horses. The second stop was the Hide-a-way. Next up would be the Hole in the Wall, Wyoming.