What happened here is the real deal, a slice of genuine Wild West history
The great ranches of the Old West are time capsules of the American frontier, where one can hear tales of gunfighters and desperadoes, wranglers and cowpokes, and cattle drives of a thousand miles up the dusty Chisholm and Goodnight-Loving trails to the railheads of Abilene, Dodge City and Denver. These historic ranches are the stuff of legend, and more than one classic John Ford western movie.
Yet right here, close to the gleaming casinos and luxury hotels of Las Vegas, is one of the great western ranches, the historic 165 square mile Grand Canyon Ranch Resort, which wrote an exciting chapter of its own in the settlement of northern Arizona. Part of the Mormon Trail ran through its land. Indians practiced their mysterious (and frightening!) ritual of the Ghost Dance here. In addition, a notorious gunfighter, Tap Duncan, settled here after riding with the real Hole in the Wall Gang. After he hung up his six-guns and became a somewhat reputable member of society, Tap bought the ranch then known as the Diamond Bar. He enlarged it to 1.45 million acres, and ran 10,000 head of cattle on it. After Tap’s long tenure the Ranch passed into the hands of several owners, including Tap’s daughters, a world champion rodeo rider, and finally was purchased by an Englishman from Stockport in northern England, a man with a passion for the Old West.
That would be me, your host at Grand Canyon Ranch.
On acquiring the Ranch, I found that its history had never been documented; so, with my wife Lesley, we set about reconstructing that history from the time of the Cohina Indians, who settled here nearly four thousand years ago. Surveys of the ranch by a professor of archeology were undertaken, along with numerous visits to local museums and area newspapers, plus interviews with descendants of families who once owned the property. Tap Duncan’s grandson, a gentleman in his eighties and a guest at the ranch, held us spellbound with stories about the real Tap Duncan—a feared gunfighter in the tradition of Wild Bill Hickok and Doc Holliday, and whose brother was hanged for murder by the old corral at the entrance to the Ranch.
My fascination with Western lore began when I rode with my own outfit – the British Army, in Germany. As an officer flying VIPs and politicians in helicopters around the country and along the Berlin Wall, I dreamed about starting a helicopter sightseeing company of my own. The dream became reality with the formation of Heli USA Airways. After flying tourists for years over the Grand Canyon and Ranch, I made a bid to acquire the Ranch. It was pretty run down, but I welcomed enthusiastically the challenge to preserve its history and legends, and to restore the ranch to its former glory.
Join us as we delve into the exciting history of Grand Canyon Ranch Resort. What happened here is the real deal, a slice of genuine Wild West history just 2 hours from the Vegas Strip. I guarantee you’ll enjoy the trip.
Owner of Grand Canyon Ranch Resort