Around 1900, Maybelle and Jim Zimmerman homesteaded along Donahue Creek in Paradise Valley, Montana. According to local legend, Maybelle dressed all in black and made moonshine in the backyard. In June 1914, Jim’s bludgeoned body was discovered in the stable, hanging from a rafter. Maybelle ran to a nearby boarding house and saloon for help, crying that a railcar vagabond had done it. Others claimed Maybelle dunnit, with a cottonwood log as her murder weapon.
Maybelle’s crime represents just a sliver of the colorful history of West Creek and Mountain Sky Ranches. The grounds of these places parallel the story of Montana, filled with tipi rings, shipwrecked homesteads, an active cattle operation and a world-class dude ranch.
Read the full story, "A Tale of Two Ranches", in the Winter 2017 edition of the Big Sky Journal: http://bigskyjournal.com/winter-2017/tale-two-ranches