The Four Sixes Ranch holds an iconic and legendary status in the state of Texas for its immense size, historical legacy, and elite tier of quarter horses and cattle. And only a few in the US – if there are any – can compare to its grandeur and prestige. Recently it made another history when the 266,255-acre ranch was sold for the first time since its founding in 1870. And even more, as it came with a hefty price tag – over $340 million!
If you’re curious about how it all started and how it came to be THE ranch, then explore it with us.
The History and Legacy
The name behind the historic 6666 Ranch, also popularly known as Four Sixes or Quad Sixes, was Captain Samuel Burk Burnett. According to the real story (as there were many accounts), 19-year-old Burnett purchased 100 head of cattle which was branded ‘6666’ from Frank Crowley of Denton, Texas. To grow his business, he started leasing, and then in the early 1900s, he earned enough to buy his own ranches.
The first piece of land that the cattleman bought was the 8 Ranch near Guthrie, Texas, in King County, and then expanded his property with Dixon Creek Ranch, located between the Texas Panhandle and Borger. He raised purebred Herefords and Durham bulls that earned national prizes at different livestock shows across the country, as well as purebred quarter horses. Then in 1917, he built a $100,000 stone-quarried rock home at the 8 Ranch, the ‘finest ranch house in West Texas’ with materials hauled by wagon. It became a significant part of American history with its early prominent visitors, including President Theodore Roosevelt, vaudeville performer Will Rogers, and the Indian Chief Quanah Parker.
A year later, the ranch was met with an unfortunate incident when a blizzard killed 2,000 head of cattle. But that loss got turned around in 1921 after oil was discovered on the Dixon Creek Ranch and provided a profitable enterprise.
Then after Burnett died in 1922, his estate was inherited by his daughter Anne Valliant Burnett Tandy through a Trusteeship set up prior to his death. During Tandy’s time, the ranch became a filming location for advertisements and movies. Then in 1980, Anne Windfohr Marion assumed management of the property and all of its holdings. And it was during her tenure that the ranch flourished into an empire with an indisputable reputation for high-quality quarter horses and cattle, state-of-the-art facilities with improved methods and technology, and a full range of equine veterinary and reproductive services.
No wonder the Four Sixes is one of the most storied and successful family-run businesses in the history of Texas.
Who owns the 6666 Ranch?
Texas oil heiress and philanthropist Anne Marion passed away last February 11, 2020, and for the first time, the historic Four Sixes Ranch was offered for sale. This was following the terms of Marion’s will. And this marked the first time a Burnett wouldn’t own the property since its conception.
According to the portfolio released by Chas. S. Middleton and Son LLC, a family-owned farm and ranch real estate and appraisal specialty firm, the 6666 Ranch in Guthrie was listed for $192.2 million and was offered collectively as a package with the 6666 Dixon Creek Ranch Division that has an asking price of $137.3 million and 6666 Frisco Creek Ranch Division for a reported final purchase price of $347.7 million for the 266,255-acre estate.
After a few months on the market, the 6666 Ranch was officially sold in May 2021 to the Yellowstone Creators Group with screenwriter, director, and producer Taylor Sheridan as representative. The sale was facilitated by Don Bell of United Country Real Estate and the late Milt Bradford, who was Bell’s partner in the business and a pioneer member of Sheridan’s series Yellowstone. Unfortunately, Bradford passed away before the deal was closed.
In a comment gathered by Texas Spur after news of the sale hit the media, Sheridan noted that he couldn’t comment on the pending transaction, but he emphasized his goal to uphold the visions of the late Anne Marion and the legacy of the 6666 Ranch. “The legacy of the 6666 Ranch and Miss Marion’s vision for the ranch are vital not only to the ranch itself, but the rich heritage of ranching in Texas. This legacy is so important to me I chose to highlight it in the upcoming season of ‘Yellowstone’ and will continue to further the legacy and preserve its operations in a manner consistent with that great vision.”
Exploring the Four Sixes
The Four Sixes is divided into three separate divisions and are spread across multiple counties in West Texas. In terms of size, the combined land area of the 6666 Ranch is almost twice as large as Chicago and six times bigger than Brooklyn.
The first is what is popularly known as the 6666 Ranch, the 142,372-acre flagship site located in King County in Guthrie. And it features the renowned three-story rock home dominating the Headquarters. Second is the Dixon Creek Ranch, which encompasses 114,455 acres in Carson and Hutchison counties. Lastly is Frisco Creek, the smallest out of the three, featuring 9,428 acres of land.
Main House and Headquarters
The hundred thousand dollar home built in 1917 covers 13,280 square feet of living area. Mrs. Marion and her family and guests stayed in the home, in a separate area from where the current ranch manager and their family reside. It has a total of 13 bedrooms and baths, 3 powder rooms, 2 kitchens, 3 fireplaces, and a dining room.
On the other hand, the Headquarters host the following additional improved facilities:
- 3,600 square foot enclosed Airplane Hangar with a 65 by 6,000 feet asphalt lighted Private Landing Strip
- Pilot’s Quarters
- Two (2) Bunkhouses
- Two (2) Laborer Houses
- Twenty (20) Employee Houses
- Supply House
- Loft Barn
- Horse Sheds
- Shop Building
- Equipment Storage
- Feed Building
- Round Pen
- Dog Kennel
The ranch generally hires around 50 to a hundred employees depending on seasonal needs, with 20 full-time cowboys. A large percentage of these employees are the second or third generation in the family to work at the Four Sixes.
Features, Facilities, and Structures
According to its official site, the ranch ‘is divided into 119 pastures and 10,000 acres of grass and cultivated land dedicated to horse production.’ It also houses various structures, including 18 solar wells, 29 windmills, and ten submersibles with 66 tubs on the waterline with pivots at Frisco Creek. And all of the equipment has a devoted employee for maintenance to ensure safety and smooth operation. They also built designated North and South Camps, each equipped with a camp manager’s home, a bunkhouse, and a metal barn.
Then there are the Horse Division improvements which include the following:
- 17,000 square foot Main Office Building
- Doc’s Home
- Cook House
- Employee House
- Two (2) Bunk Houses
- Three (3) Stud Barns
- Three (3) Stables
- Race Barn
- Mare Motel
- Two (2) Horse Barns
- Alfafa Barn
- Round Pen
- 48,750 square foot Covered Arena
The 6666 Ranch has implemented various ecologically conservative practices in line with the late Mrs. Marion’s vision, such as brush management and prescribed burning in combination with proper grazing management. But perhaps one of the biggest improvements that the ranch did was the installation of a state-of-the-art water filtration plant with ‘two water well sources leased north of the 6666’s ranch, elaborate filtration system, water storage reservoirs, pumps, the housing around the system, and miles of private waterline used to transport this water to major portions of the ranch.’ This was to combat the issue of poor-quality water that has been plaguing ranches and the residents of the area for many years.
The Four Sixes Ranch also boasts its full-range offering of equine veterinary services, including the sought-after reproductive services at their top-tier medical facilities. With Dr. Nathan Cathaday at the helm of the Horse Division, the ranch itself maintains a 95% conception rate from the 1,400-1,500 mares bred from ranch, performance, and racing Quarter Horse disciplines.
What’s New: The 6666 Beef
Aside from everything mentioned above, the Four Sixes Ranch also has its very own line of Ranch Brand Beef. This savory treat is sourced from their very own ranch and a network of qualified ranches that meet the grading, marbling, and tenderness standards. And they have also opened their offerings of USDA Choice and USDA Certified Tender Reserve Steaks.
You can check out the Four Sixes Ranch on their official website linked here. You can also watch the videos below to take a virtual look at the ranch.