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Herds of wild horses and burros are found out through the western US and also reside in the Black Rock Desert area.

The horses and burros found in the area are feral, that is, they are descended from domestic animals. During the 1950's, horses and burros were roundup and sent to the slaughter house for use in pet food. Velma Bronn Johnston (also known as Wild Horse Annie) became involved in the plight of the wild horse and was instrumental in a the passage of a series of laws that determined how wild horses were treated. In the 1950's, Gus Bundy took photos of a roundup on the Black Rock Desert.

Today, the BLM rounds up horses and burros and puts them up for adoption. These animals are no longer used for pet food. However, there is controversy about how the animals are herded and gathered.

The movie The Misfits, starring Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift features cowboys who are rounding up horses. In the climactic roundup scene, Marilyn Monroe's character has a conflict with the cowboys about the roundup.

External Resources

Historical Resources

  • A.J. Liebling, "The Mustang Hunters," The New Yorker, April 3, 1954 and April 10, 1954. The articles are about Hugh Marchbank and Bill Garaventa gathering horses for slaughter. Garaventa's plane was stored at Bonham Ranch.
  • San Francisco Chronicle, "Shooting Horses a Profitable Sport," September 10, 1897, p 2.