Fri. Mar 5th, 2021


Pyramid Lake Dude Ranch, Sutcliffe, 1936.
AJ Olds owned the Pyramid Lake Dude Ranch from 1926-1931. It does not appear to be the same ranch the Olds lived on during the rabies epidemic, but was in the same area.

A bawling bovine, mad with a virus sweeping the West, stood between Sarah Olds’ children and the house.

For two hours the children had been stranded on a haystack on the family’s Nevada ranch, unable to get home as the rabid cow pawed and raged outside the house. It was starting to get cold, and the children pleaded with their mother to let them sprint for the house as the sun dipped low in the sky.

“No, sir!” she yelled at the kids from the front porch. “Burrow down under the hay to keep warm, but don’t dare come home.”

Olds awaited her eldest son, hopeful that he’d come home soon from a day of hunting, and with enough ammunition to shoot the crazed cow dead. 

It was 1916 and there was a virus spreading in Northern Nevada. 

‘Greatest calamity’ to hit the state

While many scholars have drawn parallels between today’s COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, Nevada fought another virus 100 years ago, one very different from today’s novel coronavirus.



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