One of America’s most legendary ranches might have new owners with deep ties to Hollywood. The 6666 Ranch, aka Four Sixes, in West Texas is reportedly under contract to a group led by screenwriter and producer Taylor Sheridan, creator of the Western drama “Yellowstone.” The ranches, which span several Texas counties for a total of around 266,255 acres, were first put up for sale in December 2020 for $347.7 million.
The property is comprised of three separate divisions – the 6666′s Ranch located at Guthrie, Texas at around 142,372 acres; the Dixon Creek section which spans about 114,455 acres in Carson and Hutchinson counties; and the Frisco Creek division, with 9,428 acres located in Sherman County.
The 6666’s Ranch serves as a backdrop for “Yellowstone” and a new untitled spin-off will reportedly be the based on the ranch. According to Sam Middleton, Owner/Broker of Chas. S Middleton and Son Farm – Ranch Sales, Sheridan is the face of the buyer group. Middleton told The Texas Spur that the new owners plan to continue running the working ranch and to offer employment to all employees. “It’s all one deal, 266,000 acres with all three ranches . . . cattle, horses, equipment, furniture, brand, name, everything.”
Sheridan himself has said he can’t comment on a pending transaction but did say, “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.” He added, “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.”
The “Miss Marion” he refers to is Mrs. Anne W. Marion, the great-great-granddaughter of the ranch’s founder, Captain Samuel “Burk” Burnett. Born in Bates County, Missouri, on Jan. 1, 1849, to Jeremiah and Mary Turner Burnett, Samuel Burk Burnett became one of the most well known and respected ranchers in Texas. His parents were in the farming business, but in 1857-58, conditions caused them to move from Missouri to Denton County, Texas, where Jerry Burnett became involved in the cattle business. Burk, 10 years old at the time of the move, learned all about ranching from his father.
At the age of 19, Burnett purchased 100 head of cattle which had been branded with “6666,” making him the owner of both the cattle and the brand. He survived the panic of 1873 by holding over 1,100 steers he had driven to market in Wichita, Kansas, through the winter. The next year, he sold the cattle for a profit of $10,000, a considerable fortune at the time. Burnett became known early on for being one of the first ranchers in Texas to buy steers and graze them for market. During the droughts of the 1880s, he moved his cattle to the Big Pasture in southwestern Oklahoma, where he rented 300,000 acres for his 10,000 head of cattle to graze.
A purchase around 1900 of the 8 Ranch near Guthrie, Texas, in King County from the Louisville Land and Cattle Co., and the Dixon Creek Ranch near Panhandle, Texas, from the Cunard Line marked the beginning of the Burnett Ranches empire. The 8 Ranch became the present day Four Sixes (6666) Ranch. These two large purchases, along with some later additions, amounted to a third of a million acres.
In 1921, oil was discovered on Burnett’s land near Dixon Creek, and his wealth increased dramatically. This discovery, and a later one in 1969 on the Guthrie property, would greatly benefit the Burnett family ranching business as it grew and developed throughout the 20th Century.
Burnett died on June 27, 1922 in Fort Worth, Texas. His ranching and oil interests were held in trust until his granddaughter, Anne Valliant Burnett Tandy, received her inheritance in 1922. In 1980, it was inherited by his great-granddaughter, Anne Windfohr Marion, who sadly passed away in February 2020. (Sources: The Texas Spur, My San Antonio, Wikipedia, 6666 Ranch)