Born in 1943, with a doctorate in biology, Dale Alsager recalled his ultimately unsuccessful financial and legal struggles to retain control of the Gang Ranch in The Incredible Gang Ranch (Hancock House 1989). It includes a 130-year history of the million-acre ranch near Kamlooops that was started in 1874 by two brothers, Thaddeus and Jerome Harper. Chinese labourers were used to help run the ranch in early years. According to Cariboo-Chilcotin historian Irene Stangoe, it became known as the Gang Ranch because it was the first Interior ranch to use a double-furrowed gang plough.
The Harpers made a remarkable cattle drive in 1876-77 from the Chilcotin to California. When the ranch became controlled by British financial interests, it was the largest cattle spread in North America. As of 1977, the Alsagar family, under the name of the Alsagar Holdings Ltd, purchased the Gang Ranch for around 4.2 million dollars and became the first Canadian owners. At the time it was appraised at $15 million. The main Gang ranch was worth $8.3 million, the Perry Ranch worth $2.5 million, equipment was valued at $1.2 million, the livestock was valued at $2.5 million and other supplies were listed as $667,000. At this time the ranch included 38,000 deeded acres and 700,000 acres under lease. Rick Alsagar became ranch manager, assisted by Oren and Denis Alsagar, and Dale Alsagar became the accountant. In 1981, the main Gang Ranch was appraised at $8.38 million, the associated Perry Ranch was appraised at $2.5 million. The Gang Ranch went into receivership on November 26, 1992. The Perry Ranch was sold for $1.1 million in January of 1984. In March Sullivan Pastures was sold for $27,000. In June the main Gang Ranch was sold to Melvin Nelson from High River, Alberta for $6.9 million. A few months later the main Gang Ranch was again sold to John Rudiger, Clark and Susan Borth, Ross Adams, Wilber Griffith and Saudi Arabian Sheik Ibraham Afandi of Jeddah. The Sheik, would later buy the other investors out in 1988 under the name BSA Investments. He reputedly visited only twice in the 20th century. The Gang Ranch has variously included ranch land at Canoe Creek, the Kelly Ranch, the Harper Ranch at Kamloops, the Perry Ranch (17,000 acres, 3 miles from Cache Creek), 57 Mile property, Sullivan Pastures and Meadow Lake near Clinton, William's Meadows, Fosberry Meadows, Big Meadows, Wycott Flats, Home Valley Ranch and Crows Bar (6,000 acres), but the Gang Ranch has always been considered the main ranch. Movies have been shot there, as well as a Marlboro commercial. One prospective buyer was apparently Bill Gates of Microsoft.
Books about the ranch are:
Gang Ranch, The Real Story (Hancock House, 1994), by Judy Alsager (ISBN 09682883-0-8)
The Incredible Gang Ranch (Hancock House, 1989), by Dale Alsager (ISBN 0-88839-211-7)
[BCBW 2003] "Ranching"