In this 1999 article from the Atlantic's archives, Perry Knize debunks the stereotypes:

On average, ranchers make only a two percent return on their operations, and many don't do that well. They would be better off liquidating their assets and putting them in a passbook savings account. Instead they turn down big offers from real-estate developers, put up with "ecoterrorists," and hang on by taking temporary jobs in town when the cattle market bottoms out. Ranching, it would seem, is a profession for romantic idealists, not profiteers. Those who hew to it do so for only one reasonthey love the land and their way of life.

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