The north-country had already caught John’s attention; his rodeo career had taken him to Cheyenne Frontier Days earlier that year, where someone had told him if he thought the tall grass and rangy mountains of Wyoming were good-looking, he ought to just keep going and get a look at Montana. This offhand comment was all John needed when the time came to decide where to transplant the family business located in Mertzon, Texas. John recalled calling his father from a crackly payphone located at the Battle of Little Bighorn Battlefield on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana, literally begging him to agree to the venture and to help finance the purchase of some Montana ranchland. What John lacked in charm he more than made up for in perseverance, and he was able to convince his father, two brothers and their families to join him on this adventure.
Four days after loading on the train, the Scott family, their cattle, and horses reached their destination in the remote town of Terry, Montana. The family unloaded their cattle and trailed them 30 miles to a ranch on the Powder River near Miles City. The north would not take long to test their mettle: Texas continued to shrivel and burn, but Montana endured one of the bitterest winters in memory. The Texas cattle were poorly-suited to the storms and brutal temperatures. Many bleak months would pass before any calves were born and survived. June recalled going to collect eggs from the henhouse and seeing the birds literally frozen in place on their roosts.