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Milt Bradford: A Life of Ranching Horses and Legacy

Milt Bradford: A Life Dedicated to Ranching, Horses, and Yellowstone

If you are a fan of Yellowstone, you might have heard the name Milt Bradford mentioned before. Bradford was a friend of the show’s creator, Taylor Sheridan, and his contributions to Yellowstone and the ranching world are worth exploring.

Bradford’s Expertise in Ranching and Auctioneering

Milt Bradford’s passion for ranching started at an early age.

He grew up in a family that raised horses and cattle in Nebraska. Bradford’s interest in horses and cattle never faded, and he pursued it as soon as he was old enough.

Bradford’s expertise in ranching and auctioneering is one of the reasons why he was a beloved member of Yellowstone’s crew. He was an authentic voice, and his knowledge of ranching and horses made the show’s portrayal of the Dutton Ranch more accurate.

Throughout his career, Bradford worked as an auctioneer and was known for his ability to move the sale along and get the best price for his clients.

Bradford’s Success in the Horse Auction Business

Bradford’s expertise in auctioneering led him to specialize in horse auctions.

He started working at the Fort Worth Stockyards in the 1960s and eventually became the director of the horse and mule division. In the early 2000s, Bradford and his wife, Joanne, purchased the Oxbow Ranch in Northern California and began their own horse breeding operation.

The Oxbow Ranch became Bradford’s legacy, and it was the site of many successful horse auctions over the years. In 2017, Bradford retired from the horse auction business.

He sold the Oxbow Ranch and moved to Texas, where he began a new venture in real estate.

Bradford’s Real Estate Venture with Dan Bell

In 2019, Bradford and Dan Bell, a fellow rancher and businessman, partnered up to start a new real estate venture.

They created the Bradford-Bell Group, which focused on developing and investing in rural land in Texas. Bradford brought his decades of ranching experience to the partnership, and Bell provided his expertise in finance and real estate development.

Together, they created a successful business that catered to the growing demand for rural properties in Texas.

Tribute to Bradford in the Season Four Premiere

Milt Bradford’s contributions to Yellowstone and the ranching industry were honored in the show’s season four premiere. The episode featured a tribute to Bradford that included footage of him on the set of Yellowstone and interviews with his colleagues.

In the tribute, Taylor Sheridan recalled how important Bradford was to the show and how his expertise in ranching and authentic voice enriched the portrayal of the Dutton family and their way of life. The tribute also acknowledged Bradford’s legacy as a successful auctioneer and rancher.


Milt Bradford was a passionate and dedicated rancher who built a successful career in the horse auction business. His expertise in ranching and authentic voice enriched the portrayal of the Dutton family and Yellowstone as a whole.

Bradford’s partnership with Dan Bell in real estate showed his ability to adapt and succeed in new ventures. The tribute to Bradford in the season four premiere of Yellowstone highlighted the profound impact he had on the show and the ranching industry.

Milt Bradford’s Passion for Cutting Horses

Milt Bradford’s lifelong passion for ranching extended to his love of cutting horses. Cutting is a western-style equestrian event in which a horse and rider work together to separate a single animal (typically a calf) from a group.

Bradford’s ownership and show of cutting horses, as well as his achievements in cutting competitions, made him a respected figure in the cutting horse community.

Bradford’s Ownership and Show of Cutting Horses

Bradford owned and showed cutting horses for over 35 years.

His ability to spot potential in a young horse and nurture it into a great competitor was an asset in the cutting horse industry. Bradford knew what kind of horse would excel in the sport and had an eye for the best bloodlines.

Bradford’s dedication to the sport was not just limited to owning and showing horses; he also served as a judge in cutting competitions from time to time.

Bradford’s Achievements in Cutting Competitions

Bradford’s passion for cutting horses led him to compete professionally in cutting events.

Bradford earned over $200,000 in Lifetime Earnings from the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA). In 2001, the NCHA recognized Bradford with a special award for his commitment to promoting cutting in Northern California.

Mary Bradford’s Success in Cutting Competitions

Bradford’s daughter, Mary Bradford, inherited her father’s love and passion for cutting horses. She became a successful competitor, earning top honors in many cutting competitions.

In 2015, Mary and her horse DMAC Wise Guy won the NCHA World Championship Non-Pro Division. Mary’s success in cutting competitions further cemented the Bradford family’s place in the cutting horse community.

Mary’s achievements also demonstrated that her father’s passion for and expertise in cutting horses had been passed down to her.

Allan Robert Murray and Milt Bradford’s Legacy

Allan Robert Murray and Milt Bradford shared a legacy that spanned the horse industry, from ranching to cutting horses to the world of television.

Bradford’s contribution to the horse industry and his impact on Yellowstone were evident in his work, as well as his personal relationships with Taylor Sheridan and others involved in the show.

Bradford’s Contribution to the Horse Industry

Milt Bradford’s contributions to the horse industry were immeasurable.

He was renowned for his horsemanship, his ability to breed and raise cutting horses, and his expertise in horse auctions. His legacy lives on in the Bradford-Bell Group, the real estate venture he started with Dan Bell, which continues to develop and invest in rural land in Texas.

Bradford’s Impact on Yellowstone

Bradford’s impact on Yellowstone was manifested in the series’ commitment to authenticity. Taylor Sheridan sought input from Bradford on the depiction of the Dutton family and the challenges faced by modern-day ranchers.

In addition, the scenes featuring cutting horses and horse auctions were crafted with Bradford’s knowledge and experience in mind.

Tribute to Murray and Bradford in Yellowstone Episode

Allan Robert Murray and Milt Bradford were both remembered in a touching tribute in the second episode of the fourth season of Yellowstone. The episode featured a dedication to the men, with a note in the closing credits, “In Memory of Allan Robert Murray and Milt Bradford.”

The tribute paid respects to their contributions to the show as well as the horse industry.

It was a testament to the impact that both Murray and Bradford had, not just as individuals, but as part of a broader community of horse enthusiasts.


The passion and expertise that Milt Bradford brought to the cutting horse community, and the horse industry as a whole, cemented his legacy as a respected and influential figure. Bradford’s affection for cutting horse competitions was inherited by his daughter Mary, who continues to carry the Bradford name to new heights.

Bradford’s contributions to the authenticity of Yellowstone have helped make it one of the most popular shows on television today. Combined with Allan Robert Murray, Bradford’s legacy shows that a love of horses and ranching can have impacts far beyond one’s own life.

In conclusion, Milt Bradford was a passionate and influential figure in the horse industry, particularly in ranching and cutting horses. His expertise and contributions to horse auctions, real estate, and Yellowstone have made a lasting impact that will not soon be forgotten.

Through his daughter Mary and his partnership with Dan Bell, Bradford’s legacy continues to have influence and success. The tribute to him and Allan Robert Murray in the fourth season of Yellowstone is a testament to the profound impact they had on the show and the greater community of horse enthusiasts.


  1. What is cutting?
  2. This western-style equestrian event requires a horse and rider to separate a single animal from a group.

  3. How did Milt Bradford contribute to ranching and the horse industry?
  4. Bradford’s passion for ranching and cutting horses led to his expertise in breeding and raising horses, serving as an auctioneer, and judge in cutting competitions, and starting a successful real estate venture.

  5. What impact did Milt Bradford have on Yellowstone?
  6. Bradford’s authenticity and expertise in ranching and horses enriched the portrayal of the Dutton family and their lifestyle, and helped make the show one of the most popular on television today.

  7. What was the tribute to Milt Bradford in Yellowstone season 4 about?
  8. The tribute honored Bradford’s and Allan Robert Murray’s contributions to the show and the greater horse community, showcasing their lasting impact.

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