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'Git along' over to Prude Ranch

On your way to Big Bend National Park, risk a stop at historic Prude Ranch, six miles west of Fort Davis on Highway 118. You might not want to leave.

Nestled in the heart of the Davis Mountains, the friendly, sprawling ranch - under the guidance of John Robert Prude - offers everything western.

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There is so much Texas melody and command in Mr. Prude's tone of voice that a non-Texan like me heard it as fine taffy - if fine taffy could talk. It's a blend of old western star Chill Wills's laconic drawl and a veteran rodeo announcer.

"There are 2,500 square miles in the county," he says, rolling out the words, "and about 1,900 people." Then a soft grin. "But you'd have to do a hard roundup to find much than a thousand right here in Fort Davis."

Prude knows his mile-high county like the back of a horse. The Prude cattle ranch began in1897 not long after Grandmother Prude arrived in a covered wagon with her parents from Alabama. Guests have been welcomed since 1921, and five generations of the family, along with Prude's wife, Betty, live on the sprawling dude ranch today.

The Prude Ranch's lodge is open for all meals. Guests may stay overnight in a family bunkroom, rooms in guest lodges, or hook up an RV. Reservations are a must. The Texas lore and tall tales are free. Phone: 1-800-458-6232.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society