Anne Bassett (1878-1956) – The daughter of Herb and Elizabeth Basset, who owned a ranch in the isolated area of Brown’s Hole, near the Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah border, Anne was the first white girl to be born in Brown’s Hole. Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch were frequent visitors to the ranch and often courted both Anne and her sister Josie. Anne’s father was an unassuming man who allowed his wife, Elizabeth, to run the ranch.
During this time, there were a number of large cattle barons who wanted to take over Brown’s Hole and Anne’s mother, in the midst of a feud with the large cattlemen began to do a little cattle rustling of her own. As Anne grew up, she took up her mother’s feud against the cattle barons, especially against the Two Bar Ranch. Helping herself freely to their cattle, she was soon dubbed the “Queen of the Rustlers.”
When rumors began to fly that Anne and her mother were intentionally running Two Bar cattle over the cliffs out of spite, the cattle barons hired Tom Horn to infiltrate Brown’s Hole. After warning Matt Rush, Isom Dart, and other area ranchers to leave the area, he shot and killed the two men when they refused to vacate.
When Anne Married H. Bernard the manager of the Two Bar, he was quickly fired. The marriage lasted six years. When Anne was caught rusting cattle from the “enemy” ranch, she was tried but acquitted. In 1928, Anne married a man named Frank Willis and the two settled in a small southwestern Utah town where she lived until her death at the age of 78. Over the years, many believed that Anne Basset and Etta Place were the same women; however, most historians have discounted these allegations.
By Kathy Weiser-Alexander, August, 2017.