Among all the Extraordinary Families submissions, there was one that really stuck out. It was the Lees, a family who lives and works on a 1.1 million acre cattle ranch in Frenchglen, Oregon.

1.1 million acres? That must be a typo, I thought.

It was not a typo and the Lees went straight to the top of our list. Who wouldn’t want to see what bringing up kids is like when you have to drive 90 miles to the closest grocery store? Who wouldn’t be curious about a five-year-old girl who spends most days riding a horse named Nacho alongside her mom and dad?


Turns out, raising kids on a ginormous ranch has lots of similarities to raising kids anywhere else. There are rushed breakfasts, bedtime books and much needed baths.

It’s just the scenery is a lot more spectacular. And the tantrums happen during things like roping lessons, instead of when someone takes away an iPad.


It is my pleasure to introduce you to Panther and Levi and their daughter Samantha. Panther is a long time reader of my blog. In fact, I remember she responded to a post I wrote about odd names, saying— “Imagine being named Panther as a little girl!” Panther did not grow up on a ranch, but somehow she found a lifestyle where her name makes perfect sense.

After watching the video, Panther said that it gave her more perspective on what’s important.

“Sometimes I get exasperated by the whining and tantrums, which there were plenty of that day. But there were so many more good moments in the day than bad ones. The video made me realize how little the tantrums actually matter.”

I asked her how she hoped her family might inspire my readers.

“I hear often ‘I wish I could move to a new state, do that job, see that country’ etc. You can! You can do whatever your soul wants to do. Sometimes it’s hard and scary, but that makes the end result even more worth it.”


When asked if she thought their way of life has impacted the way she parents, Panther said, “Ranching has definitely made me a free-range parent. While I’m working or doing chores, Sam is exploring by the creek with the dogs or trying to convince the horses to follow her around. She has constant freedom to explore which most kids don’t get. But I know that her adventurous spirit would be alive no matter where we lived.”


Lastly, Panther said that the video really helped solidify how lucky they are that work and family and their ranch are all intertwined. “I love that ‘family’ is the core of everything in our lives.”


Please leave a comment in support of Panther and her beautiful family below.


This post is part of the “Extraordinary Families” series sponsored by Allstate. “Extraordinary Families” aims to show what life is like, sun up to sun down, for families facing (and overcoming!) unique and challenging circumstances. As the nation’s largest publicly held insurance company, Allstate is dedicated to protecting what matters most.