Howard Eaton left Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and moved west to the Dakota Badlands, first to hunt, and then to ranch. He founded the Custer Trail Ranch four miles south of Medora, so named because George Armstrong Custer had camped nearby on his way to the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Eaton's brothers Alden and Howard arrived in 1881 and 1882. In addition to cattle, the Eatons maintained sheep and horses. A severe winter in 1886-87 culled the cattle operation. Friends of the Eatons had long stayed at the ranch for hunting, and in 1882 they began charging for a dude ranch experience. In 1904 the Eatons moved their ranching operations to Wolf, Wyoming. Parts of the ranch were sold to Bill McCarty and other individuals from the Medora area.