Christensen family lived on Figure Four Ranch

Submitted Photo Vic Christensen was the son of pioneer ranchers.

Vic Christensen was the son of pioneer ranchers Hans and Johanna Christensen. The Christensen family arrived in Dakota Territory at Fort Lincoln in the 1870s. They moved to a Dunn County site in the 1880s and then to the Figure Four Ranch near Fort Berthold Reservation in McKenzie County. Initially, the Figure Four was principally a horse ranch.

Vic was born in 1895 and attended the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota where he earned a law degree. He then returned to the family ranch and, upon the death of his father, took over the operation 30 miles north of Killdeer.

In addition to land holdings in Dunn County, the Figure Four also leased land on the Fort Berthold Reservation where Vic led the annual big lease roundup.

Following World War I the price of horses dropped and the Figure Four became a cattle ranching operation. It became known as one of the finest cattle operations in the state. The Christensens maintained a home on the ranch and in Watford City. Vic became known as “The Flying Cowboy” because he often used a small plane to travel between Watford City and the ranch.

Vic became president of the North Dakota State Cattlemen’s Association. He died in 1953.

He was inducted in the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in the Pre-1940s Ranching category in 1998.

In more recent years the Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation) on the Fort Berthold Reservation purchased the historic Figure Four Ranch from ranchers Dean and Shirley Meyer in 1999. The roughly 9,300-acre ranch, east of Watford City, straddles Dunn and McKenzie counties. Today the ranch has buffalo and comes under the Three Affiliated Tribes’ Tourism.


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