The history of this one family of Colorado Homesteaders is intriguing and unique. Allen Mingus built his families new home by hand using only the surrounding trees and rocks while living in a dugout. It took him two years to complete before he could move his wife and two daughters into their new life. Once there, not only did they experience incredibly harsh elements and isolation, but they suffered terrible tragedy as well. This story deserves to be preserved. Their story needs to be told.

The Story

     Mingus Ranch Cabin is located high in the San Isabel National Forest, Colorado.  This cabin and the surrounding ranch buildings were built by Allen Mingus in 1908 as part of the Homestead Act of 1862.  A later law allowed Allen to apply for a homestead on federal land.  He applied for and was soon granted his homestead of 148 acres in the San Isabel National Forest, Colorado.

Allen built this cabin and ranch by hand in a little over 2 years.  He used nothing but the raw materials on his new land.  He lived in a dugout while he built the house.  Once everything was built and ready, he moved his family to their new homestead.  They were his wife, Elva, his daughter Helen (4), and Maurine (2).  A few years later, they had their third daughter at this ranch.

They lived there as a family with no electricity or phones.  Life was hard.  There was no help.  It took 3 days of rough horseback riding to get to the nearest town Wetmore, Colorado for any kind of supplies or help.  It was incredibly isolated and brutally cold.  The land was wet and would grow very little.

Still they persisted and carried on.

Sadly, Allen’s wife Elva was trampled in the barn by one of their horses.  The horse was spooked and kicked her.  She was pregnant with their fourth child at the time and suffered a miscarriage.  She died two days later in the main house.  Because of the snow, she laid upstairs in the bedroom for a week before a carriage could be arranged to carry her down the mountain for burial at the cemetery.

Allen sent his daughters away to family to be raised as he could no longer do it on his own.

He stayed at and worked his ranch alone until his death on Christmas day 1963.



What do I fund?

Traveling is by far the biggest roadblock on our budget. The people we seek out don’t exactly live close to one another. We are attempting to find experts and the like from Colorado in order to save money. In particular, we aim to film existing family members and history experts.  We also need psychologists adept about the problems of isolation, as well as log cabin building experts.  Now, the best option would be to have these people actually filmed at the cabin.  However, it may be cheaper and more workable if we travel to them instead. That depends on the subjects and their willingness to travel or requirements for compensation. Your help will cover gas, lodging, food (and we swear we will live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to save $$!!), talent compensation, and other necessary living expenses when we are on the road. The plan is to finish filming during the remaining half of 2018, and as far into 2019 as necessary. Again, this is all dependent upon who we can arrange to be filmed and when.  We already have all the establishing shots of the residence and surrounding areas during spring and summer.  We have ample drone shots, cutaways, and close-ups/detail. Everything is done EXCEPT for the talking heads. We will also need to show the cabin during the fall and winter snow in order to show the magnitude of the place.  Once these final pieces are collected, then we will start on post production.

We will start another campaign for post production.

The Final Plan:

We aim to release the film early 2020.

Our goal is to get the finished film into the hands of Lisa Nishimura, the head of documentary and comedy programming for Netflix.