1930 - The Lazy B Ranch


Setting the Stage for a Life of Power and Purpose

Sandra Day O’Connor’s childhood was unusual—remarkable even. And it profoundly shaped the woman who would become a pioneer for other women. She grew up on a remote cattle ranch called the Lazy B. Its land stretched across the border between Arizona and New Mexico, and when O’Connor was born in 1930, the area hadn’t changed much since the Old West days. Windmills pumped water for the cattle, and, in the early years, the family home didn’t have electricity or running water.  

Ranching was hard, physical work, and being female didn’t matter—young Sandra was expected to do her share. Even as a young girl, she could ride horseback, drive a truck and a tractor, work with tools, change a tire, shoot a rifle, brand cattle and do many other things that girls back then were not expected to do. “We were all part and parcel of the operation out there,” she later recalled. “And everyone had a role to play.” Life on the Lazy B gave O’Connor a unique perspective on life and on an individual’s place in the world. Amidst the vastness of nature—the severe droughts and the welcome rainstorms, the heavenly blue skies and the fields of wildflowers—she learned that everyone can make a difference.