PORTLAND, Ore. – A ranching family whose legal case sparked an armed occupation of a wildlife preserve has lived for three generations in Oregon's high desert, building a large cattle operation and reputations for kindness and generosity.
Seventy-three-year-old Dwight Hammond and his 46-year-old son, Steven Hammond, are known for supporting charitable and civic causes in a remote region where residents rely on each other for survival and fellowship. They've also clashed repeatedly with the federal government over land management and water rights.
The armed anti-government group that has occupied a building at a national wildlife refuge near the Hammond ranch cited their experience as one of several cases of government overreach.
The father and son men were convicted of arson for setting fires that damaged federal property. They returned to prison this week.