Part of the charm of the Mother Lode is its rural ranching areas. Cattle still roam and graze on the gently-rolling hills and pastures, now green with winter rains. By the beginning of the first world war, newcomers had put down roots and turned to lumber and cattle as new mainstays of a smaller but more stable economy. Ranching hit its peak around the turn of the century, but many family-run ranches still operate in the Mother Lode area. Barbed wire fencing (seen in the accompanying photo) is silhouetted against the setting sun at a ranch near the Tuolumne/Stanislaus County line.