The winter of 1889-90 in Northeastern Nevada was brutal to ranchers. It has been estimated that up to 95% of the cattle in Elko County perished that winter due to the deep snows and frigid temperatures.
From the Daily Nevada State Journal 2 March 1890:
"A.G. Dawley returned last evening from Halleck. He reports a fearful state of affairs in Ruby Valley. In his corrals and about his stables the snow is drifted to a depth of 15 feet. He has two stallions in the stable which cannot be got out as the snow is piled up almost as high as the building, and feed and water is carried in to them through a small opening. During the recent storm about eight inches of snow fell which was fearfully drifted by the hurricane which prevailed during the fore part of the week. Mr Dawley fears this winter will pretty near wind up the stock business in Ruby Valley."