Former ranch hand says Dude Ranch paid her $20 for a 14-hour day

A woman on TikTok says she made $20 for a 14-hour day at her first job at a dude ranch when she was 16.

The woman, known as Carley (user @shinebaby01) on TikTok, shared a video detailing what the job was like. Her video received about 378,000 views as of Monday.

In the video, Carley says that the Dude Ranch is a local business that everyone in her hometown talks about a lot. When she was 16, she was looking for a summer job and saw an ad in the newspaper for a job on the ranch.

Since it was “supposed to be a really nice place,” Carley applied to be a ranch hand. The job would require her to milk cows, clean chicken coops, buck hay, cut firewood, fight horses, help ranch cooks cook dinner for guests, wash dishes, clean and do basically everything, says Carley.

Management informed Carley that the ranch pays minimum wage and directed her to come in for her first day the following Monday. They said they would talk about details at the end of the day.

@shinebaby01 Ooooh finding a job at a young age is so much fun. Not. #ranchhand #ranch #job #work #16yearold ♬ O-Ton – Carley

“I was like, ‘Great. You’re gonna love me,'” Carley says in the video. “It was basically anything I wanted to do, like I loved being outside, I loved doing ranch hand stuff. I just needed something to make money on all summer. I thought I would really enjoy it.”

That Monday, Carley showed up at the Dude Ranch at 6:30 a.m. and immediately got to work, she says. She caught her first red flag when she realized that the horses used for trail rides were “very inexperienced.” The five-year-olds who were out riding were bucked on the trails and Carley had to chase the horses to catch them, she says.

Throughout the day, the TikToker “did everything” at her new job and was polite and hardworking, she says. She even took out her facial piercings because the first thing management told her was that “people don’t come here to see that.”

Carley says she “jumped through hoops” and loved the job. She was there until 8:30 p.m., which means she worked a 14-hour day.

“I loved the long hours. I was 16, I had the energy, I wanted the money, I was there,” Carley says in the video.

At the end of the day, Carley turned to her manager and reminded her that they wanted to work out the details at the end of the day. The manager reached into her personal wallet, pulled out a $20 bill and gave it to Carley, the TikToker says.

Viewers couldn’t believe the end of the story.

“Minimum wage for EVERYTHING?? Nooo,” one viewer commented on the video.

In response to the comment, Carley wrote, “Yeah except the minimum wage was a lie lol she really only wanted to pay me $20 a day.”


Some viewers questioned the legality of even letting a 16-year-old girl work a 14-hour day.

“Um, legally you can’t work more than 8 hours in a day if you’re under 18,” said one user.

A second user wrote: “How is it legal to do a menial job for 14 hours at a time?”

In a highly requested second TikTok video, Carley says the manager told her “this is all I have” after handing her the $20 bill. Confused, Carley told her she didn’t need to be paid at that moment and asked what the usual payment period was. The manager told her, “It doesn’t really work that way around here.”

@shinebaby01 Part 2. And this is finding local work in a small town…suck #ranchhand #ranch #work #farm #16yearold #dontworkforfree ♬ Original sound – Carley

So Carley asked her manager how it worked, since she didn’t want to be paid $20 for a 14-hour day of hard work. Also, TikToker notes that she had to pay $13 for gas just to get to work that morning.

“She goes on to tell me how basically they ‘hire’ workers who come from other countries and just want to be there for the experience. And so they live at the lodge, do all the work for free, and just want to have the ranch-hand experience,” Carley says in the video. “And that’s what they wanted from me.”

Carley says she explained to her manager that she lives nearby and has to drive 45 minutes to the ranch and has no intention of working for free. The manager told Carley that they really liked her and would like to see her again tomorrow because they were shoveling gravel all day.

Carley politely tried to avoid confrontation, telling her manager that if they only gave her $20 a day from her wallet, she couldn’t work for the ranch.

“And then she basically told me if I wasn’t willing to work for free or for $20 a day, I would have to go somewhere else because I would be ungrateful. And that I should just be thankful for the experience I’m having,” Carley says in the video. “Like no honey, I already live on a farm. I experience this at home. Many Thanks.”

The Daily Dot contacted user @shinebaby01 via TikTok comment.

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*Initial publication: May 30, 2022 1:44 pm CDT Former ranch hand says Dude Ranch paid her $20 for a 14-hour day

Jaclyn Diaz

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