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Annie Bronn Johnston (March 5, 1912 — June 27, 1977), also known as Wild Horse Annie, was an animal rights activist. Johnston led a campaign to stop the removal of wild mustangs and burros from public lands. She was instrumental in passing legislation to stop using aircraft and land vehicles to capture wild horses and burros and to cease branding and causing their death.
Annie Bronn was born in Washoe County, Nevada to Joseph Bronn and his wife Gertrude Clay and grew up on the family’s "Lazy Heart Ranch". In 1923 she contracted polio and was confined to cast for six months. She married Charles Johnston and they took over operation of the ranch and later turning it into the "Double Lazy Heart Ranch", a dude ranch for children. The name of the ranch was changed so as to include Charles in the family business. Johnston also worked as a secretary for an insurance company.
Johnston became involved in the campaign to save the wild horses after driving to work in 1950. While following a truck loaded with horses on its way to a slaughterhouse she saw blood dripping from the back of the over crowded truck. This inspired her to do further investigation and bring it to the public. She collected evidence and began speaking to ranchers, businessmen, politicians and in schools about the roundup methods and treatment of wild horses and burros.
On her initiative and Nevada State Senator James Slattery's actions, Nevada passed a bill that made mustang roundups by planes and cars illegal on private property. The limitation to private property was a condition of the Bureau of Land Management. As large parts of Nevada were thereby excluded from the bill, Johnston continued to fight for a better protection of the mustangs.
On 8 September 1959 the campaign resulted in the federal legislature passing Public Law 86-234 which banned air and land vehicles from hunting and capturing wild horses on state land. This became known as the Wild Horse Annie act.
Johnston continued her campaign and in 1971, the 92nd United States Congress unanimously passed the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. It was signed into law by the then President Richard Nixon on December 15, 1971. This act prohibited capture, injury, or disturbance of wild horses and burros and for their transfer to suitable areas when populations became too large.
In 1959, Johnston was featured in Time magazine. The 1961 Western The Misfits on a script by Arthur Miller, last film of Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe and also starring Montgomery Clift, portrayed a horse roundup just outside of Reno and in the way against which Johnston had protested; in the film, Monroe's character becomes disgusted with the method, which leads to a climactic clash between the characters.