Coming Soon

You Just Can't See Them
From the Road

You Just Can't See Them
From the Road

An immigrant family in California’s Central Valley faces the loss of their land and way of life. One of the few remaining ranching families in the Bay Area watches urban sprawl creep in from every direction. Cowboys work in the shadow of the historic Hearst Castle. Wildlife find refuge on the biggest expanse of private land in Southern California. One of the largest Black landowners in the state discovers Native American artifacts on his ranch. Presented by California Rangeland Trust and directed by Keely Brazil Covello and Michaela Brazil Gillies, You Just Can’t See Them From the Road is a documentary portrait of modern West Coast ranchers—invisible to and misunderstood by the rapidly modernizing society they sustain.


Image of Nature Without Boarders International Film Festival logo
You Just Can’t See Them From the Road was made possible in part by Rancho Mission Viejo.
Directed & produced by: Keely Brazil Covello and Michaela Brazil Gillies
Cinematography & editing by: Christian May
Photographer and assistant producer: Karla Miller

Why we made the film

Less than 2% of Americans work in production agriculture.

When we lose our stewards, we lose our lands too.

The United States loses 2,000 acres of farm and ranchland every day.

Elgorriaga Ranch

The Elgorriaga family is one of the families featured in You Just Can’t See Them From the Road.

They are an honest and hardworking Basque-American family fighting to hold onto their land, livestock, and way of life in California’s Central Valley.

Most agricultural operations operate off debt capital, and the Elgorriaga family is no exception. To sustain their ranch into the future and ensure they would have access to a viable water supply, the family purchased a property adjacent to their home ranch. But that purchase involved debt. After years of battling unfavorable weather and market conditions, while also trying to comply with costly regulations, their ability to service the debt on their ranch has been challenging.

Having already had to sell off a portion of the ranch to make payments, the family hopes to avoid a similar fate. Instead, they are pursuing a conservation easement with the California Rangeland Trust to ease their financial burdens and simultaneously protect their beloved ranch in perpetuity.

Conservation easements benefit everyone.

Conservation easements offer a win-win solution for all of us. No matter your background, we can find common ground in protecting these landscapes. When family ranching operations go out of business, the land is often sold for development or converted to other uses. All of us are impacted by the loss of this precious land and the invaluable natural resources it safeguards. California ranches, like the Elgorriaga Ranch, help generate pure water, clean air, wildlife habitat, healthy protein, local jobs, and so much more.

Why Conserve Private Working Lands

Natural Resources

85% of the state’s fresh water runs over rangeland. Protected green space means clean air for all of us to breath. Almost 62% of open space in California is rangeland.

Climate Goals

Grazing can sequester carbon, reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and boost biodiversity.

Wildlife Habitat

California wildlife rely on private land, where 67% of endangered or threatened species spend their lives.

Wildfire Prevention

Cattle remove nearly 12 billion pounds of dry biomass from rangelands every year. That’s the biggest fuel treatment program we have in California.

Sustainable Local Economies

Healthy livestock means nutritious protein for families and communities. Keeping ranchers ranching is an investment in a strong local and state economy.

You Can Join the Fight to Conserve the Elgorriaga Ranch and Other Ranches in California

What we stand to lose is more than just land. It’s safety against out-of-control wildfires, it’s our connection to the earth and one another, it’s the real food we eat, and the very air we breathe. It’s our livelihoods and the health of our children’s children that we must protect today. Ranchers, like the Elgorriagas, are fighting every day to ensure we all can have access to these gifts of the land. YOU can fight alongside them.

DONATE today to conserve the Elgorriaga Ranch and others like it. Together, we can secure a brighter future for all through Rangeland Conservation.

About California Rangeland Trust

Founded in 1998, the California Rangeland Trust is a 501 (c)(3) organization headquartered in Sacramento, dedicated to serving the land, people, and wildlife by conserving California’s working rangelands. Using conservation easements as a tool, the Rangeland Trust has helped 87 ranching families permanently conserve nearly 380,000 acres of pristine rangeland.

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Follow the Rangeland Trust on Facebook and Instagram for more behind-the-scenes from You Just Can’t See Them From the Road.

About the Directors

L to R: Michaela Brazil Gillies, Christian May, Ernest Bufford, Keely Brazil Covello, Karla Miller

Keely Brazil Covello and Michaela Brazil Gillies are sisters and filmmakers. The daughters of ranch veterinarians in remote Northern California, they came together to co-create Go West Media after attending school and working in major cities across the country, inspired to bridge the rural-urban divide through storytelling. Keely and Michaela currently live in Orange County, California.

Share the film poster with your friends and tell people why you are joining the fight to keep ranchers ranching.

Visit the Rangeland Trust Blog to Learn More about Why Ranching Matters

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Stills from the Film