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Nevada Rancher and Feds Face Off Over Cattle

U.S. officials released 400 or so cattle rounded up on public land in Nevada from a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority.

. Protesters fall back from the gates of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) base camp where seized cattle were being held near Bunkerville, Nevada on April 12, 2014. U.S. officials ended a stand-off with hundreds of armed protesters in the Nevada desert on Saturday, calling off the government's roundup of cattle it said were illegally grazing on federal land and giving about 300 animals back to rancher Cliven Bundy who owned them. Jim Urquhart / Reuters

. Rancher Cliven Bundy, center, addresses his supporters along side Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, on April 12. Bundy informed the public that the BLM agreed to cease the roundup of his family's cattle. Jason Bean / Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP

. Protesters gather at the Bureau of Land Management's base camp near Bunkerville, Nevada on April 12. Hundreds of states' rights protesters, including militia members, showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals' return to rancher Cliven Bundy. Some protesters were armed with handguns and rifles at the corrals and at an earlier nearby rally. Jim Urquhart / Reuters

. Protester Chanley Iverson of Arizona waves the U.S. flag near the BLM's base camp on April 12.

The fight between Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management widened into a debate about states' rights and federal land-use policy. The dispute that ultimately triggered the roundup dates to 1993, when the bureau cited concern for the federally protected tortoise in the region. The bureau revoked Bundy's grazing rights after he stopped paying grazing fees and disregarded federal court orders to remove his animals. Jim Urquhart / Reuters

. Eric Parker from central Idaho stands watch on a bridge with his weapon as protesters gather by the BLM's base camp on April 12. Jim Urquhart / Reuters

. Protesters gather at the BLM's base camp on April 12. Jim Urquhart / Reuters

. Protesters yell at law enforcement officers near the BLM's base camp on April 12. Jim Urquhart / Reuters

. Cattle that belongs to rancher Cliven Bundy are released near Bunkerville, Nevada on April 12.

Bundy, 67, doesn't recognize federal authority on land he insists belongs to Nevada. His Mormon family has operated a ranch since the 1870s near the small town of Bunkerville and the Utah and Arizona lines. Jim Urquhart / Reuters

. Protesters place a sign on a bridge near the BLM's base camp on April 12. Jim Urquhart / Reuters

. An armed civilian waits nearby in some bushes as the Bundy family and their supporters demand the release of their impounded cattle on April 12. Jason Bean / Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP

. Protesters cheer on horseback riders as they herd cattle that belongs to rancher Cliven Bundy after they were released near Bunkerville, Nevada on April 12.

"Good morning America, good morning world, isn't it a beautiful day in Bunkerville?" Bundy told a cheering crowd after his cattle were released, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

— Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Jim Urquhart / Reuters