Richard Ladd was born Herbert F Buending in 1896. His parents divorced and his mother remarried. He ran away from home in his teens and changed his name and birth year. For a while, he worked on a ranch in Montana and then joined the US Navy. After serving in the Navy during World War I, he moved to Alberta, Canada and homesteaded in the Bergen area. He eventually became a Canadian citizen and married Ruth Rolston. They were the parents of four sons.