Ore was first discovered by Dan C. McDonald around 1900, and in 1903 a small tent camp was created to house workers of the White Pine Copper Company. It was named Ruth, after McDonald's three-year-old daughter. In 1904, a mill was built by the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company, and Ruth's post office opened on February 8th of that year.

In 1906 the Nevada Northern Railway came rolling into town, and copper production increased. The mine's developments had been all underground to this point, but starting in Summer 1907 steam shovels were used to strip overburden from the area. By 1910, a large oval pit was formed. In 1916, this pit and another were combined to create the massive Liberty pit.

Meanwhile, to make room for the growing mine, Ruth was moved a short distance away. By 1910, Ruth had become an orderly company town for the Nevada Consolidated Copper Co. and was home to around 500. There were bunkhouses, a boarding house, and a hospital in town and all utilities were provided by the Company. Saloons and bordellos were forbidden, so miners had to seek that entertainment elsewhere (see Riepetown).

Ruth continued to grow, reaching a peak population of over 2,200 just before the Depression. There were many attractive homes on the hillsides, some of which had to be moved at times to facilitate the ever-growing mine. The Kennecott Copper Corporation had partial ownership of the pit beginning in 1943, and would acquire full ownership in 1958. That same year, the fourteen miles of rail lines that ran to the bottom of the pit were replaced by trucks.

In the early 1950s, Ruth would no longer continue to be a company town. The homes were sold to the John W. Galbreath Company, which gave the occupants that had been renting their homes the opportunity to purchase them. Around this time, the town of Ruth was moved once again, about two miles to the north, to accomodate the expansion of the Deep Ruth mine. In 1970, there were about 600 people in New Ruth, and the former townsite had been almost completely obliterated by mining developments.

In 1978 Kennecott closed the mines in Ruth and the town began declining. From 1996-1999, the mines were reopened by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, who even used the former Nevada Northern trackage to the Southern Pacific at Shafter. The mines were once again reopened in 2004, this time by Quadra FNX Mining, and are still in operation today under KGHM.

Nevada Northern Railway