Fremont societies of the Uinta Basin incorporated domesticates into a foraging lifeway over a 1,000-year period from AD 300 to 1300. Fremont research provides a unique opportunity to critically examine the social and ecological processes behind the adoption and abandonment of domesticates by hunter-gatherers. We develop and integrate a 2,115-year precipitation reconstruction with a Bayesian chronological model for the growth of Fremont societies in the Cub Creek reach of Dinosaur National Monument. Comparison of the archaeological chronology with the precipitation record suggests that the florescence of Fremont societies was an adaptation to multidecadal precipitation variability with an approximately 30-plus-year periodicity over most, but not all, of the last 2,115 years. Fremont societies adopted domesticates to enhance their resilience to periodic droughts. We propose that reduced precipitation variability from AD 750 to AD 1050, superimposed over consistent mean precipitation availability, was the tipping point that increased maize production, initiated agricultural intensification, and resulted in increased population and development of pithouse communities. Our study develops a multidecadal/multigenerational model within which to evaluate the strategies underwriting the adoption of domesticates by foragers, the formation of Fremont communities, and the inherent vulnerabilities to resource intensification that implicate the eventual dissolution of those communities.