As much as we like to romanticize cattle drives, they were more complicated than we imagined. Hours were long, food was monotonous, horses were bad, cattle were worse, and sleep was hard to come by. Yet, despite the hardships, many young men during the second half of the 19th century answered the call for trial hands. The allure of trailing thousands of cattle over wild lands and visiting far-off cattle towns like Abilene, Dodge City, and Ellsworth was too much to resist. Like most adventures, the extended drive had a mix of hot sun, dust storms, thunderous rain, treacherous river crossings, and merriment and peril. While these cowboy experiences cannot give us a complete look at every threat the cowboy faces, they should paint a general picture that will help us understand the known hazards. Regardless of the direction the drives took, they all faced roughly the same perils: stampedes, river crossings, and Indian attacks. Follow us now as we look at cowboy tales describing a cattle drive's hazards. Part 2: Stampedes, Jayhawkers, & Indian Troubles.
Cattle Drives Website
Legends of Dodge City Website