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´╗┐Title: Cowboy Life on the Sidetrack - Being an Extremely Humorous & Sarcastic Story of the Trials - & Tribulations Endured by a Party of Stockmen Making a - Shipment from the West to the East.
Author: Benton, Frank
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Book Cover]

Cowboy Life on
The Sidetrack

       *       *       *       *       *

Being an Extremely Humorous and Sarcastic
Story of the Trials and Tribulations
Endured by a Party of Stockmen
Making a Shipment from the
West to the East.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


Copyright, 1903,

       *       *       *       *       *

Press of
Hudson-Kimberly Publishing Company
Kansas City, Mo.


       *       *       *       *       *

  For justice no shipper e'er asked in vain
  From George H. Crosby or C. J. Lane.
  We go to them, as to our dad,
  When on their road our run is bad,
  And when we think the freight too large
  Ask them to rebate the overcharge.
  No matter which road you give your freight,
  To both these friends, this book I dedicate.

  F. B.

[Illustration: _The Author Waiting for the Train to Start._]


  Chapter I.--The Start                                               11
  Chapter II.--Chuckwagon's Dream                                     21
  Chapter III.--Grazing the Sheep                                     29
  Chapter IV.--Letters from Home Brought by Immigrants                33
  Chapter V.--Eatumup Jake's Life Story                               39
  Chapter VI.--The Schoolmarm's Saddle Horse                          42
  Chapter VII.--Selling Cattle on the Range                           48
  Chapter VIII.--True Snake Stories                                   56
  Chapter IX.--Chuckwagon's Death                                     61
  Chapter X.--Disappearance of the Sheepmen                           67
  Chapter XI.--Our Arrival in Cheyenne                                77
  Chapter XII.--The Post-Hole Digger's Ghost                          83
  Chapter XIII.--Grafting                                             89
  Chapter XIV.--The File                                              95
  Chapter XV.--The Cattle Stampede                                    99
  Chapter XVI.--Catching a Maverick                                  109
  Chapter XVII.--Stealing Crazy Head's War Ponies                    121
  Chapter XVIII.--The Cattle Queen's Ghost                           136
  Chapter XIX.--Packsaddle Jack's Death                              150
  Chapter XX.--A Cowboy Enoch Arden                                  164
  Chapter XXI.--Grand Island                                         170
  Chapter XXII.--"Sarer"                                             176
  Chapter XXIII.--Arrival at South Omaha Transfer                    195
  Chapter XXIV.--The Final Roundup                                   207


To the readers of this little booklet: I wish to say that while some
things in the story seem over-drawn, yet I have endeavored to write it
entirely from a cowboy standpoint.

To the sheepmen of the West: I want to say that I couldn't have written
this story true to the cowboys' character without making a great many
reflections on sheepmen, and I want to tender my apologies in advance
for anything they may consider offensive, as some of my old-time and
dearest friends in the West are among the large sheep owners. But I have
been a cowboy and worked with the cowboys for thirty-two years, and have
written the things set down here just as they came from the cowboys'
lips on a stock train as we were waiting on sidetracks. The names of the
cowboys used are the actual nicknames of cowpunchers whom I worked with
on Wyoming ranges twenty years ago, and will be recognized by lots of

The statement has been frequently made by newspapers that this volume
was written as a roast on the Union Pacific railroad. I wish to correct
that impression by saying that I selected that road for the groundwork
of this story to give them a good advertisement free in requital for the
many courtesies extended to me in times past by the officials of the
road, for whom I have the warmest friendship.




I met a man from Utah the other day by the name of Joe Smith, and he
gave me quite an interesting history of his shipping some cattle to
market over the great Overland route from Utah to South Omaha. I shall
tell it in his own language. He said:

I don't want to misstate anything, and I don't want to exaggerate
anything, but will tell you the plain facts.

When I and my neighbors, old Chuckwagon, Packsaddle Jack, Eatumup Jake
and Dillbery Ike got into the ranch with a drive of cattle we found that
three railroad live stock agents, two representatives of the union
stockyards and five commission house drummers had been staying at the
ranch for a week waiting to get our shipment. Each one took each of us
aside and gave us a dirty private as to what they would do for us. Every
one of the commission house drummers said their house was second last
month in number of cars of live stock in their market and they were
looking for them to be first this month; said their salesmen always beat
the other firms 10 cents a hundred on even splits, and their yardmen
always got the best fill on the cattle. We went off by ourselves to talk
it over and make up our minds which firm to ship to. Packsaddle Jack
said it was remarkable that they all told the same story, said it was
confusing as nary one of them had mentioned a point but what all the
rest had coppered the same bet. Dillbery Ike gave it as his opinion that
they were the bummest lot of liars he ever see. Old Chuckwagon and
Eatumup Jake now compared notes and discovered that all the drummers
were out of whiskey, but each drummer claimed the other dead beats had
drank his up. Old Chuckwagon took a blue down-hearted fit of melancholy
on seeing they was all out of whiskey and wouldn't decide on any of
them. Eatumup Jake just chewed a piece of dried rawhide and wouldn't
talk. Packsaddle Jack and me finally decided to bill the cattle to
ourselves till we got some further light on the subject.

[Illustration: _Scott Davis Leaving to Order the Cars, and to Grease and
Sand Them._]

As the great Overland agent agreed that his road would run us all the
way to market at the rate of forty miles an hour and the other live
stock agents couldn't promise only thirty-five miles an hour, we gave
the shipment to the Overland. The Overland agent went right into town to
have the cars greased and sanded ready to start. We followed in with the
cattle. It took us about seven days to drive the cattle in, and when we
got there the cars were coming--but hadn't arrived. We waited around
nine days, grazing the steers on sage brush in daytime and penning them
nights till they got so thin we had about concluded to drive back and
keep them for another year, when the cars came. It seemed the railroad
had got them pretty near out to us once, but had run short of tonnage
cars, so just had to haul them back and forth several times over one
division to make up their tonnage for the trains. This was very annoying
to the railroad men as well as ourselves, but they had their orders to
not let any California fruit spoil on the road and to haul their
tonnage, so just had to use these stock cars. It seems Harriman and Hill
and J. P. Morgan and all the other boys who own the western railroads
are very particular about every train hauling its full tonnage, and I
heard there was places they had a lot of scrap iron close to the track,
so if the train was short a ton or so they could load it on, haul it to
some place where there was some freight to take the place of it, and
then unload it for trains going the other way that were short on

Finally we got the cattle loaded and our contract signed. Got a basket
of grub, as we were informed there would be no time to get meals on the
road. It is to this basket of grub that we all owe our lives to-day, so
I will give a partial description of the contents. First, we had four
dozen bottles of beer; next, eight quarts of old rye whiskey; next, two
corkscrews, a hard boiled egg, a sandwich without any meat in it and a
bottle of mustard, as Dillbery Ike said he always wanted mustard.
Eatumup Jake was for getting a can of tomatoes, but old Chuckwagon said
he never had been empty of canned tomatoes in twenty years and wanted
one chance to get them out his system.

Well, we got on the way-car, were hitched on to the cattle train and off
at last for the first sidetrack, which was a quarter of a mile from the
stockyards. The conductor said we would start right away soon as he got
his orders, so Chuckwagon proposed we open the lunch, which meeting with
direct approval from the entire party, we proceeded to consume a large
section of it, and then went to sleep. When we woke up the sun was
sinking in the east, at least I maintained it was east, but Packsaddle
Jack said it was in the north. Anyway we argued till it sunk, and never
did agree. But we found we were on the same old sidetrack, and as our
lunch was about gone we made up a jackpot and sent Dillbery Ike after
more lunch. Packsaddle Jack went up and interviewed the agent in the
meantime, as he was the only one left in the party who was on speaking
terms with that functionary, and found out they were holding us there
for the arrival of eight cars of sheep that was expected to come by
trail from Idaho. These sheep belong to Rambolet Bill and old Cottswool
Canvasback, and these two gentlemen had seen a cloud of dust ten miles
away about noon and insisted on having the train held, as they were sure
the sheep were coming, which finally proved to be correct. So when they
got them loaded, about 11 o'clock that night, we quit quarrelling with
the agent, stopped making threats against the railroad superintendent,
got Dillbery Ike to put on his coat (he had kept if off all evening to
whip the railroad agent who was to blame undoubtedly for all this
delay), and finally started, with rising spirits. But as we got up to
the depot where the conductor was waiting with his final papers, the
head brakeman reported a cow was down up near the engine, and we all
walked up there and found that one of Dillbery Ike's critters had become
so weak and emaciated that it had succumbed right in the start. We
prodded her, and hollered and yelled, and Chuckwagon twisted her tail
clear off before we discovered she was stiff and cold in death and
consequently couldn't respond to our suggestions. Dillbery asked the
advice of a hobo (who was giving us pointers how to get her up before we
discovered her dead condition) about suing the railroad company for her.
The hobo agreed to act as witness and swear to anything after Dillbery
gave him a nip out of his bottle; and after we found out what a good
fellow the hobo was, how much he knew about shipping cattle and that he
wanted to go east, we concluded to put his name on the contract and make
him one of the party. We asked his name and he said 'twas most always
John Doe, but we nicknamed him Jackdo for short.

We all went back to the way-car and started up to the switch and back on
to a sidetrack, as No. 1 was expected to arrive pretty soon, as she was
four hours late, and was liable to come any time after she got four
hours late.

After taking some lunch we lay down on the seats and went to sleep,
Jackdo, Rambolet Bill and Cottswool Canvasback on one side of the car,
and Dillbery Ike, Chuckwagon, Packsaddle Jack, Eatumup Jake and myself
on the other side. It was rather crowded on our side of the car, but
none of us liked the perfume that Jackdo and the two sheepmen used.
About the time we got to sleep the brakeman came in, woke us all up so
he could get into the coal and kindling which is under the seat in a
way-car. It was warm weather, but the train crews always build roaring
fires in hot weather on stock trains, and he was only following the
usual custom. We got our places again and dropped off to sleep. The
conductor came in, woke us all up to punch our contracts. We went to
sleep again; the conductor came around, roused us all up to know where
we wanted our stock fed. Jackdo now gave us a great deal of advice about
where to feed and how much, but Dillbery said the cattle had got used
to going without feed so long that it wasn't worth while to waste time
feeding them now. Jackdo said all the stockmen fed plenty of hay to
their stock all the way to Omaha, but never let them have any water till
they got there, as they would get a big fill that way. We finally went
to sleep again. The conductor and brakeman took turns jumping down out
of their high airy cab on top of the car (where they keep a window open)
to build up the fire and see that all the doors and windows below were
tightly closed so the stockmen couldn't get no air, but hot air.
However, we had been getting hot air from the railroad live stock agents
and commission house drummers for some time and slept on till old
Chuckwagon begun to snore and woke us up again. It seemed he was having
a fearful nightmare, and we had all we could do to keep him from jumping
off the train till we got him fairly awake. But after we had each given
him a drink from our private bottles he gave several long, shuddering,
shivering sighs and told us his dream.



He said he dreamed he was in a deep narrow canyon, and it seemed to be a
very hot day, and he thought he walked in the broiling hot sun for miles
and miles, his mouth and throat parched with thirst and his eyes almost
bursting from their sockets with the heat, when all at once he heard the
low mutterings of thunder and he knew there was a storm approaching. The
thunder kept growing louder and louder, and he looked around for some
shelter and discovered a narrow crevice in the rocks, and just as the
storm broke he entered this crevice. He hadn't no more than got inside
when he saw a wild animal approaching the same place of refuge. It was
bigger than any two grizzly bears he ever saw in his life, but was black
with white stripes down its back, had a large bushy tail, and he knew he
was up against the biggest skunk the world had ever known, and trembling
with horror he crept farther and farther back into the crevice till he
was stopped by a stream of red molten fire that seemed to be flowing
across his path in the mountain. He was about to retreat, but as he
turned to retrace his steps the immense Jumbo skunk was coming in the
crevice backwards, with its enormous tail reared over its back, and
while the crevice seemed only just large enough for him, yet this great
animal had a way of flattening himself out that, while he was a great
deal taller than before, yet did he keep forcing himself gradually back
towards poor Chuck. Chuckwagon said he knew that if the skunk was
disturbed he would discharge that terrible effluvia that is known the
world over, yet the heat from the molten stream of fire was so great
that it burned his face and he was obliged to keep it turned towards the
skunk. Finally the animal had backed so far that the top of Chuckwagon's
head was just under the root of the skunk's tail. Then something
commenced to annoy the animal in front, and it started to back a little
farther. It was then he gave that despairing, blood-curdling,
soul-freezing yell that woke us up, and he said he could still smell
that awful effluvia even now that he was awake; but we told him it was
just the heat of the car and the perfume that Jackdo and the two
sheepmen had.

We now discovered that the train was in motion. We were in doubt a long
time, but after marking fence posts, setting up a line of sticks and
testing it by all the known devices, we became convinced that it was
really a fact, and when there was no longer any doubt left in our minds
we fell on each other's necks and sobbed for joy. We tapped four fresh
bottles in succession to celebrate the event and shook one another's
hands repeatedly. But, alas! in the midst of our rejoicing we came to a

It seems to be one of the rules of railroading to never pass a sidetrack
with a stock train till they find out whether that particular train will
fit that sidetrack. This sidetrack was 2,125 feet and 223 inches long
and our train just fit it like it had been made a purpose. If our train
had been three feet longer it would have been too long for this
sidetrack, and we had a long heated argument whether the train had been
made for this sidetrack or the sidetrack designed for this special
train; but, anyway, I never saw a better fit, and it shows what
mechanical heads railroad men have got. We became attached to this
sidetrack, and for a long time had the sole use of it. We held it
against all comers, trains of empty cars going west, gravel cars and
even handcars, but finally had to leave it, and it was with feelings of
sadness and regret that we at last had to bid it good-bye. Although we
had many sidetracks afterwards, yet as this one was the first we had
entirely to ourselves we hated to give it up and our eyelashes were wet
with unshed tears as we blew the last kisses from our finger tips when
it slowly faded from our sight around a narrow bend in the roadbed. How
long it remained true to us we never knew, probably not long, as it was
a lonely spot and undoubtedly was occupied by another stock train as
soon as we were out of sight.

While at this sidetrack we took a stroll over the hills one day and
found a sage hen's nest with the old hen setting. Dillbery Ike slipped
up, grasped her by the tail and in her struggle to free herself she lost
all her tail feathers and got away. Dillbery tied a string around the
tail feathers and took them along. This, as it turned out afterwards,
was very fortunate, as we were able by the feathers to settle a dispute
that might have led to serious consequences, which happened in this way:
Some time after the sage hen episode, while we were waiting on a
sidetrack one day for a gravel train going west, and having had nothing
to eat for a long time but mustard on ice, we had become very much
discouraged and had even tried to buy Cottswool Canvasback's coat to
make soup of, when Jackdo discovered a flock of half-grown young sage
chickens feeding along past the train, and immediately we were all out,
filled our hats with rocks and commenced to knock them over. We managed
to kill the most of them along with the old mother bird, and made the
startling discovery that she had lost her tail feathers. We showed her
to the division superintendent, who came along in his private car just
then and stopped to explain some of the delays on our run, and told him
the story of Dillbery pulling out her tail when she was setting. The
superintendent argued it couldn't be the same hen, but when Dillbery got
the bunch of tail feathers they just fitted in the holes in the poor old
bird's rump and that settled the dispute. There was another little
incident occurred afterwards that shows the world isn't so large after
all. One day while we were waiting on a sidetrack a mud turtle came
strolling by, and as Jackdo had suggested turtle soup for old
Chuckwagon, who, by the way, had been feeling bad ever since the night
he had the skunk dream, not being able to keep anything on his stomach,
we captured the turtle and on examining a peculiar mark on the back of
its shell discovered it was Dillbery Ike's brand that he had playfully
burnt into the animal the day before we left the ranch with the cattle.

[Illustration: _Rambolet Bill, Cottswool Canvasback and Jackdo Watching
the Sheep Graze._]



It's not generally known that when sheep get extremely hungry they eat
the wool off one another, but nevertheless this is a fact, and Cottswool
Canvasback and Rambolet Bill's sheep had long ere this devoured all the
wool off each other's backs, but we had had a couple good warm showers
of rain and the wool had started up again and was high enough for pretty
fair grazing, so the two sheepmen were middlin' easy, as they had a
receipt for cooking jackrabbits so they wouldn't shrink in the cooking.
They claimed that Manager Gleason of the Warren Live Stock Company had
invented this receipt. However, lambing season had come on and Cottswool
and Rambolet were kept pretty busy as double deck cars was very cramped
quarters to lamb in. Rambolet wanted to unload the sheep, and when they
got through lambing to drive them to Laramie City and catch the train
again, but Cottswool Canvasback said they would have to pay the same
tariff for the cars and insisted on the railroad company earning their


I remember a pathetic little incident that occurred about this time.
When we were waiting on a sidetrack one evening I suggested to Jackdo
that he sing us a song to while away the time, and he started in singing
"Home, Sweet Home," in a choked-by-cinders sort of voice, and he hadn't
been singing long before I discovered old Chuckwagon and Dillbery Ike
lying face downward on the seats sobbing like their hearts would break.
Chuck and Dillbery didn't have much of a home, as they batched in little
dobe shacks away out on the edge of the plains; but that old song, even
if sung by a hoot owl, would make a stockman weep when he is on a stock
train and has got about half-way to market. However, it didn't seem to
affect Eatumup Jake much, and yet Jake had married a big, buxom,
red-headed Mormon girl about six weeks before we started to ship. While
Jake looked like he was in delicate health when we left home, yet he had
grown strong and hearty on the trip in spite of the privations and
sufferings we had to go through, and was pretty near always whistling in
a lively way "The Girl I Left Behind Me."

We now arrived at a town. It was about two o'clock in the morning and
the conductor roused us up to tell us we would have to change way-cars,
as they didn't go any farther. We asked him which way to go when we got
off, and he said go anyway we wanted to. We asked him where our car was
that we would go out on, and he said, "Damfino." So we started out to
hunt it. This was a division station, there were hundreds of cars in
every direction and they had put us off a mile from the depot. We begged
piteously from everyone we met to tell us where the way-car was that
went out on the stock train. We carried our luggage back and forth, fell
over switch frogs in the darkness and skinned our shins, fell over one
another trying to keep out the way of switch engines, ran ourselves out
of breath after brakemen, conductors, engineers and car oilers, but
everyone of them gave us the same stereotyped answer, "Damfino." At last
we started out to hunt up the stock again, but just as we found it they
started to switching. However, we climbed on the sides of the cars and
hung on, all but poor old Chuckwagon, who had been sorter under the
weather and wasn't quite quick enough. But he chased manfully after us
till we came to a switch, when we dashed past him going the other way.
We hollered to him to follow the train, which he did, but only to find
us going the other way again. And thus we kept on. How long this would
have lasted I don't know, for old Chuck was game to the death and had
throwed away his coat, vest, hat and boots and was bound to catch them
stock cars, and the switchman and engineer was bound he shouldn't. But
finally the engine had to stop for coal and water, and they shoved us in
on a sidetrack, went off to bed and left us there till 10 o'clock the
next day. But I never shall forget the anguish and horror we endured for
fear we wouldn't find that way-car and they would pull the stock out and
leave us there. Packsaddle Jack gave it as his opinion that the railroad
people had plotted to do that, but we frustrated their designs by
getting on the stock cars and staying with them. We all believed
Packsaddle Jack was right, but since that time I've talked with a good
many cattlemen and found out that's the way they treat everybody.



We arrived at Hawlins, Wyoming, one bright sunny morning and planned to
get a square meal there and kinder clean up and take a shave. But this
was a sheep town and full of sheepmen and the odor of sheep was so
strong we just stopped long enough to fill our bottles and then
sauntered on ahead of our train, expecting to get on when it overtook
us. Well, we sauntered and sauntered, looking back from every hill, but
no train, and finally when we were tired from walking in the heat and
dust we found a shade tree, and, laying down, went to sleep. How long we
slept I don't know, but when we awoke it was night. In the darkness we
had hard work finding our way back to the railroad track, and for a
while were undecided which way to go, but finally took the wrong
direction, and after plodding along in the dark for several miles we
came on top a high hill and saw the lights of the town below us that we
left that morning. We now held a council as to who should go down to
town to get our bottles filled. Jackdo offered to go, but we had already
discovered we couldn't trust him on that kind of errand, as the bottles
would be just as empty when he got back as when he started, so finally
we sent Eatumup Jake and told him to inquire if our train was still
there or had gone sneaking by us when we were asleep. Jake returned
about midnight with the refreshments and the information that the train
was on ahead. So we started after it, exchanging ideas along the route
as to how far we would have to walk before we came to a sidetrack, as we
didn't doubt for a moment we would find the stock on the first siding it
could get in on. This was one of the pleasantest nights we had on our
whole trip, with good fresh air (we made the sheepmen and Jackdo walk
about three miles ahead of us and the wind was blowing in their
direction) and nothing to worry us. We talked of home and speculated as
to how many calves the boys at home had branded for us on their annual
roundups since we left.

Finally Chuckwagon stopped and sniffed a time or two and said he was
satisfied the sheepmen and Jackdo must have found the train. After we
walked a mile further we came to the sheepmen and Jackdo setting down at
a sidetrack, but the stock train was not there. We were much puzzled at
this, but after a great deal of argument Eatumup Jake, who had studied
Arithmetic some, proposed to measure the sidetrack. He suggested as the
only possible solution to the train not being there that probably the
track was too short for the train. The trouble now was to get some
proper thing to measure with. Finally we took Eatumup Jake's pants which
he had removed for the purpose, they being thirty-four inches inseam. By
taking the end of each leg they measured sixty-eight inches, or five
feet eight inches, to a measurement. Every time we made a measurement
Dillbery put a pebble in his pocket for feet and Chuckwagon put one in
his for inches. When we got through we made a light out of some sticks
and counted the pebbles. Dillbery had 292 and Chuckwagon 287. They both
insisted they had made no mistake, so we had to measure it all over
again. There had come up a little flurry of snow in the meantime, which
happens frequently at that altitude, and Eatumup Jake wanted them to
divide the difference between 287 and 292, but as one had inches and the
other feet, Eatumup Jake couldn't make the proper division in his head
and we had nothing to figure with. So we measured again and counted and
found they each had 287. As this would only equal forty-one stock cars,
and as there was forty-three cars of stock, five cars of California
fruit, three cars merchandise, nine tonnage cars and the way-car, we
knew our train couldn't possibly get in on this sidetrack. So Jake put
on his pants and we started on again, perfectly satisfied now that we
had solved what seemed at first a great mystery.

After walking several miles it became daylight and we discovered a man
and woman with a mule team and wagon, going the same way we were. As
they didn't seem to have much of a load and asked us to ride we
concluded to ride. However, as we couldn't all ride in the wagon at once
and as the wagon road wasn't always in sight of the track, we had Jackdo
and the two sheepmen walk along the track, and if they found the train
they were to holler and wave something to us so we would know.

Eatumup Jake had been kinder grumpy ever since he had to stand the
snowstorm without any pants on while we done the measuring, but now he
was to hear some good news which brought such overwhelming joy to him
as, indeed, it did to all of us, as our joys and sorrows were one on
this trip. It will be remembered that Eatumup Jake had married a buxom
Mormon girl about six weeks before we started with the cattle, and now
it turned out that these people, who were on their way from the Two
Wallys to Arkansas, had come by Jake's place in Utah and Jake's wife had
not only sent a letter by this couple to him, but the letter contained
the news that he was the father of twin boys. Jake's pride and joy knew
no bounds, and for a time he talked about going back and taking a look
at the twins and then catching up to us again. But we argued this would
bring bad luck, and anyway there were immigrants on the way from Oregon
to Arkansas all the time, and Jake's wife said all our folks in Utah had
agreed to send us letters every time anyone came by with a team going

We now came in sight of our stock train as it was slowly climbing a
grade, but we were loath to give up our new-found friends, the
immigrants, and it wasn't till they had drove several miles ahead of the
stock train that we finally bid them a reluctant good-bye and sauntered
on back to meet the special. This is the first time I've used the word
special, but all stock trains are known as specials because they make
special time with them.

After we got on the train and had taken the prod pole, and drove the
sheepmen and Jackdo out and made them ride on top, we emptied a bottle
or so and Eatumup Jake got very hilarious and sang "The Little Black
Bull Came Running Down the Mountain," while we all joined in the chorus.
And finally when old Chuckwagon, Packsaddle Jack and Dillbery Ike had
gone to sleep on the floor of the car, Eatumup Jake got me by the button
hole and told me the story of his life in the following words. He talked
in a thick, slushy, slobbery voice, something like the mud and water
squirts through the holes in your overshoes on a sloppy day, but this
was on account of a great deal of whiskey and the fact that he had taken
a slight cold the night before standing in the snowstorm while we used
his pants to measure the sidetrack.



He said his father was a poor Methodist preacher in a little country
place in western Kansas where he was born. Said they lived there many
years because they was so durn poor they couldn't get away. His father's
salary was paid promptly every month in contributions and consisted of
one sack of cornmeal, one sack of potatoes, two gallons sorghum
molasses, four old crowing hens, seven jack rabbits, one quart choke
cherry jelly and one load of dried buffalo chips for fuel. He said his
father was one of the most patient beggars he ever saw, that he took up
collections at all times and on all occasions, morning, noon and
night--week days and Sundays he passed the hat. He had seventeen
different kinds of foreign missions to beg for. He had twenty-one
different kinds of home missions to beg for, and while it was the
poorest community he ever saw, most people too poor to have any tea or
coffee, or overshoes for winter or shoes in summer, yet his father
begged so persistently that he got worlds of flannels for the heathens
in Africa, any amount of bibles for the starving children in New York
City and all kinds of religious literature for the reconcentrados in

Finally his mother died of nothing on the stomach, his father and a
woman missionary went to Chicago, his nine brothers and sisters was
bound out and adopted by different people, and he, the oldest child, was
taken in charge by a professional bone picker, and although he was only
10 years old at the time, yet he picked up bones on Kansas prairies
summer and winter for two years till a bunch of cowpunchers came along
and took him away from the bone picker. He said he never had anything
much to eat till he got into this cow camp, and just eat roast veal,
baking powder biscuits, plum duff and California canned goods till all
the cowboys stopped eating to look at him, and one of them asked his
name, and when he said Jacob, they immediately nicknamed him Eatumup

He said he never had seen any of his folks since all this happened, but
one night he had a dream, just as plain as day. He thought he was in a
big city and a one-legged man with blue glasses was following him, and
when he stopped the man said: "Jacob, I'm your father," and he asked him
how he lost his leg, what he was wearing blue glasses for (a placard
saying he was blind), and why he held out a tincup, and his father said:
"I aint lost any leg, it's tied up inside my pants leg, and I'm wearing
glasses so people can't see my eyes." And he said his father told him
that his training as a Methodist preacher had peculiarly fitted him for
a professional beggar.

When Eatumup Jake finished telling his story he fell to weeping and wept
very bitterly for a long time, and when I tried to comfort him by
telling him a man wasn't to blame for what his folks done, he said no,
but cowmen were to blame when they fell so durn low as to spend the best
part of their lives on a special stock train associating with a hobo and
two sheepmen.



One day while waiting on a sidetrack old Chuckwagon got to telling about
the new school-marm in their neighborhood. He said he reckoned she was
as high educated as anybody ever got. He said she didn't sabe cowpuncher
talk much, but she used some mighty high-sounding words. Why, he said,
she called a watergap a wateryawn; a shindig, a dawnce; Injuns,
Naborigines; cowboys, cow servants, and Bill Allen's hired girl, where
she boards, a domestic. The first night she came to Bill Allen's she
heard them a talking about cowpunchers, and she asked old Bill if he
wouldn't show her a real live cowpuncher: said there weren't any
cowpunchers in Boston, where she came from, and old Bill said he'd have
one over from the nearest cow ranch next day.

[Illustration: _George H. Crosby, General Freight-Agent D. & M._]

So next morning he comes over to my ranch and tells me to rig out in fur
snaps, put on my buckskin shirt and big Mexican hat with tassels on it,
with red silk handkerchief around my neck, and he would take me over and
introduce me to the new school-marm. So I rigged all up proper, and when
we got over to Bill Allen's place, old Bill told his wife to go to the
school-marm's room and tell her he had a genuine cowpuncher out there and
for her to come out and see him. She told Mrs. Allen she was busy
just then, but tell Mr. Allen to take the cowpuncher to the barn and
give him some hay and she would be out directly.

Now, he'd been wondering ever since, old Chuck said, what on earth she
reckoned a cowpuncher was. Still she was mighty green about some things,
'cause when they had a little party at old Bill Allen's all the girls
got to telling about the breed of their saddle hosses, and some said
their hoss was a Hamiltonian, and some said their hoss was thoroughbred,
and some was Blackhawk Morgan. The school-marm said she had a gentleman
friend in Boston who had a very fine saddle hoss of the stallion breed,
and when the boys giggled and the gals began to look red, she says as
innocent as a lamb. "There is such a breed of hosses, ain't they?" "Of
course," she says, "I know it's a rare breed and perhaps you folks out
here never saw any of that breed." She says, "They are great hosses to
whinney. Why, my friend's hoss kept whinneying all the time." When she
got to describing that hoss's habits, course all us boys begun to back
up and git out the room. I reckon she was from an Irish family, 'cause
she insisted Mrs. Flanagan was right when she called the station a

But I reckon she could just knock the hind sights off anybody when it
came to singing. I never did know just whether it was a song or not she
sung, 'cause none of us could understand it. She said it was Italian,
and of course there wasn't any of us understood any Dago talk. But she
would just commence away down in a kind of low growl, like a sleeping
foxhound when he is dreaming of a bear fight, and keep growling a little
louder and little louder, and directly begin to give some short barks,
and then it would sound like a herd of wild cattle bawling round a dead
carcass; then like a lot of hungry coyotes howling of a clear frosty
night, and finally wind up like hundreds of wild geese flying high and
going south for winter. She said her voice had been cultivated and I
reckon it had. You could tell it had been laid off in mighty even rows,
the weeds all pulled out and the dirt throwed up close to the hills. But
somehow I'd a heap rather hear a little blue-eyed girl I know up in the
mountains in Idaho sing "The Suwanee River," and "Coming Through the
Rye," 'cause I can understand that. But I guess them Boston girls are
all right at home. I reckon they are used to them there.



Then old Packsaddle Jack got to telling about Senator Dorsey, of Star
Route fame, selling a little herd of cattle he had in northern New
Mexico. He said the Senator had got hold of some eyeglass Englishmen,
and representing to them that he had a large herd of cattle in northern
New Mexico, finally made a sale at $25 a head all round for the cattle.
The Englishmen, however, insisted on counting the herd and wouldn't take
the Senator's books for them. Dorsey finally agreed to this, but said
the cattle would have to be gathered first. The Senator then went to his
foreman, Jack Hill, and asked Jack if he knew of a place where they
could drive the cattle around a hill where they wouldn't have to travel
too far getting around and have a good place to count them on one side.
Jack selected a little round mountain with a canyon on one side of it,
where he stationed the Englishmen and their bookkeepers and Senator
Dorsey. The Senator had about 1,000 cattle, and Jack and the cowboys
separated them into two bunches out in the hills, a couple of miles from
the party of Englishmen and out of sight. Keeping the two herds about a
mile apart, they now drove the first herd into the canyon, which ran
around the edge of the bluff, and on the bank of the canyon sat the
Senator with the Englishmen, and they counted the cattle as the herd
strung along by them. The herd was hardly out of sight before the second
bunch came stringing along. Two or three cowboys, though, had met the
first herd, and, getting behind them, galloped them around back of the
mountain and had them coming down the canyon past the Englishmen again,
and they were counted the second time. And they were hardly out of sight
before the second division was around the mountain and coming along to
be tallied some more. And thus the good work went on all day long, the
Senator and the Englishmen only having a few minutes to snatch a bite to
eat and tap fresh bottles.

The foreman told the English party at noon that they was holding an
enormous herd back in the hills yet from which they were cutting off
these small bunches of 500 and bringing them along to be tallied. But
along about 3 o'clock in the afternoon the cattle began to get thirsty
and footsore. Every critter had traveled thirty miles that day, and lots
of them began to drop out and lay down. In one of the herds was an old
yellow steer. He was bobtailed, lophorned and had a game leg, and for
the fifteenth time he limped by the crowd that was counting. Milord
screwed his eyeglass a little tighter into his eye, and says, "There is
more bloody, blarsted, lophorned, bobtailed, yellow, crippled brutes
than anything else, don't you know." Milord's dogrobber speaks up, and
says, "But, me lord, there's no hanimal like 'im hin the hither 'erd."

The Senator overheard this interesting conversation, and taking the
foreman aside, told him when they got that herd on the other side of the
mountain again to cut out that old yellow reprobate, and not let him
come by again. So Jack cut him out and run him off aways in the
mountains. But old yellow had got trained to going around that mountain,
and the herd wasn't any more than tallied again till here come old Buck,
as the cowboys called him, limping along behind down the canyon, the
Englishmen staring at him with open mouths, and Senator Dorsey looking
at old Jack Hill in a reproachful, grieved kind of way. The cowboys ran
old Buck off still farther next time, but half an hour afterwards he
appeared over a little rise and slowly limped by again.

The Senator now announced that there was only one herd more to count
and signaled to Jack to ride around and stop the cowboys from bringing
the bunches around any more, which they done. But as the party broke up
and started for the ranch, old Buck came by again, looking like he was
in a trance, and painfully limped down the canyon. That night the
cowboys said the Senator was groaning in his sleep in a frightful way,
and when one of them woke him up and asked if he was sick, he told them,
while big drops of cold sweat was dropping off his face, that he'd had a
terrible nightmare. He thought he was yoked up with a yellow, bobtailed,
lophorned, lame steer and was being dragged by the animal through a
canyon and around a mountain day after day in a hot, broiling sun, while
crowds of witless Englishmen and jibbering cowboys were looking on. He
insisted on saddling up and going back through the moonlight to the
mountain and see if old Buck was still there. When they arrived, after
waiting awhile, they heard something coming down the canyon, and in the
bright moonlight they could see old Buck painfully limping along,
stopping now and then to rest.

A cowboy reported finding old Buck dead on his well-worn trail a week
afterwards. But no one ever rides that way moonlight nights now, as so
many cowboys have a tradition that old Buck's ghost still limps down the
canyon moonlight nights.

[Illustration: _Counting "'Old Buck."_]


  Down in New Mexico, where the plains are brown and sere,
  There is a ghostly story of a yellow spectral steer.
  His spirit wanders always when the moon is shining bright;
  One horn is lopping downwards, the other sticks upright.

  On three legs he comes limping, as the fourth is sore and lame;
  His left eye is quite sightless, but still this steer is game.
  Many times he was bought and counted by a dude with a monocle in his eye;
  The steer kept limping round a mountain to be counted by that guy.

  When footsore, weary, gasping, he laid him down at last,
  His good eye quit its winking; counting was a matter of the past;
  But his spirit keeps a tramping 'round that mountain trail,
  And that's the cause, says Packsaddle, that I have told this tale.



Then we all got to telling true snake stories. Eatumup Jake said down on
the Republican River in western Kansas the rattle-snakes were awful
thick when the country was first settled. He said they had their dens in
the Chalk Bluffs along the Republican and Solomon rivers; said these
bluffs were full of them. It was nothing for the first settlers in that
country to get together of a Sunday afternoon in the fall of the year
and kill 15,000 rattle-snakes at one bluff as they lay on the shelves of
rock that projected out from its face. He said the snake dens were two
or three miles apart, all the way along the river for a hundred miles,
and when somebody would start in to killing them at one place, why all
the snakes at that den would start in to rattling. Then the snakes at
the dens on each side of where they was killing them would wake up and
hear their neighbors' rattle, and then they'd get mad and begin to
rattle and that would wake up the snake dens beyond them and start them
to rattling. And in an hour's time all the snakes for a hundred miles
along that country would be rattling. When these two hundred million
snakes all got to rattling at once you could hear them one hundred miles
away and all the settlers in eastern Kansas would go into their cyclone
cellars. But after the Populists got so thick in Kansas, if they did
hear the snakes get to rattling, they just thought five or six Populists
got together and was talking politics.

Then Packsaddle Jack told about a bull-snake family he used to know in
southern Kansas. He said the whole family had yellow bodies beautifully
marked below the waist, but from their waist up, including their necks
and heads, was a shiny coal black. The old man bull-snake would beller
just like a bull when he was stirred up. The old lady bull-snake had
sort of an alto voice and the younger master and misses bull-snakes went
from soprano and tenor down to a hiss. He said this family of
bull-snakes were very proud of their clothes, as there weren't any other
bull-snakes dressed like them, all the other bull-snakes being just a
plain yellow. And old Mrs. Bull-snake used to talk about her ancestors
on her father's side, and she called the scrubby willow under which they
had their den the family tree, and talked about the family tree half her
time. She never allowed her daughters to associate with any of the
common young bull-snakes, but kept them coiled up around home under the
family tree till they got very delicate, being in the shade all the
time. All the snakes in the country looked up to this family of
half-black bull-snakes and they were known by the name of Half-Blacks.
All the old female bull-snakes in the country around there, if they had
just a distant speaking acquaintance with Mrs. Half-Black, always spoke
of her as "my dear intimate friend Mrs. Half-Black." Old Papa Half-Black
set around all swelled up with unwary toads he'd swallowed when they
came under the family tree for shade, and while he didn't say much about
his ancestry and family tree, yet he was mighty proud and dignified.
Sometimes he would slip off from his illustrious family, and going over
the hill where there was a little sand blow-out and something to drink,
he'd meet some of the Miss Common Bull-snakes, and then he would unbend
a good deal from his dignity and treat them with great familiarity, and
after having a few drinks call them his sweethearts and get them to sing
"The Good Old Summer Time," and he would join in the chorus with his
heavy bass voice, and they would all be very gay. Of course, he never
told old Mrs. Half-Black about these meetings, cause she wouldn't
understand them.

But with all their glory this aristocratic family of half-black
bull-snakes came to an untimely end. One day there came along a couple
of mangy Kansas hogs and rooted the whole family out and eat them up as
fast as they came to them; rooted up the family tree also.

We all cheered Packsaddle Jack's bull-snake story.

We now all got to telling stories about fellows we knowed who had died
from mad skunk bites, said skunks creeping up on them in the night when
they were sleeping outdoors. When we got to the end of our mad skunk
stories we turned our attention to tales of friends of ours who had died
from rattlesnake bites. It seemed each of us had dozens of dead friends
who had met their doom by crawling into a roundup bed at night without
shaking the blankets only to find a couple of rattle-snakes coiled up
inside. The more we told the stories the more snake-bite antidote we
imbibed, till we got so full of the antidote it's safe to say that it
would have been sure death for any poisonous reptile to have bitten any
man in the crowd. Some of us wept a good deal over the memory of our
dead friends and other things, and all together this was about the most
enjoyable half day of our journey.



I now come to a point in my story that is fraught with such grief and
sorrow that I would gladly pass over if I could, but my story wouldn't
be complete without this sad chapter.

We were slowly climbing Sherman Hill, some of us pushing on the train,
some using pinch bars--as we always did where there was a hard
pull--when all of a sudden the engine broke down and the train started
slowly back down the hill. While the train didn't go very fast on
account that the wheels hadn't been greased since we started, as the
company was economizing on oil, and the train stopped when it got to the
bottom of the hill, yet it was so discouraging and heart-sickening to
poor old Chuckwagon that he died almost immediately after this took

He had been gradually growing weaker lately, not being able to keep
anything on his stomach except a little Limburger cheese since the night
he had the skunk dream. He always imagined this dream to be a warning,
and had low sinking spells at times, specially when the two sheepmen and
Jackdo were all three in the car in at once, and at such times we were
obliged to take a prod pole and drive Jackdo and the two sheepmen out
the car and make them ride on top till Chuck revived. We made some
smelling salts out of asafoetida and Limburger cheese for him to use
when he had these fainting spells, as he frequently did when the car got
warm and Jackdo and the sheepmen were there. We also found the
decomposed body of a dog lying beside the track one day, and gathering
it up in a gunnysack would hang it round Chuck's neck at night when the
sheepmen and Jackdo had to ride inside, and in that way he would get a
little sleep. But if he happened to be out of reach of any of these
remedies when one of the sheepmen come near him he immediately began to
strike at the end of his nose and mutter something about glue factories.

Poor old Chuckwagon! In my mind I can still see his rugged, tear-stained
face as he would piteously hold out his hands for his sack of decomposed
dog when one of the sheepmen or Jackdo came in the way-car.

All I know of Chuckwagon's life before he come West was what he told me
on this trip. He said as a boy he had worked cleaning sewers in Chicago
and after that was watchman for glue factories till he come West, but
with all this training had never got hardened enough to stand the smell
of Jackdo, Cottswool Canvasback and Rambolet Bill in a way-car.

He died like a hero. When we see he was going, Packsaddle Jack took a
prod pole and drove Jackdo and the sheepmen down the track a ways so
Chuck could breathe some purer air. Then we gave him a whiff of
decomposed dog, propped him up against an old railroad tie and took his
post-mortem statement in writing as to cause of his death. We let some
cattlemen who had formed themselves into a committee for the public
safety up in the New Fork country, in Wyoming, have his statement. We
now went to the nearest town, got the best coffin we could and after
selecting a place right under a big cliff, we buried old Chuck and piled
up a lot of rock at the grave so we could come back and get him and give
him a good decent burial on his own ranch. We didn't have much funeral
services, but Dillbery Ike made a talk which just filled all our ideas
exactly, and here is what he said:


Chuck was a good man. While he never joined church and drunk a heap of
whiskey, bucked faro and monte, cussed mighty hard at times, yet he
always paid his debts. Never killed other people's beef and didn't take
mavericks till they was plum weaned from the cows. He believed mighty
strong in ghosts and God Almighty; believed in angels, 'cause he loved a
little, blonde, blue-eyed girl away up in the mountains in Idaho. He had
a strong belief in heaven, but a heap stronger one in hell, 'cause he
said there must be some place to keep the sheepmen by themselves in the
other world. He never had a father or mother and no bringing up, but
lived a better life 'cording to what he knowed than some people who
knowed more. He always gave his big-jawed cattle to Injuns to eat, place
of hauling the meat to town and peddling it out to white folks. He'd
been known to even cut stove wood for married men when their wives were
off visiting, and once he gave all the tobacco and cigarette papers he
had to a sick Digger Injun and went without for a week himself. He
always let the tenderfoot visitor at the ranch fish all the strips of
bacon out the beans and pretended to be looking the other way, and when
old Widow Mulligan, who ran a little milk ranch, died of fever and left
four little red-headed kids he took them all home and took care of them,
told them bear stories till they all went to sleep nights in his bed,
washed them, fed them and never said a cross word, and even when they
drowned his pet cat in the well, let out his pigs, turned the old cow in
his garden and stoned all his young Plymouth Rock chickens to death, he
just said, "Poor little fellars, they hain't got no mother now," and he
guessed they didn't mean any harm, and took care of them till a relative
came and took them away.

We figured all these things up and made up our minds that no fair-minded
God would send a great, big-hearted, innocent cowman, who never harmed
anybody in his life, to a place like hell was supposed to be. Even if
God couldn't let him into heaven on 'count of his wearing his pants in
his boots, eating with his knife at the table place of his fork,
drinking his coffee out his saucer and other ignorant ways, yet He might
give him a pretty decent place away out where there wasn't any sheepmen,
and if He didn't have somebody handy to keep old Chuck company just let
him have a deck or two of cards to play solitaire with and Chuck
wouldn't mind.

Old Chuckwagon was mighty fond of white-faced cattle, and just as he
breathed his last he sorter roused up and stretched out his arms, with
his eyes as bright as 'lectric lamps, and said: "Boys, I see another
country, just lots of big grass, with running streams of water, big
herds of white-face cattle, and they are all mavericks, not a brand on
'em, and not a sheep-wagon in sight." And them was his last words.

  He lay on the sidetrack, poor honest Chuckwagon,
    The pallor of death creeping fast o'er his brow;
  Said he to the cowboys, "My rope is a dragging,
    I'm going o'er the divide and going right now.

  "I've often faced death with the bronks and the cattle,
    And meeting him now doesn't take so much sand.
  For sooner or later with death all must grapple,
    And all that we need is to show a straight brand.

  "I would like one more glimpse at the side of the mountain,
    Before I saddle up for Eternity's divide;
  The ranch house, the meadow, the spring like a fountain,
    But, alas for poor Chuck, my feet are hogtied."

  Down his bronzed hardy cheeks the warm tears were stealing,
    At the memory of his cow ranch, so pleasant and bright.
  A smile like an angel played over each feature,
    And the soul of the cowboy rode out of sight.



After we buried Chuckwagon we walked across a bend in the road and
caught up with the stock train and strolled on ahead with sad hearts and
silent lips till we arrived at the top of Sherman Hill. We prepared to
wait for the arrival of the stock train, so selecting a site on the
south side of Ames monument, we built a snow hut by rolling up huge
snowballs and piling them up one on top of the other for walls to a
height of about seven and one-half feet, leaving a space for our room of
about twelve feet square inside, and gradually drawing them together at
the top for a roof, and making a big snowball for the door. After it was
all finished we let the sheepmen and Jackdo go over across the canyon
about two miles and build another hut for themselves. We moved our
luggage (which we had carried to lighten up the train) inside, and after
closing the door with the big snowball, we ate a hearty supper of boiled
rawhide, and spreading down a sheet of mist, we rolled up in a blanket
of fog and went to sleep.

We hadn't no more than got to sleep before a lightning rod agent by the
name of Woods came along and put up lightning rods all over our snow hut
and woke us up to sign $350 worth of notes for the rods. This matter
attended to, we went to sleep again and the lightning rod agent went
over across the canyon to the sheepmen's hut and put rods on it. This
man Woods was a good fellar, got people to sign notes by the wholesale,
but never did anything so low as to collect them, just turned them over
to a lawyer and let him attend to that. He was always broke and borrowed
your last "five" in a way that endeared him to you for life. He never
bothered with paying for anything, always said, "Just put it down, or
charge it," in such a lofty way that everyone in hearing would begin to
hunt for pencils right off. He put lightning rods on everything, even to
prairie dogs' houses and ant heaps, took anybody's note with any kind of

Cottswool Canvasback, Rambolet Bill and Jackdo couldn't write, but he
had Rambolet Bill make his mark to the note and then Cottswool
Canvasback and Jackdo witnessed it by affixing their mark; then he had
Cottswool Canvasback sign his mark as security and Rambolet Bill and
Jackdo witness the signature with their marks; then had Jackdo sign his
mark as security and Rambolet and Cottswool witness it with their marks.

We had put out a signal flag on our snow hut so the trainmen would know
where to find us when they came along with the stock. When we awoke
next morning and went outdoors a strange sight greeted our astonished
vision. There had come a [1]chinook wind in the night and melted the snow
off up to within one hundred feet of our altitude. As Jackdo and the two
sheepmen had built their snow residence about 150 feet lower altitude on
the other side of the canyon, their house had melted down over their
heads, and as they were nowhere in sight it was safe to presume they had
been carried away in the ruins. We had quite an argument now, whether we
should try to find them or not. Dillbery Ike maintained they was human
beings and as such was entitled to our looking for them. Packsaddle Jack
said he didn't know for sure whether sheepmen were humans or not. He
guessed it was a mighty broad word and covered a heap of things. Eatumup
Jake said he reckoned they would turn up all right, that sheepmen didn't
die very easy, that he knowed them to pack off more lead than an
antelope would and still live; he guessed being washed off the side of
the mountain wouldn't kill them. He said we'd better wait till the
trainmen came along and then report the matter to them, as the sheepmen
would want damages off the railroad or somebody and we'd better not hunt
them up too quick as it might jeopardize their case. We all agreed there
was some difference in sheepmen, and that Rambolet Bill and Cottswool
Canvasback certainly belonged to the better class, and we all fell to
telling stories of the generous, open-handed things that sheepmen of our
acquaintance had done.

Packsaddle Jack said he knowed a sheepman once by the name of Black
Face, who was so good-hearted that he paid $20 towards one of his
herder's doctor bill when he lost both feet by their being frozen in the
great Wyoming blizzard in '94. The herder stayed with the sheep for
seventy-two hours in the Bad Lands and saved all the 3,000 head except
seven, that got over the bank of the creek into ice and water and
drowned. The herder having got all but these seven head out and getting
his feet wet they froze so hard that Black Face said his feet was
rattling together like rocks when he found him still herding the sheep.
Of course, the sheep might have all perished in the storm if the herder
didn't stay with them, and of course, the herder didn't have anything to
eat the entire three days in the storm, as he was miles from any
habitation and that way saved Black Face 30 cents in grub. But we all
agreed that while Black Face would feel the greatest anguish at the loss
of the seven sheep and giving up the $20, yet the satisfaction of doing
a generous deed and the pride he would experience when it was mentioned
in the item column of the local county paper would partially alleviate
that anguish.

Eatumup Jake said he knew a sheepman by the name of Hatchet Face from
Connecticut, who had sheep ranches out there in Utah, and he was so
kind-hearted that when one of his herders kept his sheep in a widow
neighbor's field till they ate up everything in sight, even her lawn and
flower garden, he apologized to the widow when she returned from nursing
a poor family through a spell of sickness, and told her he would pay her
something, and while he never did pay her anything, yet he always seemed
sorry, while a lot of sheepmen would have laid awake nights to have
studied a way how to eat out the widow again. Eatumup Jake said old
Hatchet Face, when he prayed in church Sundays (he being a strict
Presbyterian), he always prayed for the poor and widows and orphans, and
that showed he had a good heart, to use what influence he had with God
Almighty and get Him to do something for widows and orphans and poor

Dillbery Ike said he knew a sheepman by the name of Shearclose, and
while he never gave his hired help any meat to eat except old
broken-mouthed ewes in the winter and dead lambs in the spring and
summer, and herded his sheep around homesteaders' little ranches till
their milk cows mighty near starved to death, yet old Shearclose gave $5
for a ticket to a charity ball once when a list of the names of all the
people who bought tickets was printed in the county paper.

[Illustration: _C. J. Lane, General Freight Agent and Pass Distributer
to Live Stock Shippers._]

After we summed all these things up, our hearts got so warm thinking of
these acts of generosity by sheepmen that we concluded to make a hunt
for Rambolet Bill, Cottswool Canvasback and Jackdo. We now discussed a
great many plans how to rescue them. While we were arguing the stock
train came, and when we told the conductor, he immediately had the agent
wire General Freight Agent C. J. Lane at Omaha the following message:

"Two prominent sheepmen swept away by freshet while camping ahead of
special stock train No. 79531. Please wire instructions how to find

Lane immediately wired back not to find them, and if there was any trace
left of them to obliterate it at once.


We now sauntered down Sherman Hill ahead of the train to Cheyenne,
expecting to get some help there to find Rambolet Bill and Cottswool
Canvasback, and was much surprised to discover Jackdo asleep riding on
the trucks of a car in a special that went by, and on waking him up he
told us the following story of his escape:

He said when the flood came he got astride a big snowball and making a
compass out of a piece of lightning rod he pointed it for the north star
so as to not lose his bearings and started for Cheyenne. He said it was
a wild ride, that he passed cattle and horses, forests and ranches in
quick succession and his snowball was almost worn out when he got below
the altitude of the chinook wind and struck a country of ice and snow
again. But it was impossible to stop, he had acquired such a momentum
going down the mountain that he slid through nine miles of cactus and
prickly pears without having changed the sitting position he started in.
However, after his snowball wore out, he just held up his feet and kept
on till he struck a special stock train going East, and after knocking
two of the cars off the rails and breaking the bumpers of a half-dozen
more, he checked up enough to crawl on a brake beam and go to sleep. He
knew nothing of Rambolet Bill and Cottswool Canvasback.


[1] For the benefit of our readers who do not know what a chinook wind
is, I will explain that it is a hot, violent coast wind which blows at
certain periods of the year at certain altitudes in the West.



We arrived in Cheyenne, and after reporting to the dispatcher what time
our special stock train would arrive, we exposed Jackdo to the gentle
breeze, which is always on tap in Cheyenne, and it blew all the cactus
slivers out of his anatomy that he had accumulated in his nine miles
slide in just thirteen seconds. We then started out to see the town. We
asked an expressman on the corner of Main Street--he was the only live
human being in sight--what was the main features of Cheyenne. He said
Tom Horn and Senator Warren. We asked him what they was noted for, and
he said that Tom Horn was noted for killing people that took things that
didn't belong to them and then blowing his horn about it afterwards, and
Senator Warren was noted for building wire fences on government Land and
taking everything in sight.

Not seeing anyone on the streets, we asked him if it was Sunday, and he
said every day was Sunday in Cheyenne except when they had a political
rally, and then it was a durn Democratic funeral from sun to sun,
burying the Democratic party over and over again, they rehearsed them
same old services. Whenever people saw the politicians on the streets
with clean shirts on they knew the Democratic party was going to have
another funeral. The folks in Cheyenne was always going to church, or
else burying the Democratic party. We asked him what the prevailing
religion of the town was, and he said, "High-priced wool."

Just then Senator W---- came along, and hearing of the disappearance of
two sheepmen, and it being near election time, he immediately had all
the troops called out, got together a vast army of United States deputy
marshals and wired the president of the Overland, who immediately
chartered a special train loaded with detectives, and two cars loaded
with blood-hounds in charge of a lawyer by the name of Ashby from
Lincoln; one car loaded with automobiles, two cars loaded with bottled
goods and other useful supplies and two pianos with pianola attachments,
seven trunks full of mechanical music in air-tight bottles, and one
steam calliope near the engine on a flat car. The Governor of Wyoming
met the special train at Cheyenne, and after issuing a proclamation
offering a large reward for the sheepmen dead or alive, joined the U. P.
president in his car. They now started the steam calliope, and the
Governor playing one of the pianola-attachment pianos, the U. P.
president playing the other. The state chairman of the Republican party
sang the old familiar hymn, "Ninety and Nine Were Safely Laid in the
Shelter of the Fold," and Senator W---- made a speech something like

He said: "Fellow sheepmen and what few other citizens there are in
Wyoming: What's the matter with the sheep business? Have we deteriorated
in the eyes of the world in the last two thousand years? Who writes
poetry of the sheep and sheepherder of the present time? What artist
puts priceless paintings on canvass of the sheep business to-day? Why,
fellow sheepmen, in ancient times all the poetry that was written was of
the shepherd and his flock, and in every palace, in the most conspicuous
place, was a picture of a tall shepherd with venerable beard and flowing
locks, with his serape thrown carelessly over his shoulder, a long
shepherd's crook in his hand, leading his sheep over the hill into some
fresher pasture. And when the people saw the original of this painting
in ye ancient time appearing over the hill in the sunset glow, they
cried: 'Lo, behold the shepherd cometh.' Now what do they say? This is
what you hear: 'Well, look at that lousy sheepherding scoundrel coming
over the divide with his sheep. Boys, get your black masks and the wagon

"Now," he says, "wouldn't that Ram you? What would our party have
amounted to in Wyoming if I hadn't Bucked everything in sight? I've
Lambed the stuffing out of the Democrats and Pulled Wool over the eyes
of the would-be party leaders till we have Pretty Good Grazing and Fair

"In a few days we will be called on to decide a great question at the
polls, whether Billy Bryan will build your house out of cold, clammy,
frosty silver bricks, or whether we will have houses built out of all
wool. You must make a choice between the two. If you vote for me, it
means a good, warm woolen house, good woolen underclothes, good woolen

Judge Carey tried to say something about a gold plank, but everybody
frowned at him so that he slunk off in the crowd and shortly afterwards
was seen in a back alley having a heart-to-heart talk with two
bow-legged cowpunchers who, while they did not know much about any kind
of gold, let alone a big gold standard, knew anything was better than
all this talk about sheep and wool.

Senator W---- kept talking as long as he could keep the Governor and the
U. P. president making music. He said everybody who voted right could
sit on his right hand with the sheep, otherwise they would have to
associate with the goats on his left that was herded by Billy Bryan.
Some of the crowd grumbled about associating with either one, but the
Senator said there was no choice if they stayed in Wyoming.

A carriage now dashed up, all emblazoned with a coat-of-arms, which
consisted of a panel of barbed wire fence with a rampant sheep leaning
against it. The Senator entered this carriage, rolled away and the crowd
followed him.

Although there had been no effort made to find the sheepmen, yet
apparently the object of the railroad expedition had been accomplished,
and they were about to return when they discovered that three of the
highest-priced detectives were missing. They were found almost
immediately on the trail of the man who could tell why a life-long
Democrat in Wyoming, as soon as he starts in the sheep business, gets a
public office in place of a life-long Republican who didn't own any
sheep. The detectives were called off the trail and the president of
the great Overland began his return. We heard afterwards that Captain
Ashby claimed that two of the most valuable blood-hounds escaped from
the hound car and he demanded that the U. P. pay him $700 for the dogs.
He claimed that if they struck the trail of anything they would follow
it to the death. A couple of mangy fox-hounds were found dead in an
alley back of one of the Cheyenne hotels the next morning after the
president's train left, and as it was known that one of the hotel cooks
had been down to the train, these were supposed to be the dogs, and the
claim was allowed. What caused their death was a matter of conjecture.
There was quite a pile of hotel grub laying near the dogs. The hotel
boarders differed in opinion. Some said the dogs died of indigestion and
some said of starvation.



The skeletons of Rambolet Bill and Cottswool Canvasback were found a
long time after this all happened by one of the Warren Live Stock
Company's fence riders. This fence commences in northeastern Colorado
near the 27th degree of longitude west from Washington, and extends west
over hills and valleys, plains and mountains, through all kinds of
latitudes, longitudes and vicissitudes. There is a legend in regard to
the building of this fence that is told in whispers when the fire burns
low of a night in western homes. It runs something like this:

Years ago Senator Warren, Manager Gleason and some other Massachusetts
Yankees started in the sheep business in southern Wyoming and northern
Colorado, and as the country was large they thought it would be a good
thing to fence in a few hundred thousand acres of government land and
save the grass so fenced in case of hard winters and other things and
graze their sheep in this enclosure only when there was no more grass
around the little homesteads taken here and there by settlers. So hiring
a young German from the Old Country, who couldn't speak a word of
English, to dig the post-holes, they got him a brand-new shovel, a
post-bar about eight feet long, the famous receipt for cooking
jackrabbits, and started him digging near the 27th degree of longitude
west from Washington. Pointing toward the setting sun in the west, they
went off and left him. The German was never seen alive again, but he
left a never-ending line of post-holes behind him. The Warren Live Stock
Company, it is said, put on a great many men setting the posts in these
holes and stringing barbed wire on them, and although they kept ever
increasing the force that built the fence, yet they never caught up with
the German, and time after time the post-setters would come to the top
of a high hill or a range of mountains and thought they would come in
sight of the German, only to see a long line of post-holes stretching
away over hill and valley towards the setting sun.

After a while the Mormons along the line of Utah and Wyoming complained
of seeing a ghost about the time they drove their cows home of an
evening. They said it was a German with grizzled locks and flowing
beard, with a large meerschaum pipe in his mouth and a shovel in one
hand from which the blade was worn down to the handle and a post-bar no
bigger than a drag tooth in the other hand. He was always looking toward
the setting sun, shading his eyes with his hand and muttering these
words: "Das sinkende Sonne, ich fange sie nicht."

But when they approached close to him, or spoke to him, he immediately
vanished. When the ghost wasn't disturbed it seemed to be digging holes.
It would go through the motions of digging a hole in the ground, then
rising up, take thirteen steps in a westerly direction, look back to see
if the line was straight, dig another hole, and go on. Sometimes the
ghost seemed to be studying a well-worn piece of paper, which was
undoubtedly the receipt for cooking jackrabbits, and would mutter in
German, "O wohene, O wohene ist er gegangen, mit Schwanz so kurz und Ohr
so lang? O wohene ist mein Hase gegangen?"

After awhile the ghost began to appear in western Utah and still later
on in Nevada, always digging a never-ending imaginary line of
post-holes. No one never knew where the actual post-holes left off and
the imaginary ones commenced.

As the Routt County cattlemen in western Colorado never allowed any
sheepmen to encroach on their range, and they always killed all the
sheep and sheepmen who dared to intrude, of course, the Warren Live
Stock had to stop building fence west and turn north before they got

When the ghastly skeletons of Rambolet Bill and Cottswool Canvasback
were found lying by this fence, their bones picked clean by coyotes and
vultures, a small book was picked up near them which proved to be a
diary of their adventures and last hours of suffering. It will be
remembered that Rambolet Bill and Cottswool Canvasback couldn't write,
but they had drawn pictures in the book, and when we had gotten another
sheepman who couldn't write to examine them he read them just like
print. The first picture was a mountain with a lot of marks, which was
interpreted as the flood, and two men drawn crosswise laying down was
the sheepmen being washed away. The next picture was a wire fence with
two men clinging to it. He said that was when they washed into the
fence. The next was another fence picture showing two men walking along
it. There was about fifty pictures after this one, but they always had a
section of a wire fence in them. Several pictures in the front part of
the book showed the two men eating jackrabbits, but later on some of the
pictures showed them chasing a prairie dog, or trying to slip up on one,
indicating that they couldn't find any more jackrabbits. There was
pictures of them chewing bits of their clothes to get the sheep grease
out of them. Then there was pictures of them pointing to their mouths
and stomachs, finally in the last picture they were in the act of eating
a piece of paper with some writing on it, which was probably the receipt
for cooking jackrabbits. They probably had walked hundreds of miles
along this fence before they finally succumbed, and as it was a country
where they had herded large bands of sheep the grass had become so
exterminated that no jackrabbits could live there, and consequently
Rambolet Bill and Cottswool Canvasback had gradually starved to death.

  Two guileless sheepmen lay sleeping on the side of a barren hill,
  One's name was Cottswool Canvasback, the other was Rambolet Bill.
  They were dreaming, sweetly dreaming, the fore part of the night
  Of grazing their sheep on a homesteader's claim when he was out of sight.

  But hark! to the wind that's rising; 'tis coming fast and warm;
  Little recked the sleepers that it would do them harm;
  But the roar was growing louder, as the pine trees bent and shook,
  And the birds were screaming loudly, "Beware of the warm chinook."

  When that hot blast struck their hut, built out of walls of snow,
  That house turned into a river in a way that wasn't slow;
  Washed off these dreaming sheepmen in the middle of the night.
  As the waters swept the dreamers away, what must have been their fright,

  Till tangled up in Warren's fence that's built o'er mountain and vale,
  They followed it the rest of their lives, winding o'er hill and dale.
  When found by the annual fence rider, they long since had been dead,
  Their bones picked clean by coyotes, with vultures hovering o'erhead.



One night while we were in Cheyenne we were going from the dispatcher's
office down to our way car, which was, as usual, about one mile from the
depot. The railroad company had quite a number of police on duty in the
yards to watch for strikers, there having been a machinists' strike on
for a long time. No strikers had ever come around the railroad yards
nights or even interfered with any one at any time, but a lot of fellows
who wanted soft jobs as watchmen made the officials of the road think
the strikers were going to do something, and these night watch men had,
it seems, been looking for a long time for some weak tramp to beat to
death and then claim the tramp was working in the interest of the
strikers and was about to injure railroad property when those awful
sleuths caught him in the act and put his light out. Thus they could get
a fresh hold on their jobs. However, they had been unable to catch a
tramp, and as they had to get somebody in order to hold their jobs, they
cornered Dillbery Ike, who had loitered behind the rest, and one of the
valiant watchmen swiping him over the head with a six-shooter, scalped
him as clean as a Sioux Injun would have done it with a scalping knife.
Hearing Dillbery Ike's cries for help, we went to his rescue, and none
too soon, as the watchman was still beating him. When we had got a
doctor for Dillbery, of course the first thing he asked for was
Dillbery's scalp, so he could sew it on again. But although we made a
long search for the scalp, we only found a few bloody hairs, and
undoubtedly some hungry canine prowling around had ate it up. However,
the railroad company, after some parleying, agreed to pay for having a
new one grafted on, and as grafting is the long suit of the Cheyenne
doctors, there was a general scramble for the job. 'Twas finally agreed
to divide the job amongst them, or rather divide the space and the
money. The doctors immediately advertised for contributions of pieces of
scalp to graft on Dillbery's head, but no one responding they offered to
buy some sections of scalp, and this ad was responded to in a mysterious
way by a midnight visitor at each of their offices, with a small piece
of very close shaven fresh scalp, which the visitor (who was a woman in
each case and so muffled up that her features couldn't be seen) claimed
she had cut off Billy's or Johnny's or Jimmy's head after putting them
under the influence of ether.

[Illustration: _Dillbery Ike as a Shipper._]

Each of the four doctors paid her $25 and hiked off to plaster the piece
of hide on Dillbery Ike's cranium. The scalped place had been carefully
laid off by a civil engineer, so each of the four doctors knew his
corner in the block, and without any courtesies to one another they each
trimmed down his $25 piece of hide to fit his corner and then fastened
it on. The grafting took at once and in a few days was healed over
nicely, despite the fact it turned out that the woman had taken a
different piece of scalp off from different pet animals which she kept.
One was a pet pig, another a pet goat, another a pet sheep and the
fourth a pet dog of the Newfoundland breed. When the hair, wool and
bristles all began to make a luxuriant growth on Dillbery's new scalp,
he seemed to be more or less affected by the dispositions of each animal
from which a part of the wonderful scalp was removed, and when the
different colored hair, wool and bristles had grown to a good length the
effect of this unique head covering was very striking to strangers.
However, Dillbery Ike was justly proud of it, as the doctors had charged
the Union Pacific $1,200 for this variegated scalp. Of course, no other
cowpuncher could boast of such a valuable head covering.

There was one little white bare spot in the center which was above
timber line, as it were, where the doctors, making these four corners,
had each been a little shy of material, and here was a little open, or
park, on the top of his head in which sheep ticks, hog lice, dog fleas
and goat vermin could have a common ground to assemble and sun
themselves in.



After learning the fate of the two sheepmen we prepared to leave
Cheyenne and catch up with our stock train, which we figured would take
us a day or so. We interviewed the dispatcher, superintendent and
station agent at Cheyenne, asking each one of them to wire down the road
and see if they could locate the special. Every one of them wired and
the next day about noon the agent got word the stock was at Egbert. That
evening the superintendent got a message that they was between Egbert
and Pine Bluffs. About midnight the dispatcher got a message that they
were hourly expected in Pine Bluffs, so we started on to overtake them.

We had noticed with a great deal of anxiety that the wrinkles had
commenced to accumulate on our cattle's horns, as a new wrinkle grows
each year after an animal is two years old, and we had been advised by
several cattlemen who had been in the habit of taking their cattle by
rail to market in place of driving them, to procure files and rasps and
remove these wrinkles before we got to Omaha. So we secured a lot of
rasps and files at Cheyenne and had Jackdo carry them for us, and when
we caught up with the train we went to work to take off the sign of old
age which had come on our stock since shipping them, as the Nebraska
corn-raisers only want young stock to feed. When we first loaded our
cattle we were informed that they were a little bit too fat for the
killers, but, of course, the next day, they was about four pounds too
thin for the killers, but too fat for the feeders. However, by this time
they were nothing but petrified skeletons, and Dillbery Ike wanted to
leave the wrinkles on their horns and sell the entire outfit for
antiques. But the more we discussed it, the more we made up our minds
that as this railroad done a large business hauling stock, the antique
cattle market must be overstocked. So we finally concluded to take off
the wrinkles that had grown since we started and sell the cattle on
their merits. We arranged to run two day shifts and one night shift of
six hours each and to commence up next the engine and work back. So
getting in the first car we climbed astride the critters' necks and
commenced to file. Day after day, night after night, we kept at this
wearisome task, and when our files and rasps became worn we sent Jackdo
(who wouldn't work, but who didn't mind tramping) to the nearest town to
get fresh files and rasps. Sometimes we became discouraged when we saw
the wrinkles starting again that we had removed to commence with, and
our eyes filled with bitter tears when we thought how much better it
would have been to have trailed our cattle through, or even sold them
to some Nebraska sucker and taken his draft on a commission house.
Dillbery Ike, who had some education, made up a song for us to sing
while we were at work, called "The Song of the File," and one of us
would sing a verse and then all join in the chorus, and this song helped
us a great deal. Here it is:

  Oh! we are a bunch of cattlemen.
  Going to market with our stock again,
  And, as we ship over a road that's bum,
  The days they go and the days they come.


  Cheer up, brave hearts, and list to the file
  As the wrinkles keep dropping below in a pile;
  Never fear, my boys, we have plenty of time
  To remove old age that's known by the wrinkle sign.

  And as time goes by the wrinkles grow
  On the horns of the cattle in a train that's slow;
  For every year after the second a cow that's born
  Another wrinkle grows upon each horn.

  While we have a job that isn't so soft,
  A-trying to rasp these wrinkles off,
  To make their horns look smooth and bright,
  We file all day and we file all night.

  And as we file, we whistle and sing,
  Trying to make it a jolly thing,
  To remove the wrinkles that are sure to grow
  On the horns of cattle with a road that's slow.

  Astride their necks, we sit and file,
  And through our tears, we try to smile.
  Cheer up, brave hearts, cheer up, we say again,
  As we camp along with the bum stock train.



The boys all got to talking about stampedes one night while we were
waiting on a sidetrack, and I related to them an experience of my own.

A number of years ago, I bought some 15,000 steers in southern Arizona,
and shipping them to Denver, Colorado, divided them up into herds of
about 3,500 head in each herd and started to trail these herds north to
Wyoming. About 4,000 head of these steers were from 1 to 10 years old
and were known as outlaws in the country where they were raised. These
steers were almost as wild as elk; very tall, thin, raw-boned,
high-headed, with enormous horns and long tails, and as there was great
danger of their stampeding at any time, I put all of them in a herd by
themselves and went with that herd myself. I worried about these steers
night and day, and talked to my men incessantly about how to handle them
and what to do if the cattle stampeded. There is only one thing to do in
case of a stampede of a herd of wild range steers, and that is for every
cowboy to get in the lead of them with a good horse and keep in the lead
without trying to stop them, but gradually turn them and get them to
running in a circle, or "milling," as it is commonly known among
cowboys. Cattle on the trail never stampede but one way, and that is
back the way they come from. If you can succeed in turning them in some
other direction, you can gradually bring them to a stop. These
long-legged range steers can run almost as fast as the swiftest horse.

So we kept our best and swiftest horses saddled all night, ready to
spring onto in case the herd ever got started. We were driving in a
northerly direction all the time, and every night took the herd fully a
mile north of the mess wagon camp before we bedded them down. I had
fourteen men in the outfit, half of them old-time cowboys and the other
half would-be cowboys; several of them what we used to call tenderfeet.

Amongst the green hands at trailing cattle was the nephew of my eastern
partner, a college-bred boy, with blonde, curly hair and a face as merry
as a girl's at a May day picnic. The boys all called him Curley. He was
as lovable a lad as I ever met, but positively refused to take this
enormous herd of old outlaw, long-horned steers as a serious

We had always four men on night herd at a time, each gang standing night
guard three hours, when they were relieved by another four men. The
first gang was 8 to 11 o'clock in the evening; the next 11 till 2 and
the last guard stood from 2 till daylight, and then started the herd
traveling north again. I kept two old cow hands and two green ones on
each guard, and had been nine days on the trail; had traveled about a
hundred miles without any mishap. We had bright moonlight nights. The
grass was fine, being about the first of June, and I was beginning to
feel a little easier, when one night we were camped on a high rolling
prairie near the Wyoming line.

Curley and three other men had just went on guard at 2 o'clock in the
morning. The moon was shining bright as day. Everything was as still as
could be, the old long-horned outlaws all lying down sleeping, probably
dreaming of the cactus-covered hillsides in their old home in Arizona.
Curley was on the north side of the herd and rolling a cigarette. He
forgot my oft-repeated injunction not to light a parlor match around the
herd in the night, but scratched one on his saddle horn. When that match
popped, there was a roar like an earthquake and the herd was gone in the
wink of an eyelid; just two minutes from the time Curley scratched his
match, that wild, crazy avalanche of cattle was running over that camp
outfit, two and three deep. But at that first roar, I was out of my
blankets, running for my hoss and hollering, "Come on, boys!" with a
rising inflection on "boys." The old hands knew what was coming and were
on their hosses soon as I was, but the tenderfeet stampeded their own
hosses trying to get onto them, and their hosses all got away except
two, and when their riders finally got on them, they took across the
hills as fast as they could go out the way of that horde of oncoming
wild-eyed demons. The men who lost their hosses crawled under the front
end of the big heavy roundup wagon, and for a wonder the herd didn't
overturn the wagon, although lots of them broke their horns on it and
some broke their legs. When I lit in the saddle, and looked around, five
of my cowboys was lined up side of me, their hosses jumping and
snorting, for them old cow hosses scented the danger and I only had time
to say, "Keep cool; hold your hosses' heads high, boys, and keep two
hundred yards ahead of the cattle for at least five miles. If your hoss
gives out try to get off to one side," and then that earthquake (as one
of the tenderfeet called it when he first woke up) was at our heels, and
we were riding for our own lives as well as to stop the cattle, because
if a hoss stumbled or stepped in a badger hole there wouldn't be even a
semblance of his rider left after those thousands of hoofs had got
through pounding him. I was riding a Blackhawk Morgan hoss with
wonderful speed and endurance and very sure footed, which was the main
thing, and I allowed the herd to get up in a hundred yards of me, and
seeing the country was comparatively smooth ahead of me, I turned in my
saddle and looked back at the cattle.

[Illustration: _The Stampede._]

I had been in stampedes before, but nothing like this. The cattle were
running their best, all the cripples and drags in the lead, their sore
feet forgotten. Every steer had his long tail in the air, and those
4,000 waving tails made me think of a sudden whirlwind in a forest of
young timber. Once in a while I could see a little ripple in the sea of
shining backs, and I knew a steer had stumbled and gone down and his
fellows had tramped him into mincemeat as they went over him. They were
constantly breaking one another's big horns as they clashed and crowded
together, and I could hear their horns striking and breaking above the
roar of the thousands of hoofs on the hard ground.

As my eyes moved over the herd and to one side, I caught sight of a
rider on a grey hoss, using whip and spur, trying to get ahead of the
cattle, and I knew at a glance it was Curley, as none of the other boys
had a grey hoss that night. I could see he was slowly forging ahead and
getting nearer the lead of the cattle all the time.

We had gone about ten or twelve miles and had left the smooth, rolling
prairie behind us and were thundering down the divide on to the broken
country along Crow Creek. Now, cattle on a stampede all follow the
leaders, and after I and my half dozen cowboys had ridden in the lead of
that herd for twelve or fifteen miles, gradually letting the cattle get
close to us, but none by us, why we were the leaders, and when we began
to strike that rough ground, my cowboys gradually veered to the left, so
as to lead the herd away from the creek and onto the divide again. But
Curley was on the left side of the herd. None of the other boys had
noticed him, and when the herd began to swerve to the left, it put him
on the inside of a quarter moon of rushing, roaring cattle. I hollered
and screamed to my men, but in that awful roar could hardly hear my own
voice, let alone make my men hear me, and just then we went down into a
steep gulch and up the other side. I saw the hind end of the herd sweep
across from their course of the quarter circle towards the leaders, saw
the grey hoss and Curley go over the bank of the gulch out of sight
amidst hordes of struggling animals. But as I looked back at the cattle
swarming up the other bank I looked in vain for that grey hoss and his
curly-haired rider. Sick at heart, I thought of what was lying in the
bottom of that gulch in place of the sunny-haired boy my partner had
sent out to me, and I wished that eighty thousand dollars worth of
hides, horns and hoofs that was still thundering on behind was back in
the cactus forests of Arizona.

As the herd swung out on the divide they split in two, part of them
turning to the left, making a circle of about two miles, myself and two
cowboys heading this part of the herd and keeping them running in a
smaller circle all the time till they stopped. The other part of the
herd kept on for about five miles further, then they split in two, and
the cowboys divided and finally got both bunches stopped; not, however,
till one bunch had gone about ten miles beyond where I had got the first
herd quieted.

It was now broad daylight, and I started back to the gulch where poor
Curley had disappeared. When I came in sight of the gulch, I saw his
dead hoss, trampled into an unrecognizable mass, lying in the bottom of
the gulch, but could see nothing of Curley. While gazing up and down
the gulch which was overhung with rocks in places, I heard someone
whistling a tune, and looking in that direction, saw Curley with his
back to me, perched on a rock whistling as merry as a bird.

He told me that as his hoss tumbled over the rocky bank, he fell off
into a crevice, and crawling back under the rocks, he watched the
procession go over him.

We were three days getting the cattle back to where they had started and
two hundred of them were dead or had to be shot, and hundreds had their
horns broken off and hanging by slivers. It had cost in dead cattle and
damage to the living at least $10,000. But I was so glad to get that
curly-headed scamp back alive and unhurt I never said a word to him.



One day while waiting for a gravel train going west, we all got to
talking about catching mavericks. Eatumup Jake said he'd always been too
honest to go out on the range and hunt mavericks; Dillbery Ike said he
was too, but he wasn't so durned honest as to let a maverick chase him
out of his own corral, and they asked me what I thought about branding
mavericks. I told them that I thought it was a bad practice to hunt
mavericks all the time, but whenever a maverick came around hunting me
up, I generally built a fire and put a branding iron in to heat. But I
told them I would always remember one maverick I had an adventure with,
and after they had all promised me not to ever tell the story to any
one, I told them the following:

One hot day in the spring of '84 I started across the hills from my
ranch to town, fifteen miles away. I generally had a good riata on my
saddle, but this day, for some reason, I didn't take anything but a
piece of rope fifteen feet long. I didn't expect to meet any mavericks,
as it was just after the spring roundup and there wasn't a chance in a
hundred of seeing one. My way was across a high, broken country, without
a house or a ranch the entire distance. There was bunches of cattle and
horses everywhere eating the luxuriant grass, drinking out of the clear
running streams of mountain water or lying down too full to eat or drink
any more. I was riding one of my best hosses, as everybody did when they
went to town; had my high-heeled boots blacked till you could see your
face in them; was wearing a brand-new $12 Stetson hat that was made to
order; had on a pair of new California pants--they were sort of a
lavender color with checks an inch square, and I was more than proud of
them. I had on a white silk shirt and a blue silk handkerchief round my
neck, a red silk vest with black polka dots on it, but didn't have any
coat to match this brilliant costume, so was in my shirt sleeves.

I rode along, setting kind of side ways, my hat cocked over my ear,
a-looking down at myself from time to time, and I was about the most
self-satisfied cowpuncher ever was, didn't envy a saloon-keeper in the
territory, and saloon-keepers had as much influence in Wyoming them days
as a sheepman does now, and that's saying all you can say, when it's
known that the sheepmen to-day in Wyoming fill almost every office,
elective and appointive.

Well I had got about half way to town and was a studying 'bout a girl I
bid good-bye to in the East fifteen years before, and sort a-wishing she
could see me now, when all of a sudden I looked up and right there, not
fifty feet away, was a big, fat, black bull maverick. He was about a
year and a half old and would weigh 800 pounds. He was wild as an elk
and had given a loud snuff on seeing me, which had called my attention
to him. I immediately commenced making that short piece of rope into a
lasso. There wasn't much more than enough for the loop. But I knew old
Bill, the hoss I was riding, could catch him on any kind of ground, so
throwed the spurs in and went sailing over the breaks and coolies after
that wild bull maverick. I soon caught up with him, but found it almost
impossible to throw the loop over his head with such a short rope, as he
dodged to one side or the other every time I got in reach. However, I
finally got it over his horns just as he went over a bank, but before I
could take any [2]dallys, he jerked the rope out of my hands and was gone
with it.

Now I had got to pick up the rope, and as it only dragged five or six
feet behind him, I would have to ride by him and grab the rope near his
head as I went by: but he was still on the dodge, and I made several
passes at it and missed. The bull was getting mad by this time, and
lowering his head and elevating his tail he soon had me on the dodge.
Whenever I wasn't chasing the bull, he was chasing me. Thus we had it up
one gulch and down another. Many times I grabbed the rope only to have
it jerked out of my fingers, but finally got a wrap around my saddle
horn and a knot tied. It never had occurred to me I couldn't throw him
with that short rope till I was tied hard and fast to him and riding
down the gulch at break-neck speed with that black bull a close second.

We had been chasing each other now for over an hour and my hoss was
getting tired, but Mr. Bull seemed to be fresher than ever. I had lost
my new Stetson hat early in the game, and, as we had soused through a
good many alkali mud-holes, I was spattered from head to foot with mud.
My white silk shirt and lavender-colored pants were a total wreck. But
something had got to be done, and watching the bull till he was veering
a little to the left of my hoss I made a quick turn to the right, and
stopping right quick, turned Mr. Bull over on his back. Before he could
get up I was off and on top of him, had his tail between his hind legs,
my knees in his flank, and, as every cowpuncher knows, I could hold him
down. My hoss was pulling on the rope same as any well-trained cow hoss
would, keeping the bull's head stretched out, and there wasn't the least
possible show of him getting up; but as I didn't have any short foot
ropes to tie his feet with, I just had to set in his flank and keep
tight hold of his tail. Billy, my hoss, had got hot and excited during
the race and kept surging on the rope more than was necessary. I kept
saying, "Whoa, Bill," but directly he give an extra hard pull, the rope
broke right at the bull's head, and despite my nice talk, Billy turned
his back to me and started across the hills for home. In vain I
hollered, "Whoa, Bill; come, Billy," he never looked around but once,
and that was just as he disappeared over the hill. He sort a-looked back
for a moment, as much as to say, "Well you wanted that darn little black
bull so bad, now you got him stay with him," and that's what I had to
do. He was twice as hard to hold now without any rope on his head, but I
knew if he ever got up, he would gore me to death, as there wasn't a
tree or rock to get behind.

It was about noon. The hot sun was pouring down on my bare head and I
was choking with thirst. No one ever traveled that way but me. Miles
away to any habitation, there I would have to stay in that stooping
position, holding on to that little black bull's tail. I was young and
strong, but my back began to ache, my hand would cramp clasping that
bull's tail so tightly, but still I held on somehow, for I knew certain
death awaited me if I let go. A bunch of cattle came along and circled
around me with wide-eyed astonishment, then trotted off; a couple of
antelope came running over the hill, and catching sight of me in that
ridiculous position, their curiosity overcame their timidity and they
kept getting nearer and nearer, till only a few rods away, the old buck
antelope stopped and snuffed very loudly and stamped with his fore feet,
but, not being able to get any response out of the black bull and me,
finally left. Then a silly jackrabbit came hopping up on three legs, and
after standing up several times on his hind legs as high as possible and
pulling his whiskers some, he shook his big ears as much as to say,
"It's beyond me," and he, too, left.

[Illustration: _Catching a Maverick._]

Just then the bull took a new fit of struggling and I heard the loud
buzz of a rattlesnake behind me. I almost dropped my holt on the bull's
tail then, but I had acquired the habit of holding on to it by this
time, so glanced over my shoulder to see how far the snake was from me.
I discovered he was only about ten feet behind me, coiled up and mad
about something. He was about four and a half feet long and big around
as my wrist, and didn't seem to have any notion of going around, but
just laid there coiled up, and every time the bull or me moved, would
begin to rattle and draw his head back and forth, run out his tongue and
act disagreeable. Several times he started to uncoil and crawl in my
direction, but I stirred up the bull to floundering around and bluffed
the snake out of coming any closer. Still he seemed to like our company,
and finally went to sleep; but every time I and the bull got to
threshing around, he would drowsily sound his rattle, as much as to say,
"I am still here; don't crowd me any." It was now about two o'clock in
the afternoon. I felt a kind of a goneness in my stomach, but my thirst
was something awful, and in my mind's eye I could see the boys in town
setting in the card-room of the saloon around the poker tables behind
stacks of red, white and blue chips, drinking Scotch highballs, while I
was out on that high mesa dying of thirst and holding down a little
black bull maverick with nothing for company but that old fat
rattlesnake who insisted on staying there to see how the bull and I come

I hoped against hope that when old Billy arrived at the ranch some one
would start back with him to hunt me up, but I remembered that most
everybody at the ranch had gone up in the mountains trout fishing and
wouldn't be back till night, and then I wondered which would live the
longest, me or the bull, and I thought about slipping away from him
while he was quiet; but the moment I would loosen up on his tail he
would commence threshing around trying to get up, still I kept fooling
with him. I'd loosen up on his tail, and then when he tried to get up,
throw him back; so pretty soon he didn't pay any attention when I
loosened up, and I thought I would try a sneak. However, in order to
make him think I still had hold of his tail, I tied the end of it into a
hard knot.

I looked around for his snakeship, as I had got to sneak back towards
him, but he was sound asleep, and as the bull was pretty quiet, I sized
up the country back of me and spied a gulch with steep broken banks
about one hundred and fifty yards away, and made up my mind that that
was the place to get to. So slipping by the snake I made the star run
of my life for that gulch.

I had run about fifty feet when that bull first realized some of his
company was missing, and jumping to his feet looked around and caught
sight of me, and giving a snuff that I can hear in my dreams to this
day, he was after me. Talk about running. I remember a jackrabbit jumped
up in front of me, but I hollered to him to get out of the way. The bull
caught up before I quite got to the gulch, but hesitated for a moment
where to put his horns, and sort a-throwed his head up and down for a
time or two, like he was practicing--kind a-getting a swing like
throwing a hammer. When he got his neck to working good, biff! he took
me and I went sailing through the air, but when I come down it was on
the bank of the gulch, and before he could pick me up again I was over
and under that bank. It was about fifteen feet to the bottom and
straight up and down, but there was a little shelf of hard dirt on the
side, and I caught on there and was safe. He had gone clear over me into
the gulch, but was up and bawling and jawing around in a minute.
However, he couldn't get up to me, so looked around, found a trail
leading out of the gulch, and went up on top, then come around and
looked down at me. He was mad clear through; went and hunted up the old
rattlesnake, and after pawing and bellowing around him, charged him and
got bit on the nose. Then he saw my Stetson hat, and giving a roar, went
after it, and putting his horn through it, went off across the hills mad
clear through, full of snake poison, with my Stetson hat on one horn,
and that was the last I saw of the little black bull.


[2] Wrapping rope around the saddle horn.



We all got to talking about looking over your shoulder, and the boys
asked me if I had ever had to look over my shoulder, and I related to
them the following incident in my career on the plains:

In the year 1880-81 the first cattle herds were driven to northern
Wyoming and turned loose along Tongue River, Powder River and the Little
Horn, and while the Injuns in southern Montana at that time were not
very hostile, yet they kept stealing our hosses and butchering the
cattlemen's cattle and committing all kinds of petty crimes, and once in
a while when they found a white man riding alone in the hills didn't
scruple to murder him. But stealing hosses was their long suit. Now, I
only had four hosses at that time, and was working out by the month for
a cow outfit at $50 a month and board. I thought everything of these
four hosses, as they was the sum total of my possessions except about
$500 I had due me in wages. And when these hosses was missing one day
and a hunter reported seeing a band of Injuns prowling around, I was
pretty well worked up. A good many of the settlers in northern Wyoming
at that time had had their hosses stolen by the Injuns, but when they
found them in the Injuns' possession were unable to get them, as the
Injuns refused to give them up and would drive the white men out of
their camp. I had always made a loud talk when these men related their
experiences, that if ever any Injuns stole my hosses and I found them
in their possession I'd take them hosses and no Injun would drive me a
step in any direction. So when a freighter reported seeing some Injuns
on the Little Horn River, going north with my hosses, the cowboys all
said now was the time for me to make good all my loud talk about taking
my hosses away from the Injuns if they stole them.

I had considerable trouble to get anyone to go with me, but finally
persuaded a boy by the name of King, who was about 17 years old at the
time, and getting three hosses from the outfit I worked for, which was
the PK cattle outfit, we packed one of the hosses with bed and grub, and
riding the other two we struck out north down the Little Horn River.
After traveling along the river for several days we crossed and went
over on the Big Horn River, and keeping up this river to the Big Horn
Mountains, came across about two hundred Injuns camped at the base of
the mountains. As soon as we got in sight of their cayuses we saw two of
my hosses running with theirs. When we rode into their camp they
appeared friendly enough till they found out we wanted these two hosses.
I could talk the Injun language, and after making one of the petty
chiefs of their band a few little presents, King and I went out to catch
our two hosses, but they had been running with the Injuns' cayuses so
long we couldn't get near them. Finally we tried to drive them away from
the Injuns' cayuses, but about twenty Injuns had come up to us and told
us to let the hosses alone and go away. They had their guns, and while
they didn't point their guns at me, they kept sticking them against
King's breast and threatening to shoot if he didn't go at once. I now
offered to pay them if they would catch the two hosses. Every Injun
wanted from four to twenty dollars apiece. As there were about twenty
Injuns it amounted to about $300. The Injuns rounded up all their
cayuses, and getting them in a safe corral, caught my two hosses.

I now instructed King to take the saddle off the hoss he was riding and
tie the hoss to the pack-hoss, and I also done this with the one I was
riding. We then turned them loose and the three animals immediately
started south towards Wyoming. I then told King to saddle one of the
hosses that the Injuns had caught for us, but pay no attention to the
Injun who was holding it. I saddled the other animal; two Injuns each
had a rope on the hoss's neck. When we got them saddled and bridled, I
told King to get on his, and I got on mine. The Injuns were standing all
around us as well as the squaws and papooses, but they had all laid down
their guns. I pulled my Winchester out of the saddle scabbard and
throwing a shell in the barrel, I told King to pull his six-shooter and
cut the Injun's rope that was on his hoss's neck. He said: "The Injuns
will shoot me if I do." I said: "I will shoot you right now if you
don't." Although he was very much excited, he managed to pull his knife
out of his belt and cut the Injun's rope, and immediately started off
after the pack-hoss and saddle hosses on a dead run. The Injuns all set
up a howl, and the squaws began bringing the guns out of the teepees.
But I kept throwing my Winchester down on first one and then another.
The Injuns kept up an awful din hollering to one another, all the squaws
yelling to kill the masacheta (white man). But I could hear the chief's
voice above them all, telling them not to shoot me. The two Injuns
holding the hoss having dropped their ropes, I suddenly threw the ropes
off my hoss's neck and reaching down grabbed a papoose, five or six
years old, and throwing it up in the saddle with me, galloped away. I
knew they wouldn't shoot at me as long as I held to that papoose. But
it was like holding on to a full-grown wildcat. I was carrying my
Winchester in one hand, guiding my hoss with the same hand and trying to
hold on to that little biting, scratching, hair-pulling, shrieking
papoose with the other. My hoss was bounding over rocks and sage brush.
But he was a magnificent animal and in less time than it takes to tell I
was out of gunshot, and then I dropped that shrieking little Injun devil
on a sage bush and galloped off in the gathering darkness.

I soon caught up with King. We traveled all night and the next day.
Putting him on the trail to Wyoming with all the hosses but the one I
was riding, I turned north again to find the other two hosses. That day
I met a Piegan Injun that I was acquainted with, and he told me old
Crazy Head's band was camped on the Yellowstone River, and that they had
my other two hosses and tried to sell them to him.

I rode into Fort Custer and told my story to Jim Dunleavy, the post
scout and interpreter, and wanted him to introduce me to the post
commander and get me a permit to be on the reservation. But the post
commander refused to see me and sent word for me to get off the
reservation, or he would put me in the guard house. But I struck out
through the hills north, and that afternoon came in sight of Crazy
Head's camp. I found an Injun boy herding a large bunch of cayuses about
a mile from camp, with my two hosses in the bunch. I rode into the herd
and had my hosses roped and tied together before the Injun had recovered
from his surprise, and started back south.

But now a new idea took possession of me. Why not steal some Indian
cayuses and get even? There was a stage line running through the
reservation them days, and I knew the stock tender at the stage ranch,
fifteen miles from Fort Custer, at the Fort Custer battle-ground. So
waiting till dark I went there, and getting something to eat and leaving
the two hosses, I started back to Crazy Head's camp. It was a bright,
moonlight night and I found the Injuns' cayuses grazing in the same
place. Looking around cautiously I discovered two fine-looking, coal
black cayuses grazing by themselves about two hundred yards from the
main bunch. Slipping up close to them I threw my rawhide rope over one
of them, and, as he was perfectly gentle, started to lead him to a
little patch of timber, intending to hobble him and come back and get
his mate. But as soon as I started to lead him off, his mate followed
him, so I just kept going till I got to the stage station, twenty miles
from there, about 3 o'clock in the morning. Getting a bite to eat from
the old stock tender and showing him the two cayuses I had stole, he
told me he knew the cayuses and that they were old Crazy Head's war

I had been in the saddle now for twenty-four hours without any rest, but
dare not stop a moment, for I knew the Injuns and troops both would be
after me as soon as Crazy Head missed his ponies. So necking the two to
my other two hosses I started for Wyoming, ninety miles away. The Little
Horn River was very high, swimming a hoss from bank to bank, and the
stage hadn't been able to get through for some time. The recent rains
made the ground soft, and I knew the Injuns would have no trouble
tracking me. But they wouldn't miss the ponies till 6 o'clock in the
morning, so I would have twenty miles the start and certainly three
hours of time. But there was the danger of meeting other Injuns who
would know Crazy Head's ponies, and I might meet some scouting soldiers
and have to give an account of myself, not having any permit. I didn't
mind swimming the Little Horn River, if I hadn't the hosses to drive,
but it's hard work for a hoss to swim in a swift current where the waves
out about the middle are running big and high, as they do in mountain
streams, and drive some loose hosses. But I made the hosses all plunge
in and started for the other shore, two hundred yards away. They all
swam like ducks at first crossing, but I would have to swim the river
seven times if I kept the valley, and knew I would lose time if I went
through the hills. So I kept on in a tireless lope, mile after mile, and
all the time looking back over my shoulder.

[Illustration: "_Looking Over My Shoulder._"]

Now I knew the Injuns couldn't be in twenty miles of me, but
nevertheless I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure, and I looked
ahead, and every moving bush along the stream looked like a soldier or
an Injun, and every jackrabbit that jumped up side the road, every sage
hen that flew out the grass and startled my hosses nearly made me jump
out of my skin. Everything that moved in the distance looked like old
Crazy Head to me. Talk about looking over your shoulder, boys; why, my
neck got in the shape of a corkscrew. Then I came to another crossing of
the river. I never stopped to look at the high rolling black waters, but
plunged my hosses in and struck out for the other side. I again made it
in safety, and stopping just long enough to tighten my saddle cinches,
took another look over my shoulder and hit that lope again and made up
my mind I wouldn't be caught. But supposing I was caught, what kind of a
story could I tell? And so I tried to figure out a defense for being
found with them two black hosses. I couldn't think of anything or any
story but what looked fishy and showed I was a thief, and it seemed as
if every one else would know it. I remember after I became an officer of
the law, several years after this event happened, I caught a poor devil
skinning a beef one day that didn't belong to him, and as I rode up on
him and told him to turn the beef over so I could see the brand, he
dropped his skinning knife and looking up at me with guilt and terror in
his face, he says, "You know how it is yourself." And I said, "Yes,
Bill, I know how it is. I was a thief once, but the people are paying me
now to uphold the law. Besides I stole Injun hosses and you are stealing
white men's beef." And then at the memory of my ride on the Little Horn
that day I looked over my shoulder again, and when I looked back for
Bill he was gone, and somehow I was kind of glad, for I had a fellow
feeling for him.

But to return to my story. When I had swum the Little Horn the fourth
time I was forty miles on my journey, and while the iron grey Oregon
hoss I was riding seemed as fresh as ever, the black Indian ponies
seemed to be getting tired. When I struck the next ford on the river I
was fifty miles on the way and it was only 9 o'clock. I was feeling
pretty good. But this time when we got out about the middle of the river
where the waves were high and rolling, one of the Injun ponies stopped
swimming and commenced to float down stream with his nose in the water
and dragging the one he was necked to with him. I started after them and
by a good deal of urging got my hoss alongside, and throwing my rope on
them finally towed them ashore. The pony laid in the shallow water at
the shore for a long time, and I thought he was dead, but he finally
came to and got up. But he was full of water and pretty groggy.

I found the other two, and getting them together again started on, but
knew I would have to take to the hills now when I came to the river
again, which I did, and hadn't rode over five miles in the hills
skirting the river till, coming up on a high divide and looking down in
the valley of the river, I saw a camp of five or six hundred Injuns; but
they didn't see me, and I kept on till I came to Owl Creek, which
empties into the Little Horn, and it was bank full of cream-colored,
muddy water. The banks were steep and I couldn't guess at the depth of
the water, which was of the consistency of gumbo soup. However, I drove
the hosses into it, first having untied them from one another, as the
buffalo trail going down into it was very narrow. As each hoss plunged
in he went completely out of sight, and I couldn't guess how far he went
under water. But they all clambered up on the other bank, and I see I
had got to follow them, so plunged in. As my hoss jumped off that high
bank, I grabbed my nose and under that yellow water we went. It seemed
like we never would find the bottom, but finally did, and came back to
the surface and scrambled up the bank. My fine buckskin shirt and
leggings made but a sorry appearance. My six-shooter and holster were
full of yellow mud the same as my Winchester, and it took me an hour to
clean my guns and get that yellow mud off my hat and clothes. But I had
no more streams to cross, except Tongue River, which is in Wyoming, and
I crossed it a little after dark and got to my own ranch at 9 o'clock
that evening, having ridden the same hoss one hundred and six miles
since 3 o'clock that morning.

That grey hoss is still living and is 30 years old now, and is well
known by all the old-timers in northern Wyoming. I laid down and slept
for twenty hours, and when I reported at the roundup with my four hosses
and the two Injun ponies besides, I got a hearty handshake all around.
The boys made up a pot of a hundred dollars and gave it to me for the
Injun ponies, and then played a game of freeze-out to see who should
have them.

I've never had the least inclination to look over my shoulder since.



  When darkness overshadows a lone cow ranch, wild and drear,
  One's nerves they get a-trembling in a way that seems so queer;
  When you _feel_ the spirits round you, 'tis idle then to boast
  You don't believe those stories you've heard about the ghosts.

One dark, rainy evening while we were waiting on a sidetrack the boys
insisted I should tell them some adventure of mine. So after
considerable urging I told them an actual experience I had, that has
always convinced me that murdered people's ghosts come back and haunt
the place they were murdered in.

Twenty years ago Jerry Wilson was known as the cattle king of the Platte
River. His cattle roamed for hundreds of miles up and down the main
river and all its tributaries, and, as the cowboys used to say, no one
man could count them even if they was strung out, cause he couldn't
count high enough.

Jerry had a beautiful wife and two lovely children, a boy and a girl,
and for years he and his family had no settled place to live, but went
around amongst his different ranches, staying awhile at each one, the
children being kept in school in Chicago, except in the summer time when
they came West to stay on some cattle ranch with their parents. Finally
Jerry Wilson bought a new ranch up in the south part of South Dakota, on
Battle Creek, and stocking it up with registered cattle and fine horses,
built a fine house, furnished it very expensively and settled on this
ranch for their home. He built magnificent barns that were the talk of
the whole country, and spent a small fortune in building up and
beautifying this ranch. But one day Jerry was riding his horse after a
cow on a hard run. The horse stepped in a badger hole and fell on top of
him, crushing in his ribs and otherwise injuring him so he only lived
long enough to be carried to the house and bid his wife and children
good-bye before he died.

Mrs. Wilson mourned for Jerry a long time, but the care of her two
children and the increasing cattle herds occupied her mind and time to
such an extent that her grief had settled into a quiet sadness, when a
young man from New York City, who had been discarded from home by his
family for his profligate excesses, came to Battle Creek, and stopping
at Mrs. Wilson's ranch was (as is the custom at all cattle ranches in
the West) made welcome to stay as long as he wanted to. At this time
Jerry Wilson had been dead seven years. His daughter, who was the oldest
of the two children, had married a prominent lawyer of Chicago. The son
was in school in the same city, and Mrs. Wilson made her home at the
Battle Creek ranch. She had successfully carried on all her cattle
enterprises and was known all over the West as the Cattle Queen. She was
about 40 years old at this time, still a beautiful woman and had
received many offers of marriage, but had rejected them all till this
graceless and unprincipled scoundrel from New York, whose name was
Clayton Allen, came to the ranch. Mrs. Wilson had arrived at the age
where a great many women begin to hanker for a young man's society and
attention, and was soon violently in love with Clayton Allen; and he,
seeing a chance to get hold of large sums of money to gamble and go on
sprees with, and knowing he could never hope to get any more from his
family, laid siege to the Cattle Queen's heart and herds with all the
wiles he was capable of.

To make the story short, Mrs. Wilson married this worse than scamp and
learned too late to regret her mistake. He persuaded her first to sell
all her great cattle herds and ranches and invest all the money in
bonds, which she did, keeping only the ranch and blooded cattle on
Battle Creek. He now persuaded her to go to New York City with him, and
soon as they arrived he joined his old gang of profligates and spent his
nights with gay men and women, only coming to see her when his money was
exhausted, and then only long enough to get more money. In vain she
plead with him. Finally, in sorrow and grief, not having seen him for
several days, she took the train for the West and returned alone to her
old Battle Creek home.

She had been home about a month, staying in her room alone most of the
time, weeping and crying, when one stormy, black night Clayton Allen
returned about 10 o'clock. He immediately went to his wife's rooms. The
servants heard loud talking and angry words between them for some time,
and apparently he was demanding money and she was refusing to give him
any. There was a large hall that ran through the center of the house,
dividing the building its entire length. The servants had their rooms
and the dining-room was on the west side of this hall, and the Cattle
Queen had her parlors and sleeping apartments on the other side. About
11 o'clock the servants heard their mistress walking up and down this
hall, crying and moaning, but on opening their door that led into the
hall found she had gone back into her rooms, but Clayton Allen came in
the hall just then and asked the housekeeper to bring a bottle of wine,
as her mistress was ill and wanted some. The wine was brought, and
Clayton Allen taking it out of her hand at the door closed the door in
her face, telling her if she was wanted he would call her. Thirty
minutes later the housekeeper heard her mistress scream for help in the
hall, and rushing in found her lying on the floor in violent spasms, and
picking her up carried her to the bed, only to see her die the next
moment. The death-stricken woman only spoke once as she was being
carried to the bed. She whispered in the housekeeper's ear, "Mr. Allen
has poisoned me."

All of the Cattle Queen's money and bonds were kept in a portable safe
and where she kept the keys hidden no one knew. But at the funeral the
lawyer from Chicago, who, it will be remembered, married Jerry Wilson's
daughter, appeared on the scene, and after a consultation with the
housekeeper and cowboys at the ranch, Clayton Allen disappeared, in fact
the cowboys kidnapped him and kept him guarded in an old dugout for
several days, and when they let him go the lawyer had returned to
Chicago. The safe disappeared at the same time the lawyer left. So
Clayton Allen never got the enormous fortune that was in the safe, but
he got an administrator appointed, and the administrator sold the herd
of fine cattle at the Battle Creek ranch to me, as also the use of the
ranch for one year, and the hay.

I tried to get some cowboys living in that part of the country to take
care of the ranch and cattle, but all of them promptly refused, saying
they wouldn't stay there for any amount of money. Then I sent some of my
men from my Wyoming ranch, where I was living at the time, but in a week
they came back, looking shamefaced and sulky, but refusing to stay at
the Battle Creek ranch. After I questioned them pretty sharply, they
said they didn't believe much in ghosts, but the Cattle Queen's ghost
was too much for them. They said from 10:30 o'clock in the evening till
after midnight she tramped up and down the hall in the house, crying,
screaming and groaning. They said the doors leading from the hall to the
Cattle Queen's rooms kept opening and shutting, and they could hear her
talking and expostulating with someone and walking back and forth from
the hall to her rooms. I had an old man working for me at the time who
was almost totally deaf, so I sent him and my own son, Georgie, who was
a manly, brave little fellow of 12 years, to the ranch. I had a talk
with George before they started and told him all about it. I said some
one was trying to buy the ranch cheap and was making these disturbances
in order to give the ranch the name of being haunted. But in a week I
got a letter from my boy, saying there might not be any such things as
ghosts, but there was certainly some kind of carrying on in the hall of
that old house every night, and wanting me to come up. So taking my gun
and dog, I went up there to lay the ghost. My dog was one of the largest
specimens of the big blue Dane breed and wasn't afraid of anything. And
I said to myself, "Now I will nail these parties and convince my son
while he is young that there isn't any such things as ghosts."

When I arrived at the ranch I found Deaf Bill, as we called him, and my
little boy had taken up their quarters in the housekeeper's room, which
was in the extreme western portion of the house, which was built without
any upstairs, all the rooms being on the ground floor. I went into the
hall of the house and found that the doors at each end of the hall were
locked from the inside, the keys being in the locks. I next went into
the parlors and sleeping apartment used by the Cattle Queen in her
lifetime and where she met her tragic death, and found the curtains all
down and the windows closed with catch locks and screens outside of the
windows. Everything was apparently in the same condition as when the
rooms were fastened up after her death. Her books, and pictures, and
paintings, and wardrobe, and easy chairs were all there, just as if she
might have stepped out expecting to be back at any moment.

I raised a window in her bedroom with some difficulty, as I wanted to
air the room a little, for I had made up my mind to sleep in that bed
that night in those haunted rooms and convince superstitious people that
I at least wasn't afraid of ghosts. I tried to get my little boy to
sleep in there with me, but with pale cheeks and staring eyes and
chattering teeth he begged so hard that I didn't insist on it. I have
always been thankful that I didn't oblige him to stay with me that
dreadful night.

When I retired, about 8:30 that evening, with my dog and gun into the
haunted rooms I was very tired from my long drive from the railroad, and
setting the lamp on a stand at the head of the bed and putting my
six-shooter under my pillow I called my dog to the side of the bed and
laying down with my clothes on, pulled some blankets over me, blew out
the light and immediately went to sleep.

How long I slept I know not, but was awakened by my dog who was whining
and licking my face. When I first woke up I didn't remember for a moment
where I was, but the next moment heard a long-drawn sigh across the room
from me and could hear somebody walking on the carpet. I bounded up and
had just lit the lamp when I heard someone open the door from the parlor
into the hall, and the next moment heard an agonizing cry for help in
the hall. I now grabbed the lamp and my six-shooter and running through
the two parlors opened the hall door suddenly, just after hearing the
second cry for help, and found that the hall was absolutely empty, the
doors at each end still being locked, and the door that led into the
servants' part of the house was also locked from my side of the hall, as
I had locked it when I went through to go to bed.

I went back into the two parlors and sleeping apartments and searched
them thoroughly, even the wardrobes and clothes closets; tried all the
windows, but there was no trace of any living person's presence. I then
noticed my dog. He had crawled under the bed and was lying there whining
in the most abject terror. I dragged him out and kicked him a couple
of times and told him to "watch them." But apparently he'd had all the
ghost business he cared about, for he lay at my feet trembling and
whining. Disgusted with him, I laid down again, thinking I would blow
out the light, but be ready with my six-shooter and some matches and
catch whoever it was prowling around that house, trying to hoodoo the

[Illustration: _The Cattle Queen's Ghost._]

I hadn't any more than laid down and blown out the light before my dog
was trying to get out of the window back of my bed and whining
piteously, and then I heard a woman crying in the same room with me and
coming slowly towards my bed. I began to get nervous, but scratched a
match and in the flickering light saw that the room was absolutely
empty. But as the match went out I heard someone run through the parlor,
open and shut the door into the hall, and then heard a long despairing
cry for help in a woman's voice. I plucked up the little courage I had
left, ran to the hall door, opened it, and, lighting a match, gazed up
and down that empty hall, seeing nothing or nobody. But as the match
flickered and went out there came a breath of cold air right in my face,
and then out of that black darkness, seemingly right at my shoulder,
arose that awful blood-curdling cry for help again, and as my blood
froze in my veins my dog answered the cry with one of those long,
despairing, drawn-out, mournful howls that dogs always give as a
premonition of death in the family. I tottered back to the bed and
vainly tried to light a match, but was too nervous; then hearing that
light footstep and that rustling presence coming from the hall through
the parlors again towards the bed, I dropped the match and pulling a lot
of blankets and bed covers over my head, I huddled down in a heap and
lay there trembling with fright and horror till the next morning, when I
heard my boy pounding on the outside of the window and calling me to

No money would have induced me to have stayed another night on that
ranch, and getting an offer next day for the cattle, I sold them. Five
years afterwards I saw a man who had come by The Cattle Queen's ranch
and he said nobody lived there. The house and barns were all out of
repair; the fields overgrown with weeds and an air of desolation to the
whole premises. The administrator had finally sold the property for a
song to an easterner and he moved his family up there in the day time.
He had to go back to town that night for another load of his goods, and
when he returned to the ranch the next day, he found his wife roaming
around the fields a raving maniac, and she is still in the asylum in
South Dakota. They say the Cattle Queen's ghost still keeps entire
possession, and will till her murderer is punished for his crimes.



Packsaddle Jack had got tired of filing off wrinkles one night, and, not
being sleepy, walked on ahead of the special till he came to a
sidetrack. Lying down there on the embankment he went to sleep and
caught a violent cold, from which he never recovered. It settled into a
bad cough, and the wrinkle dust seemed to aggravate it. Still he
insisted on taking his regular shift in spite of our remonstrances, and
the harder he coughed the harder he'd file. As the motion of filing and
coughing is almost the same, he seemed to make better time coughing when
he was filing, and vice versa, but finally he became so weak that he
couldn't leave the way-car any more, and we knew it would be a question
of a very few days till old Packsaddle would be swimming his bronk
across the River Styx. He became very quiet and thoughtful those
days--seemed to do a heap of studying--and one bright, sunny afternoon
he called me over to his corner of the way-car and told me he had a
dream the night before and it made such an impression on him he wanted
to tell it to me.

He said in the start of his dream he seemed to be there on the way-car
planning how much he could possibly get out of what cattle was left when
he got to Omaha, when it seemed all of a sudden there was a mighty
well-dressed cowpuncher riding a big paint hoss and leading another all
saddled and bridled came right up to him and says: "Packsaddle, come
with me." He said the stranger had on a big Stetson hat, a mighty nice
embroidered blue shirt, with red silk necktie and white fur snaps,
high-heeled boots, and a pearl-handled .45 six-shooter. He was riding
Frazier's famous Pueblo saddle, had a split-eared bridle and was rigged
out every way that was proper. Said he asked the stranger where he
wanted him to go, and the stranger told him they was going to a country
where there was no sheep or sheepmen; where the grass grew every year;
where the cattle was always fat; where they drove their cattle to market
place of shipping them; where hard winters, horn flies, heel flies and
mange was unknown. He said the stranger made such a square talk he
finally made up his mind to go with him, although he had some doubts,
not knowing the fellar. So getting on the led hoss, he was kind of
surprised to find the stirrups just his length and the saddle just
fitted him.

He said they started off kind a slow at first, in a little jog trot, but
directly got to loping, and finally, after crossing a lot of
mean-looking country, they came to a big river and his guide told him
they had got to swim their horses across it as there was no bridge. The
stranger said lots of smart men had tried to build a bridge across this
river, and some people had deluded themselves into thinking they knew of
a bridge that they could get across on, but always when it came to
crossing they couldn't exactly locate their bridge and had to plunge in
with the crowd. Packsaddle said it was a mighty ugly-looking stream. It
was wide and deep and looked like it was rising. The water was black as
ink and the waves out toward the middle was rolling mountain high. Still
there appeared to be people all along the shore, a-plunging in and
starting for the other side. There was a large crowd scattered along and
most of them didn't seem to see the river till they fell off backwards
into it. They would be laughing and cutting up, with their backs to the
river and all of a sudden get too close; a little piece of bank would
crumble off, and with a despairing cry they disappeared beneath the
black waters and was seen no more. Some apparently mighty rich people
dashed up with carriages and servants, and taking a sack of gold in each
hand would offer that to the river, thinking probably they wouldn't have
to cross if they offered it some gold. But of all the people who came to
the river, only a very few ever turned back, although most of them
seemed to want to. He noticed a few that looked like farmers' wives who
came up, and soon as they saw the river a smile of content came on their
faces and they slid into the boiling water as naturally as though it was
wash-day. There was a class of men, too, who came up with a determined
look on their countenances, and without the slightest hesitation plunged
into the awful stream and struck out for the other side. These men all
had cowboy hats on, and when Packsaddle asked his guide who they were,
he said they were cowmen who had been shipping their cattle to the Omaha
market, and their cattle had starved to death on the stock-yard transfer
waiting to be unloaded.

Some there was that looked like pettifogging lawyers and cheap
politicians, who, when they arrived at the river, flourished a handful
of annual passes over different lines, looking for a pass over the
river, but not getting it, turned back and wouldn't cross, and the guide
told Packsaddle that he guessed this class of people never did cross, as
they seemed to get thicker every year.

Packsaddle said at first he kind of hated to cross the river, as his
guide said none ever returned, and he couldn't see the other bank very
plainly, and was in some doubt as to what kind of a country was on the
other side, although there was hundreds of big, fat, red-faced looking
men, dressed in black, standing along the shore where he was, telling
everybody what kind of a country was on the other side. They differed a
great deal in their description of it, but that was probably on account
of what different people wanted. All these black-robed, fat-looking
rascals got money out of the crowds and seemed to be doing a thriving
business by fixing up people to cross and giving them encouragement.
Most all of them was selling some kind of a patented life-preserver to
wear across the river, and each one shouted out the merits of his
life-preserver till their noise drowned the roar of the river, and they
tried to get lots of people to cross the river that hadn't got anywhere
near the bank, just to sell them a life-preserver.

Packsaddle had noticed all these things as they waited on the bank a
moment, and then, he said, they plunged their hosses in and started
swimming for the other side. The other bank, he said, was sorter
obscured by a mist or fog, and he didn't see it till most there, but saw
worlds of all kinds of people struggling in the black water of the
river. Packsaddle said his hoss swam high in the water, never wetting
the seat of his saddle, and he felt just like he was getting home from
the general roundup. When they struck the bank there was a bunch of
cowboys helped his hoss up the bank, gave him a hearty handshake all
around and made him welcome every way. When he turned around to thank
his guide that gentleman had vanished, and the cowboys told him his
guide was a regular escort across the river for cowmen and cowboys; that
most everybody had to get across the best way they could, but cowmen and
cowboys always had a good hoss to ride and a guide; that one reason for
this was that they was most always mighty good to a hoss and thought a
heap of them. They said, though, that there was a lot of boats with
cushioned seats, and mighty comfortable, that brought over the poor old
widder women and farmers' wives and orphan children that had been abused
and starved till they just had to cross the river to get away.

Packsaddle said it looked like a mighty good country, lots of fat
cattle, the finest hosses he ever see, lots of cowboys laying under the
mess-wagon bucking monte and everybody winning, while the roundup cooks
had pots and bakeovens steaming with roast veal, baking powder biscuits
and cherry roll. He said the boss of one of these outfits hired him on
the spot, and giving him a string of fat hosses to ride, he picked out a
black pinto with watch eyes and saddled him. Soon as he got on this hoss
it started to buck and he said he dreamed that hoss throwed him so high
that he saw he was coming down on the other side of the river and it
disgusted him so he woke up.

[Illustration: _Packsaddle Jack._]

Packsaddle was very weak when he got through telling his dream, and
after taking a drink of water he told me he thought we was all making a
mistake trying to make money raising cattle. He'd heard about some place
in the East where they just issued stock, place of raising it, and that
certainly must be the place to go. He'd heard of two or three men,
probably stockmen, who get together in New York City, issued just
millions of stock in one day, and he was satisfied that was one thing
made our stock so cheap. For himself, he said, he liked that country he
saw in his dream and thought he'd go there pretty soon.

While we were talking the head brakeman came in and said there was a cow
dead in the car next the engine. Packsaddle gave a gasp or two, and
when I bent down over him he whispered he would go and round her up; and
when I looked at him again he was dead.

Poor old Packsaddle! His early life had been embittered by the discovery
that a married woman (whom he was in the habit of visiting in the
absence of her husband down in Texas where he was raised) was untrue to
him, and on meeting his rival at the lady's house when her husband had
gone to mill with a grist of corn, he promptly filled his rival's
anatomy full of lead and came away in such a hurry that he had to borrow
a jack-mule and packsaddle from a man that was prospecting, and rode
this packsaddle to Wyoming, and thus acquired the euphonious name of
Packsaddle Jack. Although he was cheerful at times, yet the memory of
this woman's perfidy to him cast a gloom of melancholy over his after
life which was never entirely dispelled. He never whined when he lost
his money bucking monte, always had a good supply of tobacco and
cigarette papers of his own and never failed to pass them around. While
he didn't have much love for women or Injuns, he loved a good hoss and
twice owed his life to his hoss when he had a brush with Cheyenne Injuns
in early days in northern Wyoming.

In a burst of confidence a few days before his death he told me he had
endured the worst kind of hardships all his life. Winter and summer he
had lived on the plains and in the mountains without shelter, by open
campfires, lots of times without much to eat; had been hunted and shot
at for days and nights by Cheyenne Injuns and never met with the
privations and discomforts he had on this trip. And as for slowness, he
said he hired out one time in Texas when he was a boy, to help drive 900
tame ducks across the swamps of Louisiana to New Orleans to market; said
the trail was so narrow that only one duck at a time could walk in it
and sometimes no trail at all, just high grass and swamp brush, and yet
they beat the time of a cattle special away yonder.


  A stock train was waiting on a sidetrack one day
  For gravel trains going some other way;
  And as they waited the cattle grew old,
  The stockmen grew haggard, the weather turned cold.

  Their stomachs were empty, they were starving in fact,
  While the stock train was waiting on its lonely sidetrack.
  The reports said the markets were lower each day,
  While the cattle grew thinner, the stockmen grew grey.

  An old, grizzled cattleman spoke up at last,
  Said he to the cowboys, "The time it is past,
  To make mon out of cattle or get any dough,
  This going to market by rail is a little too slow.

  "The railroad companies' tariffs get higher each year,
  Their passes get fewer, till I very much fear
  That ahead of our stock train we will have to walk
  And wait for the cattle train to get up our stock.

  "Let us up and be doing and build a big merger trust,
  And sell stock to suckers and let them go bust,
  And for every steer issue millions of shares,
  Let other people worry how to get railroad fares.

  "We will issue bonds and certificates and thus raise our stock;
  In place of breeding Shorthorns we will make a swift talk;
  Have our shares all printed in red, green and gold,
  Sell them in the stock market to the young and the old.

  "And thus live by our cuteness and work of our brains
  In place of starving on special stock trains.
  We will have servants and waiters, the best in the land;
  Governors and princes will give us the glad hand."

  Just then the front brakeman stuck in his head,
  Saying in the car next the engine an old cow was dead.
  The old cowman gave a gasp and his spirit started to ride
  To round up that old cow that in the front car had just died.



Just after leaving North Platte, a train of immigrants on their way from
Oregon to Arkansas with mule teams went by us, and we found they had a
letter for us from Eatumup Jake, who had returned to Utah long ere this
to look after his domestic matters. One of the reasons why he abandoned
us was to return and look after the education of the twin boys. However,
the main reason was that so many reports had come to us from travelers
in wagons and sheepherders trailing sheep east, who had come through our
neighborhood in Utah, who said that all our friends had given us up for
dead, and Eatumup Jake's wife, after putting on mourning for a proper
season, had begun to receive the attentions of a widower, who was part
Gentile bishop and part Mormon elder.

As Jake was in a hurry when he started back home, he bought him a cheap
mustang in place of accepting the transportation which was urged on him
by all the principal officers of the railroad. He wrote us that when he
arrived on his ranch, his wife was out in the hayfield putting up the
third crop of alfalfa. She was driving a bull rake, hauling it into the
stack, while one of the twins was driving the mower and the other twin
was doing the stacking. The half-breed Mormon-Gentile bishop was
standing round with a cotton umbrella over his head, giving orders.
Jake's wife didn't know him at first, he had changed so, but the bishop
tumbled to him at once and started to leave. However, Jake overtook him
and persuaded the bishop to turn aside into a little patch of timber
with him, and Jake getting the loan of the umbrella in the painful
interview that followed, he left most of the steel ribs of the umbrella
sticking in the anatomy of the bishop, and then let the house dog, with
the help of the twin boys armed with their pitchforks, assist the bishop
clear off the ranch. This was so much better than the old style of Enoch
Arden business that Dillbery Ike made up a little rhyme about it after
we got Jake's letter, and here it is:

  In Utah a cattleman got married in the glow of summer time,
  Married a buxom Mormon girl, warm heart and manner kind.
  And as the autumnal sun began to tinge things red,
  He rounded up his cattle herd and to his bride he said:
  "Come hither, dear, and kiss me and sit upon my lap,
  For I am going a lengthy journey with my cows and steers that's fat.
  I'm going on the Overland with a special, long stock train."
  His bride, she wept and trembled and said, "I'll ne'er see you again.
  O Jake, my darling husband, give up this wrong design,
  If you must go east with cattle, then try some other line,
  For I have heard the stockmen talking and this is what they say,
  That if you drive your stock to market, that then there's no delay.
  But if you get a special train, the railroad has a knack
  Of letting you do your running when your train is on a sidetrack.
  Some stockmen they have starved to death, and others grow so old
  That none knew them on their return, so frequent I've been told."
  But Jake was young and hearty and his mind was full of zeal
  To load his beef on a special and eastward take a spiel.
  So he started with his steers and cows in the golden autumn time.
  Some neighbors also loaded theirs; the cattle were fat and fine.
  But they run the stock on the Overland, so slow and awful bum
  That stockmen get old and care-worn, staying with a special run.
  Their wives get weary waiting for hubby's coming home
  And flirt with the nearest preacher who drops in when they're alone.
  Jake's wife was no exception, and, as time went by, she said,
  "If Jake was alive I know he'd come back; he surely must be dead."
  The good woman put on mourning and mourned for quite a time,
  But when thus she'd done her duty, she suddenly ceased to pine,
  And when a Gentile-Mormon preacher dropped in one night to tea
  She put on her new dress of gingham and was chipper as she could be;
  Had him eating her pies and jellies that she knew how to make,
  Had him sit in the easy rocker, without ever a thought of Jake.
  And when the twins got drowsy, she packed them off to bed,
  Sat and played checkers with the bishop, just as though poor Jake was
  When she jumped in the preacher's king-row, and had eight men to his
  She cared not (she was so excited) whether Jake was dead or alive.
  But at four o'clock next morning, she roused from sleep with a scream;
  She'd seen Jake pushing behind a stock train in this early morning dream.
  And that evening when the lusty preacher came hanging around again,
  He got but a scanty welcome, for she thought of the special train.
  For a time she was silent and thoughtful, the dream an impression had
  She could still see Jake pushing the special, as it slowly climbed the
  Now we know how the brave-hearted Jake with the stock train had to stay,
  How he camped by her side night times as on a sidetrack she lay.
  We know how he pushed so manfully whene'er she climbed a hill,
  In fact every one pushed, even the sheepmen, Cottswool and Rambolet Bill;
  How hunger and famine o'ertook them as slowly they crawled along,
  Their hearts almost broke with home-longing when Jackdo sung a home song.
  Eyes filled with tears that were unbidden, hearts o'erflowing with pain--
  No pen can paint their sorrow as they stayed with this special stock
  The passing of poor old Chuckwagon, who slowly starved to death,
  On account of the smell of the sheepmen, he couldn't get his breath;
  Their camping ahead of the special after they had buried Chuck,
  The washing away of the sheepmen, who surely were out of luck.
  They lived in snow huts on the mountain that's known as Sherman Hill,
  Where the last was seen of the sheepmen, Cottswool and Rambolet Bill;
  Their arrival at the Windy City that's known as the dead Shyann,
  Some things about Burt and Warren and mayhap another man.
  And now with their party diminished by old age, privation and death,
  They still kept plodding on eastward, what of the party was left
  Till Jake talking with wandering sheepmen, who had trailed by his cabin
  Heard of the scandalous preacher, who came when his wife was alone;
  Heard of the nightly playing of checkers when the twins were safely in
  About his wife all the neighbors were talking, her claiming that Jake
      was dead.
  Finally through very home-sickness, he started to take the back track,
  And because he was in such a hurry, he rode all the way horse-back.
  Arriving in sight of his meadows, a-waving fresh and green,
  The alfalfa growing the highest that Jake had ever seen;
  Two red-headed boys the hay were pitching; their mother was hauling it
  There was only one blot on the landscape that made Jake feel like sin.
  'Twas our Gentile-Mormon bishop in the shade of his old umbreller.
  With his long-tailed coat and eye glasses, he looked like Foxy Quiller.
  When Jake got close to the bishop he booted him out the field,
  The house dog and twins, with their hayforks, finished making the elder
  Then Jake gathered his family around him, work was laid by for the day,
  They told all their joys and their sorrows, so I've finished my lay.


  The old-fashioned Enoch Arden story was a tale well told;
  I can't approach or rival it, nor make a claim so bold.
  But the ending of my cowboy Enoch Arden I really like the best,
  For he fired the interloper out the modern Arden nest.



Before we arrived at Grand Island we learned from Jackdo that most
cowmen unloaded their cattle there and drove them back and forth through
the stockyards awhile in order to accumulate a large amount of mud on
them. This Grand Island mud is very adhesive and once steers is
thoroughly immersed in it the mud sticks to them for weeks and helps
very materially in their weight. A shipper told him that before he
stopped at Grand Island he used to wonder what cattlemen meant by
filling their cattle at Grand Island, but now he knew it was filling
their hair full of mud. Sometimes he said the mud was a little too
thick, kind of chunky and fell off, and sometimes it had too much water
in it and drained off, more or less. But when it was mixed just right it
would settle into their hair like concrete cement. It's quite dark in
color, fortunately, and if they've had a rain it is easy to get pens
where you can immerse your cattle all over and thus make them the color
of the Galloways, which is the most fashionable color for cattle in the

He said there was cases where cattlemen had got a good fill on Grand
Island mud and sold their cattle weighed up there to feeders who put
them on full feed for six months and they weighed less in the market
than to start with, because the feeders had curried the mud off them.
Sometimes he said after people left Grand Island with their cattle and
before the mud got well set, there would come a hard rain on them and
the mud washed off in streaks and gave the cattle kind of a zebra
appearance. Especially was this true where the cattle had originally
been white. He said we would be expected to order some hay and pay for
it and get the mud for nothing. It was just like a boot-jack saloon,
where you bought a high-priced peppermint drop and got a pint of whiskey
throwed in.

[Illustration: _Joe Kerr Loading Sheep for South St. Joe._]

'Twas here at Grand Island that we met Joe Kerr again. We had met him in
Utah before we shipped, and he had tried very hard to get us to ship our
cattle to the coming live stock market of the United States at St. Joe.
Kerr travels in the interest of the St. Joe stockyards, and while in the
fullness of our youth and conceit when we first loaded our stock we
wouldn't have taken a suggestion from Teddy Roosevelt, yet we had grown
older and had lost some of our self-confidence; in fact, I've often
thought since these experiences that the old proverb, "He who ships his
range cattle to market place of selling them at home leaves hope
behind," would apply to most range shipments.

Now it seems Joe Kerr had kept posted as to our movements right along
through friends of his who were in the sheep business and who had
trailed their herds past our train at different times on their trip
East to sell their sheep for feeders, and Kerr had made such nice
calculations by casting horoscopes and looking up the signs of the
zodiac that he knew to a month when we would arrive in Grand Island, and
was waiting there to persuade us to ship our stock to St. Joe in place
of Omaha. He was right on the spot to help us unload them; knew all the
pens where the mud was the deepest, even helped us smear the mud into
their hair on the few spots that was missed, when we were swimming them
through the mud batter. Joe had loads of statistics for sheepmen,
cattlemen, horsemen and hogmen that would convince any man that wasn't
too suspicious that St. Joe was the best market. He had beautiful
colored maps of the yards, showing the clear limpid waters of the
Missouri River, flowing along at the foot of the bluffs; the waters
swarming with steamboats and smaller craft; the city of St. Joe covering
the bluffs and river bottoms for miles, and just down the river at the
lower end of this great city was stockyards and packing plants laid out
like some great city park and hundreds of acres, all paved with brick,
laid into walks and floors for the pens with perfect precision, and all
divided in different compartments for all kinds of live stock;
everything arranged so sheep could be unloaded one place, hogs another
place, cattle another, so as to admit of no delay in unloading when
stock arrived. He told us that their yards were kept so clean that
ladies could walk all over them in rainy weather without soiling their
costumes. Said no Sheenies were skinning people in their yards. He made
such a square talk we finally agreed to split the shipment and let part
of the train go to St. Joe, and sent Jackdo along to take care of the



The rainy season had now set in in good earnest all through Nebraska,
and while the natives have typhoid fever and malaria to a more or less
extent, yet most of them live through it, but people from the dry
mountain regions that have been used to pure air and water all their
lives fare worse from these fevers ten times over than the natives, and
Dillbery Ike fell a victim right in the start. One evening soon after
we left Grand Island I noticed his face was flushed very red, and he
complained of a dull headache, but as he had the headache a good deal
ever since the railroad police had scalped him at Cheyenne in mistake
for a striker, I didn't think so much of his headache. But when I come
to look at his tongue and feel his pulse I found every indication of
high fever. In a few hours he was out of his mind and talked of shady
mountain sides, babbling brooks and clear mountain springs of water, and
he talked of his hosses and cattle, his cow ranch and alfalfa meadows,
but most of all he talked of "Sarer."

Now Dillbery had only one romance in his life that we knew of, and that
happened in this way: Several decades previous to our story the few
families living in the vicinity of Dillbery's ranch in Utah had got
together and built an adobe school-house, and voting a special tax on
the piece of railroad track that run through their part of the country
had raised enough money to pay for the school-house and hire a
school-teacher. At first each of the three married women in the
neighborhood wanted to teach the school. Then each of them offered to
take turns about teaching it so they could divide the money, but their
husbands, who was the directors, wanted a school-marm, so as to have a
little young female blood diffused through the atmosphere in that part
of the country, and after advertising for a school teacher, the New
England brand preferred, got hundreds of answers very shortly. So
putting their heads together they selected one that had a kind of crab
apple perfume attached to the application, and was worded in such way as
to give the reader a notion of pleading blue eyes, with a wealth of
golden brown hair and heaving bosom, not too young to teach school nor
too old to be romantic and sympathetic, and closed a deal with her to
come West and teach their school. She had signed her name Sarah Jessica
Virginia Smythe, but was always known as Miss Sarer. When she was about
to arrive at the railroad station, thirty miles away, all the married
men wanted to go and meet her. All of them had particular business in at
the station that day, but none of their wives would stand for it. They
said that Dillbery Ike was a bachelor and the proper one to get her.

[Illustration: _The Arrival of Miss "Sarer."_]

Now Dillbery Ike was a long, gangling, bashful, backward plainsman,
never had a sweetheart and was considered perfectly harmless around
women by every one who knew him. The old married men finally agreed to
let Dillbery meet the school-marm, but not till each had went through a
stormy scene with his wife, in which that good woman had threatened to
tear the blanket right in two in the middle with such forcible language
that you could almost hear it ripping. Dillbery had got shaved, had his
hair cut, put on his best black suit he had bought from a Sheeny, the
pants being a trifle of six or eight inches too short for him at the top
and bottom both, his coat rather large in the waist, but short at the
wrists like the pants; and hitching his mules to his spring wagon, he
started bright and early to the station of Kelton, Utah. He arrived
about noon, him and his mules white with alkali dust, and finding that
the train was twenty-three hours late, stayed at the section house till
next day, there being no hotel in Kelton. When the train came along next
day about noon, a large, portly lady of uncertain age, with her
frizzed-up hair turning grey, her hands full of wraps, lunch baskets,
sofa pillows, telescope grips, umbrellers, band-boxes and bird cages,
climbed off the train, and the baggageman put off a large horse-hide
trunk, from which most of the hair had been worn off, or perhaps
scalped off in the troublous times when Washington was crossing the
Delaware. When she got this old, bald-headed looking trunk and a couple
of shoe boxes with rope handles (that were probably full of Century
Magazines) piled up with her other baggage, the newsboy said it looked
like an Irish eviction.

When Dillbery saw this old man-hunter and all her luggage, his heart
failed him, and he went to the saloon three times to liquor up before he
got sand enough to talk to her. Of course, Dillbery expected to marry
her, no matter what she was like, as the whole neighborhood where he
lived had planned it ever since the school-marm was talked of, and he
couldn't expect to disappoint the neighbors and still continue to live
there. Still she wasn't exactly what he had figured in his mind after
reading a great many novels about the rosy-cheeked, small-waisted,
dainty-feet, lily-white hands, wondrous brown hair, blue-eyed New
England darlings, with pretty sailor hats and tailor-made suits, who
come West to teach our schools and incidentally marry the most expert
roping, best broncho-busting, chief cowpuncher. And now here was this
dropsical-looking old girl, with fat, pudgy-looking hands and feet like
a couple of poisoned pups, with all this colonial luggage.

However, Dillbery was obliged to take charge of her and her traps, as he
called them, and when he was finally ready to start, had got everything
on the spring wagon, even to the bird cages, and after getting a final
drink with the boys and filling a bottle to take along, he loaded the
old girl in and whipping up his mules, disappeared in a cloud of alkali

Dillbery sat on his end of the seat, frightened out of his wits, and
Sarah Jessica Virginia Smythe sat on the other end, but, of course, sat
on all the vacant seat left by Dillbery, 'cause she couldn't help it,
she was built that way, and was even more afraid of Dillbery than he was
of her. Although she had always been hunting a man, yet she was in a
wild country and a stranger; not a house in sight and night coming on,
was with a savage-looking man, who was, undoubtedly, very drunk, and
acting very strangely to say the least. As time went on Dillbery got
dryer and dryer, and studied a good deal how to get a drink out of his
bottle without letting Sarah see him. Finally he concluded he could make
some excuse that the load was slipping; he might get around back of the
wagon to fix it, and under cover of the darkness quietly get a drink
out of his bottle. So when they were crossing a canyon in an unusually
lonely spot, he stopped the mules and muttering something about the
load, he started to get out, but Sarah thought her hour had come, and
throwing her arms (which were like pillow bolsters) around Dillbery's
neck, began to scream and piteously beg him not to do her any wrong. The
more Dillbery Ike tried to explain, the more Sarah Jessica cried,
screamed and sobbed, till finally with a despairing sigh, like unto the
collapse of a big balloon, she fainted clear away on his breast, pinning
him over the back of the seat, his spinal column slowly but surely being
sawed in two over the sharp edge. The horror of poor old Dillbery, when
he realized that death from a broken back was only a question of her not
coming out of the dead faint, which she seemed to have gotten an
allopathic dose of, cannot be described.

When some time had elapsed and she showed no signs of animation, he made
a great struggle to get from under her; but it was a vain attempt, he
was nailed down as completely as a piece of canvas under a paving block.
And when it came over him that he was doomed to this ignominious death,
when he fully realized what people would think about him when they found
him in this compromising position, and the cowboys would facetiously all
agree that he looked like a Texas dogie steer hanging dead on a wire
fence after a Wyoming blizzard; when he felt that peculiar, loud buzzing
in his ears that is a premonition of death, he made one final desperate
struggle, and spitting out a lot of grey hair, hair pins and pieces of
switch, which had accumulated in his mouth, he screamed with all the
strength of his lungs in one long despairing cry, the one word "Sarer."

Now in Dillbery Ike's delirium and raging fever on the stock train, he
kept continually giving tongue in a long, blood-curdling, soul-freezing,
despairing cry to that one word "Sarer." Night and day we had to listen
to that heart-broken cry. Finally, when the fever was at its highest
stage I consulted the conductor of our special about getting a doctor
and he advised me to go back to the last town we had passed through,
where there was a good physician and get him. He said that we would have
plenty of time, as there was a lonely sidetrack just ahead of the train.
So walking back about ten miles to this town, I secured the services of
a doctor, and getting a livery rig we soon caught up with the special.
When the doctor had examined Dillbery's tongue and pulse and had put his
ear to Dillbery's heart while he was giving one of his despairing cries
for "Sarer," he wrote a prescription in some kind of foreign language
which he interpreted to us, as he said he had written it down as a mere
form to show that he could write in a foreign language. He said our
friend was very sick and the one thing that would save his life was to
get "Sarer" for him. Now, of course, that was an impossibility, but he
said all we needed was an imitation "Sarer," something that looked like
her and was about her size and form, so after explaining to him what
"Sarer" was like, he drove back to town, and when he caught up to us
again, brought into the car a wonderful dummy made out of a large sack
of bran with a head tied on it composed mainly of a sack of hair, such
as plasterers use to mix mortar with. He had a large, but not too large,
Mother Hubbard dress on this wonderful dummy, and the whole well
perfumed with Florida water. When we laid this imitation "Sarer" in the
emaciated arms of poor old Dillbery, his eyes grew moist for a moment,
and straining it to his breast he gave a contented sigh or two,
whispered "Sarer, Sarer," and dropped off into a healthy slumber, and
the doctor said he would live.


Dillbery slept for a long time, and awoke somewhat refreshed, but
somewhat under the influence of his animal scalp, and no one being in
the car, the spirit of the goat probably overtook him, as he devoured
the head of the dummy "Sarer," which will be remembered consisted of
plastering hair. Then the spirit of the sheep and the pig coming over
him, he devoured the sack of bran, and laying down in front the stove
like a Newfoundland dog, he went to sleep. Thus I found him on my return
to the car. But, alas! his stomach was too weak to digest all the stuff
he had consumed and in a few hours he was in a raging fever and calling
for "Sarer" again. But, of course, he had devoured "Sarer," and we had
nothing to fix up in the place of the dummy. And while it was
heart-rending to hear his sobbing cry for "Sarer" growing weaker and
weaker as the night wore on, yet we could only listen and hope. About 4
o'clock in the morning his cries stopped and he seemed to be sleeping
for a few minutes, and then opened his eyes and took my hand and in a
weak but rational voice told me the story of his boyhood in the
following words:

[Illustration: _Dillbery Ike's Darling Mother Under Arrest._]

He said he was born in the mountains in Virginia. He was the only child,
so far as he knew, of a moonshiner's daughter. His mother was not an
unhappy woman, he said, when she had plenty of snuff and moonshine
whisky; in fact, was quite gay at times. No one, not even his mother,
knew exactly who his father was. Some people said it was a revenue
officer and some said it was the member of Congress from that district,
but most people thought it was a live stock agent of one of the western
railroads. However this may be, he thrived on corn pone, dewberries,
wild honey, and sow bosom, and as soon as he got old enough helped his
mother cut wood and haul it to town in a two-wheeled hickory cart drawn
by a steer. They lived with his grandfather, who was quite a prominent
man in that part of Virginia and who was finally killed by revenue
officers. His mother was sent to the pen for selling moonshine whiskey
and he was taken charge of by a family who immigrated to Utah. He said
the last time he saw his darling mother 'twas at their old home in the
mountains in Virginia. The steer was hitched to the cart one beautiful
spring morning. The sun's rays was just kissing the mountain tops, when
two revenue officers had appeared at their home, and after a lively
scrap with his mother they had succeeded in arresting her. Not though
till she had thoroughly furrowed their cheeks with her finger nails and
plenteously helped herself to sundry handfuls of their hair, after which
she had peacefully seated herself in the cart and was placidly chewing a
snuff stick in each corner of her mouth, when the steer and cart
disappeared around a bend in the mountain road, and fate had decreed he
should never see her again.

The family that took charge of him were neighbor moonshiners and had a
day or so after this took place traded off their Virginia estate for a
team of antique mules and a linch-pin wagon, and storing a goodly supply
of moonshine whiskey, apple jack, corn meal and bacon in the wagon,
loaded the family, consisting of nine children, himself included, in the
wagon, and immigrated for Utah. He said as long as he was with these
people he was treated like one of the family, but as they immigrated
back to Virginia the next year they left him in Utah with a poor family
and he was hungry many times, and was always telling the children he
associated with how big the dewberries grew where he came from, so the
other children nicknamed him Dewberry, which was finally changed to
Dillbery and that name had stuck to him ever since.

After finishing the story of his boyhood, Dillbery lay quiet for a short
time and then motioning me to bend down close to him he whispered to me
not to bury him in Nebraska where, he said, the only way a man could
hope to be resurrected was in the shape of a yellow ear of corn, to be
fed to a yellow steer, followed by a yellow hog and the hog meat eaten
by a yellow-whiskered malarial Populist, and so on. After I promised to
see that he was buried on his ranch in Utah, he asked me to sing that
old cowboy song, "Oh! give me a home where the buffalo roams, a place
where the rattlesnake plays."


  'Twas a dismal night on a way-car, the rain pattering on the roof
  The man who has told this story was alone with the silent dead.
  The voice that had been calling for Sarah was hushed and stilled at last,
  He had finished telling the story of his childhood's checkered past.

  No more would he ride the ranges, no more the mavericks brand,
  Nor subdue the bucking broncho, in that far western land;
  Never again to meet the school-marms, when they came traveling West
  Under the guise of school teaching, to get in a bachelor's nest.

  Dillbery folded his hands gently, as he quietly went to sleep,
  In the death that knows no waking, for which no shipper could weep;
  While some of his life had been stormy, of hardships he'd had his share,
  Pen cannot paint a cattleman's troubles, nor picture his heart sick care.

  When he's got his cattle on a special, and getting a special run,
  Death for him hasn't a single terror, he longs for it to come;
  And so with poor old Dillbery, when his weary eyes closed in death,
  Blotted out his sorrows and troubles, all blown away with his last

  He had gone to meet his grandfather, and get some of his latest brew,
  For who shall say that old moonshiner had quit distilling some mountain
  For all say the other world is better, we'll get what we like over there,
  While of our joys here we are stinted, in the hereafter we get double

  His eyes grew bright with a vision that he saw on the other side,
  He got a glimpse of a right good cow country, just before he started
      to ride;
  And his eyes lit up with a gladness, his face o'erspread with hope,
  As without a trace of sadness, his spirit rode away in a lope.



One dark, dismal, rainy morning, a little before daylight, I arrived
with the remnant of our stock train on the stockyards transfer at South
Omaha. The conductor and brakeman ordered me out of the way-car. So
picking up my belongings I got out in the mud and rain and looked around
for some shelter. There was a lot of railroad tracks and switches, but
no houses or hotels, or anyone to inquire from, as I had learnt by
experience that conductors, brakemen and switchmen never give any
information to stockmen in a dark, rainy night.

So after wandering up and down the tracks for a ways, and not being able
to find out which way the town lay I got on top of the stock cars, and
huddling down in my rain-soaked rags I prepared to wait till daylight.
The rain was very cold, and after a bit turned to snow and chilled me to
the bone. But I was afraid to leave the stock cars, as I had never been
there before and was sure to get lost if I left the stock, as the town
is quite a ways from the transfer. I thought of Dillbery Ike, Packsaddle
Jack and old Chuckwagon in the other world, and wondered why I should be
left shivering in this awful storm, suffering the pangs of hunger and
cold, while doubtless they had more fire than they really needed. No
matter what their condition was in the other world, it was bound to be
better than mine. Even the sheepmen's condition in the other world
couldn't be much worse, though some claim there is a hell set apart
a-purpose for sheepmen on the other side.

[Illustration: _The Arrival of the Survivor at the Transfer._]

My clothes were all worn out long ago; my beard had grown down to my
knees and the hair on my head having never been cut since we started,
now reached to my waist, and, of course, it and my beard was some
protection from the storm. But I realized that if I stayed where I was
it would only be a short time till I should meet my comrades who had
gone before, and I thought it would be proper to make some preparations
for the other world. I never had prayed or went to church much, 'cause a
cowman don't have any chance to attend to these, as there is always
either some calves to brand Sundays, or else some of the neighbors
coming visiting. But I remembered a passage of scripture I had heard
when a boy, and it came back to me now and kept ringing in my ears:
"Forgive thine enemy." I never had an enemy in my whole life that I knew
of, without it was this blamed railroad, and while I wasn't sure they
was enemies, yet they had dealt me more misery than anyone, except it
might be this stockyards company that was keeping me and my stock out on
this transfer, starving and freezing in the storm after me and my steers
had all got to be Rip Van Winkles getting that far on the road. I
studied over the matter and could see it would be too great a job to
forgive them both at the same time, and, of course, couldn't tell how
much forgiveness the stockyards company would have to have, as I hadn't
got through with them yet. There might be so much against them before
they got my cattle unloaded that it would be impossible to forgive it.

It was very lucky, as it turned out afterwards, that I had this
forethought, because, as I take it, forgiveness only comes from the
heart no matter what your lips say, and your heart is the blamedest
thing to control in forgiveness, as well as love, and when that
stockyards company finally got around to bring my cattle in and unload
them, I reckon it would have been impossible for any mortal man with the
least spark of vitality left in his veins to have forgiven them. They
have tried over and over to explain it to me by saying that when they
built the transfer tracks and unloading chutes, their receipts only run
about 1,500 to 2,000 cattle a day, with about the same number of hogs
and about 200 sheep. And, now in the fall of the year, their receipts of
cattle run up to 7,000 to 12,000 a day, with the same number of hogs and
20,000 to 25,000 of sheep, and they are trying to handle them with the
same facilities they had to start with. So they are pretty near always
so far behind in unloading stock in the busy season that it takes all
the slack business season to finish unloading the stock that
accumulated during the rush.

Having made up my mind to put off forgiving the stockyards company till
some future date, I turned all my attention to forgiving the railroad
company. I had noticed a good many religious people when some one had
done them an injury and they couldn't get at them any other way they
would pray for them. And while they generally asked the Lord to forgive
them, yet they always told their side of the story in such a way that if
the Lord was anyways easily prejudiced, he would be pretty tolerable
slow about handing out any unsought-for clemency to their enemies, as
they always started in by telling of all the mean things their enemies
had ever done in order to remind the Lord what a big contract it was.
After studying the matter over I thought this would be the proper way to
pray for the railroad company. But after I got started telling the Lord
what mean things they had done, I see 'twas no use to try to finish
unless I'd hand the matter down to future generations, as one life
wouldn't be long enough to get fairly started in.


All night long I had heard voices on all sides of me and apparently the
owners of them were in the direst distress. Some were praying
undoubtedly, but the most were cursing. A few were crying and moaning
with the cold and I thought for a long time I must have got into an
inferno of lost souls, and added to my sufferings in the storm in which
I had come close to death was the terror of listening to these
distressing cries, and I longed for daylight to appear so these horrors
would be explained.

Daylight began to appear while I was thinking about these things, and I
could see other stock trains near me, and on every train I could see one
or more miserable wretches like myself huddled down on top of a car in
the snow and cold rain, and the only sign of life you could detect was
when they took spells of shivering. One of them was pretty close, and I
hailed him once or twice, and finally he roused up enough to answer me;
but the poor, shivering wretch was so numb with the cold he didn't sense
much of anything, and when I asked him why all the shippers stayed out
all night with their cattle, place of going into town, he said lots of
times cattle were so tired when they got to Omaha and they were so long
about getting them to the chutes, that there was more danger of their
getting down after they got to the transfer and getting tramped to death
than before. Then he said lots of stockmen who tried to get to town from
the transfer in the night and had got killed, and some got their legs
cut off by trains that were all the time switching on the transfer
tracks. He said if the Humane Society took half the pains to protect the
shippers that they did the stock being shipped he thought it would be
better. He said a shipper was a human being even if he did look like a
orangoutang just dragged out of a Chicago sewer when he got through to
Omaha with a shipment of livestock. I thought maybe he was getting
personal, so told him he didn't look so fine himself; that I thought
anyone who resembled a jackass in a Wyoming blizzard hadn't any call to
make reflections on other people's looks. Just then the switch engine
coupled onto his train and hauled him and his stock off to the unloading
chutes, and I was kinda glad he was gone, as I had conceived a dislike
to him anyway. I can't bear anyone who makes disagreeable reflections
and comparisons on one's personal appearance when one isn't looking
their best, especially a person who ain't got anything to brag of


I looked on the other side of me and saw another stock train with a
group of four or five stockmen on top the cars. They were huddled down
together in the snow and wet, and I thought at first one of them was
making a speech, but soon discovered he was praying. It turned out one
of their number was dying from ill health and the exposure of the night
before, they having been there all night waiting for the switch engine
to haul them to the chutes. They were a bunch of Nebraska farmers who
had bought some feeders in Omaha sometime previous, shipped them out to
their farms a couple hundred miles west, fed up their corn crop and was
bringing the cattle back. The man that was praying seemed to be a son
and partner of the dying man, and was telling the Lord the whole
transaction from a to izard. Whether he was doing this to relieve his
own feelings, or whether he thought the Lord would size his father up as
an honest man in place of a sucker, it's hard to tell. Anyway, you could
tell by his prayer that him and his dying father had got the worst of
the deal all the way through. What I heard of his prayer run something
like this:

"O Lord, Thou knowest how Thy humble servants have been the victims of
designing and unscrupulous men. Thou knowest, Lord, how a hooked-nosed
Sheeny first induced Thy poor servants to buy of him a lot of
crooked-backed, narrow-hipped, long-tailed, high-on-the-rump,
ewe-necked, dehorned, Southern steers, and how they had kept them off of
water for seven days, waiting for a sale, and then let them drink till
their stomachs was like unto bass drums, when they weighed them up to
Thy deceived servants, and then, O Lord, Thy wretched servants, not
having any money to pay for them, we had to go to a grasping commission
man and, O Lord, Thou knowest how he did charge us usury cent for cent
and all kinds of percent, how he figured up interest on the cost of the
steers, then figured interest on that interest, then figured interest on
the interest that he had figured on the interest, then figured a
commission for buying them, then another commission for selling them,
then figured the interest on the commission, then figured the interest
on the interest that he had figured on the commission; and, how when we
had got these steers home, two of them were dead, three were cripples,
five were lump jaws, and how their feet were so large, and they had such
wise, old-fashioned countenances, we were behooved to look into their
mouths to determine by their teeth how old they were, and Thy astonished
servants discovered that in place of two year-olds, as was represented,
they were a great many times two years old; and how many times when we
had a little fat on their ribs, they saw someone afoot, and becoming
frightened, ran round and round the feed lots till they were poorer than
ever, and some there was that escaping over the fence were never seen by
Thy servants any more, they having disappeared over the hills and in
adjacent corn fields; and Thou knowest how we were always sober,
law-abiding citizens till we were inveigled into buying these imitation
steers, and since that time have lived in a constant round of
excitement, terror and riot."

The switch engine now coupled on to the dying man's stock train and
pulled it away to the chutes, so I didn't hear the last of the prayer.
Probably his commission man heard it after he got through explaining why
the steers didn't bring any more money.



  Two railroad men of mighty brain,
  The steadfast friends of true cowmen;
  No matter which the first you name,
  We all love George Crosby and Charlie Lane.

  And if in this story, they should see
  Some mentioned evil, for which a remedy
  That's in their power and can be used,
  They'll fix it so the shipper is less abused.

  Of all things needed, and it's a crying shame,
  Is some kind of toilet room on each stock train;
  In regard to fires, let the shippers agree,
  Whether they'll be froze or roasted into eternity.

  Have a call-boy escort with lantern bright,
  When at division stations we come in darkest night;
  To save our anxiety, fear and doubt,
  Put us on the right way-car that's going out.

  To the stockyards company a suggestion could be made,
  If they expect to keep and gain more trade;
  When our cattle are delivered on their transfer track,
  Try and unload them, or else we'll ship them back.

  If one or two of these evils should be wiped away
  By these suggestions in this humble lay,
  Then will I rejoice and forget the days of toil
  When I composed this work and burnt the midnight oil.

The Denver Union Stock Yard Co., Denver, Colo.


Greatest Stocker, Feeder and Fat Stock Market in the West.

Capacity--15,000 Cattle; 10,000 Hogs; 30,000 Sheep; 5,000 Horses.

G. W. BALLENTINE, V.-Pres. and Gen. Mgr.
J. W. HURD, Asst. Treasurer.
H. PETRIE, Superintendent.

  Elijah Bosserman, President.
  M. H. Mark, Vice-President.
  F. J. Duff, Secretary and Treas.
  A. Bosserman, Cashier.
  Elijah Bosserman, Cattle Salesman.
  Link Bosserman, Cattle Salesman.
  F. J. Duff, Hog Salesman.
  M. H. Mark, Sheep Salesman.

Denver Live Stock
Commission Co.


Telephone 818. P. O. Box 818.

Union Stock Yards, Denver, Colo.

       *       *       *       *       *

Market Reports Furnished Promptly by Mail or Wire on
Application. Money Loaned to Parties Owning
Stock. Correspondence Solicited.

       *       *       *       *       *

Incorporated $20,000.

  F. W. FLATO, Jr., Prest.
  I. M. HUMPHREY, Vice-Prest.
  J. S. HORN, Treas.


Flato Commission


South Omaha, Nebraska; Chicago, Illinois; South St.
Joseph, Missouri; North Fort Worth, Texas.


Capital $250,000.00


Prompt and Careful Attention Given all Consignments. Pleased
to Furnish Information by Correspondence or Otherwise to
any Person Interested.


  F. W. Flato Jr.
  I. M. Humphrey.
  R. R. Russell.
  Ed. H. Reid.
  L. L. Russell.
  James C. Dahlman.
  J. S. Horn.

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