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and many a Kansas farmer who thought he was getting cattle dirt cheap from the trail, found himself a loser before spring by not having prepared enough feed.
Living so near the trail I was near the center of this great industry and became acquainted with Texas cattle owners and cowboys and, I suppose, became somewhat fascinated with the life, and in 1875 I located in the Rio Grande valley, in the Nueces and Devil's River country and about the last year of the Overland Drive, put up two herds and drove from Val Verde county to Indian Territory. Our cattle were dying from drouth and the drive was our only recourse. The venture was not a success. There was almost no demand in the Territory and the constant expense and Indian tax made sad inroads. I got out of this mess with a loss of over $10,000 ; not all, however was legitimate loss, for I heard of my brands being sold on the Kansas market, for which I never received any pay.
There was some dishonesty in this trail driving. A trail boss who did not reach his destination with an equal or greater number than he started with was considered incompetent. Hence ranchers along the trail made bitter complaints of moving herders "incorporating" their stock. On the other hand many of the cattle lost from the herds were picked up by these ranchers, which partially recouped their losses thereby. We had no Cattle Raisers' Association as we have now, and the business of the cattle trail was, in its nature, not such as encouraged a high standard of honesty, though many of the drivers and owners were of the strictest and loftiest moral character.
It is perhaps a surprising feature of the cattle drive that the owners of many herds that illegitimately increased the most on what they made a piratical journey north, went broke, and some of the most noted "cattle kings" became herdsmen or dropped into oblivion. A considerable number of Texas home ranchers got pay