Cattle Brands eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 256 pages of information about Cattle Brands.

“Sure enough, the day before we crossed that road, somewhere near the Colorado state line, Pink and Bad Medicine left camp early in the morning for a curlew hunt in the sand hills.  Fortunately it was a foggy morning, and within half an hour the two were out of sight of camp and herd.  As Pink had outlined the plans, everything was understood.  We were encamped on a nice stream, and instead of trailing along with the herd, lay over for that day.  Night came and our hunters failed to return, and the next morning we trailed forward towards the Arkansas River.  Just as we went into camp at noon, two horsemen loomed up in sight coming down the trail from above.  Every rascal of us knew who they were, and when the two rode up, Pink grew very angry and demanded to know why we had failed to reach the river the day before.

“The horse wrangler, a fellow named Joe George, had been properly coached, and stepping forward, volunteered this excuse:  ’You all didn’t know it when you left camp yesterday morning that we were out the wagon team and nearly half the saddle horses.  Well, we were.  And what’s more, less than a mile below on the creek was an abandoned Indian camp.  I wasn’t going to be left behind with the cook to look for the missing stock, and told the segundo so.  We divided into squads of three or four men each and went out and looked up the horses, but it was after six o’clock before we trailed them down and got the missing animals.  If anybody thinks I’m going to stay behind to look for missing stock in a country full of lurking Indians—­well, they simply don’t know me.’

“The scheme worked all right.  On reaching the railroad the next morning, Bad Medicine authorized Pink to take the herd to Ogalalla on the Platte, while he took a train for Denver.  Around the camp-fire that night, Pink gave us his experience in losing Mr. Medicine.  ’Oh, I lost him late enough in the day so he couldn’t reach any shelter for the night,’ said Pink.  ’At noon, when the sun was straight overhead, I sounded him as to directions and found that he didn’t know straight up or east from west.  After giving him the slip, I kept an eye on him among the sand hills, at the distance of a mile or so, until he gave up and unsaddled at dusk.  The next morning when I overtook him, I pretended to be trailing him up, and I threw enough joy into my rapture over finding him, that he never doubted my sincerity.’

“On reaching Ogalalla, a man from Montana put in an appearance in company with poor old Medicine, and as they did business strictly with Pink, we were left out of the grave and owly council of medicine men.  Well, the upshot of the whole matter was that Pink was put in charge of the herd, and a better foreman I never worked under.  We reached the company’s Yellowstone range early in the fall, counted over and bade our dogies good-by, and rode into headquarters.  That night I talked with the regular men on the ranch, and it was there that I found out that a first-class cowhand could get in four months’ haying in the summer and the same feeding it out in the winter.  But don’t you forget it, she’s a cow country all right.  I always was such a poor hand afoot that I passed up that country, and here I am a ‘boomer.’”

Project Gutenberg
Cattle Brands from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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