Saturday, April 21, 2012

XIT Montana Trail

After reading J. Evetts Haley's "A Log of the Montana Trail -as kept by Early Moore," the reader gets a sense of the life and hardships that surrounded the XIT cowboys. The late 19th century cowboy faced many difficulties that today would just seem ridiculous. This short but meaningful piece really gives the reader a true appreciation for the early cattle industry. "From 20,000 to 30,000 steers were kept upon this range. Each year 10,000 to 15,000 were driven north to replace those shipped to Chicago" (Haley). The massive amount of cattle that were driven from the panhandle of Texas all the way up to Montana to be fed, then shipped off to Chicago to be processed, was truly an amazing feat. The log shows how slow things moved on the trail, lasting from "April 20, 1892"-"July 26 1892" then having to reload on supplies and turn around and head back to Texas. With all the chaos of driving a large heard of cattle across the untamed West, Early Moore's preciseness in keeping track of everything from each head of cattle lost (60), to each horse lost (9), to all the previsions needed and money divided up is truly amazing. Although the log is not very detailed, it tells what needs to be told to understand the hardships of what happened along the trail and one's imagination can do the rest. All of this work and time put in to processing food and these people along the trial and back at the XIT ranch will probably never see where their meat finally ends up. This piece was the most interesting of all my sources just because of how interesting I found the actual cattle drive aspect to be.

Moore, J. Ealy, and J. Evetts Haley. A Log of the Montana Trail as Kept by Ealy Moore. Canyon,TX:        Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, 1932. Print.

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