The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935

THE
SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL
QUARTERLY
VOL. XXXVIII JANUARY, 1935 No. 3
The publication committee and the editors disclaim responsibility for views expressed
by contributors to THE QUARTERLY
THE COMANCHERO TRADE
J. EvETTS HALEY
Of all the arrant horse-thieves that depredated upon the chang-
ing frontiers of Texas, the Comanche Indians were the worst and
most numerous. They raided, fought and stole almost as often as
the moon grew full, and their elusive trails pointed pursuers toward
the open country. Yet rarely were they caught.
Long before the white man's country was torn by civil war they
learned that horses, and then cattle, stolen from the Texas border,
might be bartered with the Comancheros, New Mexican Indian
traders, with whom they were on peaceful terms, for guns and
whiskey and other comforts of the alien civilization. This trade,
developing in the eighteenth century, it seems, grew slowly, with
the years, until increased demand for cattle in New Mexico and
the demoralization of the Civil War caused it to expand with a
flourish.
The Cross Timber frontier of Texas, where Colonel Charles
Goodnight ranched in "the fifties and sixties," bore the brunt of
these Comanche depredations and furnished the bulk of the cattle
and horses that went into the trade. After "the War," the
maurauders fell upon Texas herds that used the Goodnight and
Loving Trail. This attempt to sketch their activities is largely
based on letters, reminiscences and other records left by Goodnight,
and is part of a longer manuscript which it is hoped will grow into
a comprehensive biography of that admirable frontier ranchman.
The late sixties were busy years for the cow country as Texas

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117143/. Accessed April 17, 2014.