The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 32, July 1928 - April, 1929 Page: 32
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the Concho, cross the ninety-six-mile desert to Horsehead crossing
on the Pecos, then turn up the Pecos to Fort Sumner, New Mexico,
and head for Colorado beyond.
The next problem was to find someone to go with him. This
was a difficult task because as Colonel Goodnight expressed it,
"They all had business this side of the Comanche Country." This
problem was solved when he came across Oliver Loving. Accord-
ing to Colonel Goodnight, "He was, probably, the most experienced
cowman in Texas at that time. In 1859 he had driven a herd of
cattle over the direct route to Colorado, and he had also driven
cattle into Illinois and to the New Orleans market." When Col-
onel Goodnight told Loving his plan, he joined in heartily with
it. They got up a mixed herd of two thousand head and in June
they started, with this herd driven by eighteen adventuresome
The first few weeks were uneventful, but the mixed herd was
difficult to drive because cows do not keep step with steers, and
calves hardly keep step at all. In order to facilitate the drive the
cowboys were forced to kill many newborn calves. When they
reached the headwaters of the Concho, according to Colonel
We stopped long enough to put a good fill on the cattle, then
we pointed the herd straight at the setting sun for the drive across
the ninety-six-mile desert to the Pecos. The weather was hot and
the alkali dust stirred up by the cattle could be seen for miles.
Both man and beast suffered terribly. Three days and nights were
required for the drive and during that time no man slept except
on horseback. Three hundred head of cattle perished.
After crossing the Pecos the herd was driven north and west
about one hundred miles, arriving at Fort Sumner two months
after Colonel Goodnight and his men left the Palo Pinto country.
A new trail had been blazed through six hundred miles of unin-
habited territory. It immediately became known as the Goodnight
Trail. Later it was extended through Raton Mountains past
Pueblo and Denver, Colorado, and into Cheyenne and Fort Lara-
mie, Wyoming. It might be stated in this connection that in 1875
Colonel Goodnight marked out the new Goodnight Trail from
Alamogordo, New Mexico, to Granada, Colorado, and in 1878, he
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 32, July 1928 - April, 1929, periodical, 1929; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101089/m1/36/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.