The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 60
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
apart, and each was about ten feet across and twelve feet high.
Cowboys who climbed the hill later used their knives or spurs
to carve their initials or brands on the soft stone.
In the Indian country the trail outfits had five rivers to cross
-the Washita, the South Canadian, the North Canadian, the
Cimarron, and the Salt Fork of the Arkansas. They entered
Kansas just south of the present Caldwell and pointed on north.
Usually they had little trouble with the Kansas stream crossings,
which included the Chikaskia River, Slate Creek, the Ninnescah
River, Cow Skin Creek, and the Arkansas River. Sometimes, in
the northern part of the Territory or in southern Kansas, they
met herds of buffaloes. They had to avoid trailing too close to
them, lest some of their cattle, or even their spare horses, join
On the trail the cowmen followed the routine that had been
developed on the Shawnee and other earlier routes. The size
of the trail herd varied from a few hundred to several thousand;
but it seldom ran above three thousand, since a large number
meant delays in watering the cattle and in crossing streams. To
avoid crowding and overheating, the herd was strung out, often
for half a mile or more.
On each side of the lead cattle was a bowlegged cowboy on
horseback. This pair, the pointers, kept the herd headed in the
desired direction. They did not drive or hurry the cattle but
barely stayed close enough to keep them from wandering from
the trail. Behind the pointers, at intervals on each side of the
herd, rode the swing men, the flankers, and finally the drag
men with buckskin poppers for laggards. As the dust became
much worse toward the rear of the herd, the trail hands usually
rotated their positions from day to day.
The cook, who drove and presided over the chuck wagon,
roused the men for an early breakfast; and the wrangler brought
the horses into camp. After the men had eaten and the Long-
horns had grazed for a short time, the herd was put on the trail.
As the cattle moved slowly, the cook in his wagon could pass the
herd and have dinner ready when the outfit stopped before
midday. The afternoon drive usually ended at a stream that
offered water for the cattle and near a place the foreman had
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/73/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.