The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966 Page: 142
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ago, not only filled an economic need but provided high adven-
ture for thousands of cowboys and grist for many a romantic
writer. Until recently, serious historians have neglected that great
migration of beef on the hoof; but presently it is much easier
than it was two decades ago to trace the many cattle trails and
to evaluate their place in history.
This book, while it adds little to knowledge of the trails and
the herds that plodded over them, has an advantage in bringing
into a single volume the stories of trails in various parts of the
country over a long period. Drago, a New York popularizer of
Western history, starts with the cow paths leading from inland
pastures to Atlantic ports, beginning in colonial days.
That early trailing, he notes, was done by men afoot and often
included sheep and swine along with cattle. The animals usually
were taken along public roads and were penned and fed at night.
The later trailing of Longhorns, mainly from Texas, was, of
course, done by men on horseback. Their cattle went over much
longer routes and depended for food on grass found along the way.
In the two decades following the Civil War, cattle trailing from
Texas helped Southwestern ranchmen to recover from the blows
of war, stocked many Northern ranges, satisfied the nation's
growing appetite for beef, and helped beef to displace pork as
the main meat item on American dinner tables. It also was a factor
in the spread of Western railroads.
Drago has combed the personal reminiscences in The Trail
Drivers of Texas and has made use of trail narratives by various
historians. He shows the economic role of the trails and tells of
celebrating by 'Texans in Kansas cow towns. This book is more
accurate and better rounded than some of his earlier ones. But
it contains a highly erroneous and misleading map of 'Texas trails;
one that should be corrected in later printings.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966, periodical, 1966; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/m1/162/: accessed March 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.