BLAZING A CATTLE TRAIL
Former Texas Rangers Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving gathered cattle in Texas in 1866 and headed the herd north on a trail that would take their name. The westernmost of the cattle trails that extended from south Texas to markets farther north, the Goodnight-Loving Trail went to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, as the herd bosses intended to supply beef to the US Government for use in feeding the Navajo people who had been forced onto a reservation in the area. Goodnight and Loving sold most of their cattle at Fort Sumner, but not all. Taking the profit, Goodnight returned to Texas to buy more beef, while Loving drove the remainder of the herd north to Denver for sale to John Wesley Iliff. In subsequent years, Goodnight and Loving extended their trail to Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Texas novelist Larry McMurtry drew from the real life experiences of Charlie Goodnight, Oliver Loving, and Nelson Story for his epic Western story, Lonesome Dove. As in real life, the novel and film cowboys relied on their Colt revolvers, and a good string of horses as they took the cattle north.
MOVING THE HERD TO MONTANA
Nelson Story brought a herd of cattle from Texas to Montana in 1866 following a route across Wyoming’s Powder River Basin that became known as the Bozeman Trail. Story’s cattle drovers had to fight their way through the region, engaging in conflicts with both Sioux and Crow Indians before reaching the area around Livingston, Montana, in December 1866.