Cattle Drive Journal

Jake Wharton

Day 1

Finally! We at Wharton Ranch have finally counted our 2,500th head. With that, the cowboys and I have decided to drive 'em-all the way up the Western Trail to Ogadella. It'll be a long hard journey, but we are cowboys-we can do anything we want. Besides, I reckon that the environment up in Nebraska will be much better than the open deserts of Silverton, Texas. I'd think that we will brand each head we haven't, prepare for the open road, and then start

out to the east. William Dempsey, one of our toughest wranglers, actually suggested we take the easier Potter-Bacon Trail, but Carson is a desert much like here, and we wanted to improve the conditions. He's still somewhat cross about it. We aren't planning to come back, so I am handing ranch duty over to my brother John. So I guess he has to do a good job workin' here.

Day 2

I have half the mind to execute Dempsey. Why? The slippery snake decided to change the brand! From our classic Bar W to just a plain one. I'd estimate we were forced to let go of almost 200 head. I'm pretty miffed at him-my brother and I designed the brand ourselves. It had a W for our family name, and a bar down the center to symbolize division of siblings and family. With that, we don't have a choice but to delay the drive.

Day 3

We've finally been able to plot our route for the drive. As you can see, the drive route is somewhat off of the actual trail, but we want to make a stop in Dodge City, and maybe Kearney. We are stopping there to have a slim chance of finding a buyer early, but we aren't going farther than Ogadella for sure. We still need much more cowboys and wranglers before the drive starts.

Day 4

The cowboys and I have studied the map for hours now. We need sleep, lots of it, but we just need to be prepared for everything and anything. We already know that we'll have to journey around 450 miles, and with our 2,300 head, we can cover 12 miles a day. We need about 11 cowboys, and we've already got 3 of them. We'll have to cross quite a few rivers, but we can easily do that with our small herd size.

Day 5

At last, we are finally ready for our drive. We've got our cowboys and wranglers, (including Dempsey) our cooks, our steeds, and most importantly, all of our cattle are properly branded. We'll start eastward and cross the Red for the first time, hop onto the trail, rest in Dodge City, turn back east to head to Kearney, and finally, go west to Ogadella for our buyer. Based on our math, we've maybe spent around $15,300 on our drive. It cuts into our profit, but we can easily earn it back with our sell price. Ogadella is also a town that has some high prices for cattle, meaning if we sell $22 a head, minus the expenses, we can earn over $40,000! That is quite a lot for a couple thousand heads of beef.
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Day 6

The drive started out rough. A little bit after we crossed the Red, we felt some rain, and it accelerated to a full storm. A little bit of the cattle scurried off, but only about 20 of them. In our hurry, we dropped some cooking supplies and coffee, so we stopped in a little town called Gould in Oklahoma, bought some more supplies, and waited out the storm. When we did a recount of cattle in the morning, we actually realized we'd lost almost a hundred heads! with our starting price of 18 bucks, it cuts our profit by almost $2000! The cowboys are not thrilled about that. I heard Ken Lullaby and Adam Popp, two of my cowboys, were talking about bailing on the drive, but I didn't believe them and thought they were insane. But no matter-our 2,200 beefs are soon to be in Ogadella.

Day 7

We thought a storm was big, but this is bigger. When we stopped in Hays, Kansas for a rest, Popp, our cook, Wayne Hayes, and I were woken up by a sudden gunshot about midnight. What I saw, I can't unsee-Dempsey and Lullaby had shot Luther Johnson, another one of our wranglers. But instantly, another gunshot rang out, and a crazy Dempsey was standing over a flat Lullaby. Dempsey must have planned to shoot Johnson along with Lullaby, and shoot him right after, killing both and giving him a free path to run off. He didn't expect to see us. Hayes went over and started tending to Lullaby and Johnson, but he could only help Lullaby-Johnson died. Dempsey must have ran in all the ruckus, and now we are down a wrangler. Popp offered to switch to a wrangler for the rest of the drive. Because it was kind of in the morning, we decided to bury and read over Johnson, and set off at one in the morning.

Day 8

A day after the Johnson incident, we were camping in a remote area north of Hays. Late at night, I decided to write a little bit of cowboy poetry.

Day 9

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