While writing the second book in my Prairie Sky Series, Under Prairie Skies, I enjoyed researching cattle drives, specifically the one extending from Sedalia, Missouri to Chicago, Illinois.
My hero, Chad Avery, joins up with a cattle drive to earn wages to start a herd. He soon discovers the cowboy’s life is not an easy one, with long days in the saddle and minimal pay to show for their efforts.
Often, they put in fifteen-hour days–the majority in the saddle–traveling 15-25 miles a day, depending on the terrain. Duties included, herding cattle, rounding up strays, and breaking in new mounts.
Each cowboy had a specific position and station to manage. The Point Man rode at the head of the herd, Swing Riders at the side, Flank Riders on the rear sides, and Drag Riders in back of the herd. Within a matter of weeks, a dozen men could take thousands of cattle hundreds of miles.
There was also a Wrangler, usually a young man who looked after the extra horses, gathered firewood, and other odd jobs. Cooks drove the Chuck-wagon bearing food supplies. Meals consisted mainly of dried jerky, bacon, and lots of beans! They were often small-framed men, tough and wiry to put up with all the guff they received from the tired, hungry cowboys.
Cattle drives called for hard-working, tough men and for that reason, cowboys often gained the reputation of of being rough and rowdy. After long weeks on the trail, upon meeting their destination, many of the cowboys spent their earnings in a matter of days, before heading out on another drive.
In Under Prairie Skies, Chad Avery breaks this cycle by turning his wages into cattle. Though his beginnings are humble ones, his determination to own his own herd pays off in the end. Watch the Trailer for Under Prairie Skies HERE
The coming of the railroad sparked the end of the cattle drive era. Trains proved a much quicker and more efficient way of transporting cattle. But the age of the cowboy is one we’ve all come to know and love through Western movies and stories of the past.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey back to nineteenth century cattle drives. I never tire of learning about the past and dearly love weaving history into my storylines!
~ What is a topic in history you’d like to learn more about?
Cynthia Roemer’s PRAIRIE SKY SERIES: Stories of faith and resilience on the Midwest prairie Inspirational Historical Romance
UNDER THIS SAME SKY ~ BOOK ONE
UNDER PRAIRIE SKIES ~ BOOK TWO
UNDER MOONLIT SKIES ~ BOOK THREE