When I sat down to write A Narrow Road, Kansas Crossroads #8, I realized I hadn't yet written about a cowboy. That seemed rather shortsighted of me - I'm writing Western romance, but I hadn't written about a cowboy yet? I decided to remedy that by making the main male character a cowboy, and I sent him off on a cattle drive.
My first idea was to have the cattle shipped into San Francisco, as much livestock was at the time. But a quick chat with my mentor, Kirsten Osbourne, helped me realize that driving the cattle up from Texas would be a much better choice. She pointed me to some articles, one of which was about the Chisholm Trail.
|Courtesy of http://states.phillipmartin.info|
This trail was pretty tough. There were rivers to cross, hills and mountains, and gorges, but it was the most direct way to get the animals from the stockyards in Texas up to the stockyards in Kansas, where they would then be shipped all over the country. One of the most expensive parts of the journey was paying the dime-a-head toll to the Indians for the right to pass through Oklahoma without harassment, as it was still Indian territory at the time the Chisholm Trail was in use. Despite this tax, the cattlemen still made a profit, as the cattle would sell for three times their purchase price elsewhere.
|Courtesy of www.redriverhistorian.com|
If the cattle stampeded, that could mean the loss of some of the herd, which was costly, so the cowboys stood guard, ready to guide the animals and calm them if they became upset.
When at last the cowboys reached their destination, they'd often turn right around and look for their next cattle-driving job. They loved being out of doors and appreciated nature in all its beauty. Because of them and the cattle drives, we have cows all over the nation today.
If you'd like to learn more about A Narrow Road and read about Wade's cattle drive, you can pick up a copy here.
Amelia C. Adams is the author of the Kansas Crossroads series and also of the Nurses of New York series, as well as two volumes in the acclaimed American Mail-Order Brides series. You can learn more about her by visiting her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter.
By clicking this link, you can download a copy of her first Kansas Crossroads novel free!