Longhorn Leader by Linda Hubalek

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I’ve been researching for my next book, Tina Tracks a Trail Boss, book eight in my Brides with Grit series, and needed more information about the cattle breed which traveled from Texas to Kansas
along the Chisholm Trail.The Longhorns by J Frank Dobie (1)

A friend loaned me his 1941 copy of The Longhorns by J. Frank Dobie, and I found it to be a fascina
ting read.

Besides details of the actual animal and the trails they took back in the 1800s, there are stories, which made the book really enjoyable to me. One of my favorite chapters is about a lead steer named “Old Blue”. Born in Texas in 1870, he walked his first trail at three years of age to New Mexico.

The next year Charlie Goodnight bought Old Blue, who was in a group of five thousand head driven to Pueblo, Colorado. Goodnight realized the steer’s potential and the longhorn wasn’t sold, but stayed with the home herd on the Goodnight Ranch.

In 1876, Goodnight decided to move back to Texas and Old Blue lead the herd. Over the next eight years, Old Blue kept leading herds, sometimes twice a year, to Dodge City. When the drive was over, he’d travel back to Texas with the horse remuda and drivers.

Old Blue was always be the pointer animal, and the herd learned to follow the sound of his bell. Attached to the bell was a little strap to tie up the clapper so it would stay quiet at night. Old Blue would let a cowboy tie up the clapper at night, and release it in the morning when the herd was ready to move.

The longhorn became a pet, walking right up to the camp to eat bread, apples, or whatever the cook would give him. He preferred to bed down with the horses instead of the herd. The steer faced storms, Indian raids and buffalo stampedes, and lived to be twenty years old.

This is the kind of research which makes interesting background for the writer’s imagination, and for the reader. So, be sure to look for the lead longhorn steer in my next book, because he’ll be leading the herd to Ellsworth, Kansas in 1873.

Here’s the Brides with Grit series so far.

Brides with Grit 8

Please note: Rania Ropes a Rancher is free right now on Amazon, B&N, Kobo and iTunes, so be sure to add it to your e-reader.

Today I’ll give a Kindle ebook copy of the seventh book, Darcie Desires a Drover to a lucky winner.

Here’s the story line for Darcie Desires a Drover, book seven.

A historical romance set in 1873. Darcie Robbins fled St. Louis to protect her two children from their bad father. Now divorced, she’s temporarily working on the Bar E Ranch in central Kansas. She needs a permanent job—or a trustworthy husband—to help provide for her family.

Reuben Shepard went home to his family in New York after the Civil War, to find his wife had declared him dead—so she could wed another. In shock, Reuben didn’t contest her claim and wandered south, spending years as a cattle drover on western trails until settling down to work on the Bar E Ranch.

Spending time with Darcie’s toddler, Tate, makes Reuben miss his own son, Gabe. Reuben travels to New York, hoping to visit his son, and ends up bringing Gabe back to the Kansas because the boy’s step-father had just died.

When Reuben proposes marriage to Darcie for their children’s sake, the couple falls in love as they learn to trust and support each other while planning for their future. But their wedding is stalled when Reuben’s former wife arrives, stating she and Reuben are still married.

What’s the truth and what’s best for the children is their concern now instead of a wedding date. How can they clear the past so they can have a future together?

To get the chance to win Darcie Desires a Drover, please comment on…If you could travel with a cattle drive back in 1873, what would be your favorite, and least favorite thing about the trip?

longhorn herd

About the Author

Linda writes historical fiction and sweet western romance books aboutLindaHubalek_TheBridalCrown_800 pioneer women who homesteaded in Kansas between 1854 to the early 1900s, often using her Swedish immigrant ancestors in the storyline.

Sign up for her newsletter at www.LindaHubalek.com.to hear about the release of future books, contests and more. In return, you’ll get her free Brides with Grit short story, The Bridal Crown. Linda loves to connect with her readers, so please contact her through one of these social media sites.

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19 Comments

  1. I think I would enjoy seeing the scenery along the trip. I love this post. I have a huge love for longhorn. We haven’t done it in a while, but I used to enjoy taking drives in the country and have stopped to take a lot of pictures on the longhorn we see during our outting. There are some fairly close to our house too and I always like seeing them out in their pasture.

  2. Welcome to the corral, Linda!

    According to Texas lore, Old Blue was quite the character. Thanks for giving everyone a peek at his story. 🙂

    If I were on a cattle drive, my favorite thing probably would be reaching the end of the trail and taking a bath. Driving cattle was hard, dirty work. My least favorite definitely would be riding drag. That job, the dirtiest of all, typically was performed by the low drover(s) on the totem pole and cowboys the trail boss wanted to punish.

    Thanks for stopping in. I wish you much success with your new book. 🙂

  3. My favorite thing would have been making it to our desired location and the least favorite thing would have been facing the hardships we might have faced. Love your post! Thank you!

  4. If I was going on a cattle drive, I think my most favorite part would be sleeping under the stars and seeing the country. My least favorite part would either be the smell or the hard work from the long days drive.

  5. Hi Janine,
    You’re lucky to have longhorns nearby to see. Enjoy them for all of us today!

  6. Thanks for the welcome Kathleen. I can imagine how dirty and smelly a person would be at the end of the day, let alone the end of the drive. No wonder bath houses did so well in the cow towns.

  7. Hi Melanie, Accidents would be a constant worry with so many head of cattle, horses, weather and terrain. Of course young men might not have thought of it, but the older I get the more I’m aware of accidents, because I’ve seen plenty working with livestock myself.

  8. Hi Cissie, Yes, can you imagine the scenery you’d see up close traveling hundreds of miles through three states? Awesome!

  9. I do not think I would care for the long hours and the chances of something going wrong and someone getting hurt… but if it was a nice short ride that was accident free I could see myself enjoying the adventure…

  10. Colleen, It would be working 24/7 for two months, outside in all kinds of weather. But what an adventure if all went well.

  11. Loving this post! I don’t think that I have read any of your books but I love reading new to me authors so am on my way to Amazon!

    I am a traveler and I love seeing new places but I have a feeling mostly what I would be seeing is the tail end of a steer going north!

    1. Thanks for the note, Connie. I’d appreciate you looking at my Brides with Grit series. Book 1 is free on all major sites, so download it on your Kindle, Nook, etc and “get on the trail”!

  12. my favorite would be the horses,my least favorite would be all the dirt and unable to have clean bathrooms along the way

  13. Vickie,
    No bathrooms, porta-potties or privacy along the trail, but I suppose you’d get used to it. I’d be wearing leather gloves all the time to keep my hands protected and halfway clean.

  14. I think all the dust in the air would be the most annoying. I certainly would not want to ride drag. It would be nice to see the landscape and enjoy the trip. Unfortunately, the steers and work involved would lessen the enjoyability.
    Thanks for the story about Old Blue. Funny how such a large animal can be such a big baby – if it suits their purpose.
    Brides With Grit is a good name for your series. It certainly took grit and more for so many of these women to pack up and take a chance on a new future out West.

  15. When I was a child we traveled the country–the West was my favorite. We actually saw some longhorns along the way. Needless to say it was a looooooooooong time ago. I wouldn’t want to get too close to those horns. The worst part would be the grit in my teeth!

  16. Hi Linda……Thanks for visiting. We love having you. I’m sorry I didn’t get over here yesterday. I love your subject. I had never heard that about Old Blue. An amazing tidbit to add to a story sometime.

    Wishing you tons of success!

  17. Yes, dust in your eyes and dirt in your mouth would sum up riding drag, then add a hard north wind…miserable. And you could be stuck with that all day…or week. No wonder they washed up in a creek or river when there was a chance, even though that water wouldn’t be clean either. Boy are we spoiled now!

  18. Hi Linda,
    Old Blue’s story was amazing because of the thousands of miles he would have walked and he lived to be so old. I’m sure there were other leaders with similar stories, including one in my next book. 🙂
    Thanks for stopping by.

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