What Could Go Wrong? – A Trip Up the Cattle Trail with Regina Jennings


Karen here: We have a special guest with us today at Wildflower Junction. Regina Jennings is a debut novelist for Bethany House, and she’s written a fabulous western romance that  features a beautiful Mexican heroine and a handsome Texas rancher. They come from two different worlds, yet both carry secret heartaches that have dictated the paths their lives have taken. Paths that suddenly cross. (By the way – I read Sixty Acres and a Bride last week and loved it!) So without further ado . . . here’s Regina!

In my new release, Sixty Acres and a Bride, a heartsick rancher returning home from the cattle trail searches for the courage to reenter society. You’d think going to church socials and attending barn dances wouldn’t be that scary, but Weston would much rather tangle with the dangers of Old Chisholm’s trail.

Today, whether you’re in Central Texas or Oklahoma the name Chisholm is as common as windstorms, oil derricks and football stars. Seeing how the cattle trails were to 1870 ranchers what the personal computer was to Silicon Valley, it’s only natural that the name is applied to everything from churches to subdivisions. The Chisholm Trail was responsible for many fortunes—and misfortunes.

Walking cattle up a trail sounds simple enough—one cowboy for every 200 cattle or so, just moseying them northwards as they ate and sunned in the mild spring temperatures.

Of course, while the spring temperatures in Oklahoma and Texas might be mild, the weather is anything but. Thunderstorms can be a weekly occurrence capable of producing hailstones the size of grapefruits, not to mention tornadoes. The cowboys had to hide in a… um… actually shelter was scarce on the Chisholm Trail. While the flat prairie was ideal for driving cattle, it left cowboys as vulnerable as a spider in a frying pan when storms struck. And if you found a tree to huddle beneath, you risked dying of a lightning strike.

When lightning did strike there was a good chance you’d get yourself a stampede (or stompede as they sometimes called it). Herds of up to 3000 cattle could run from 5 to 10 miles, trampling each other to death and anything else that stood in their way. In good times, the trail bosses paid tolls for safe passage across Indian Territory, but some stampedes were purposely started by opportunists looking to steal a few head of cattle or horses in the confusion.

Another peril our stalwart drovers faced was river crossings. Once the cattle sidestepped any quicksand they could swim across, but a branch floating downstream was all it took to turn the high-strung longhorns. Soon the herd would be swimming in circles—called milling—growing weaker and weaker until they were swept downstream or drowned. Halting a milling herd was extremely dangerous as the cowboy and his horse could easily get pulled under by the thrashing cattle before they could lead them to the riverbank.

So why risk life and limb? Because those cattle that were stripping their pastures and trampling their gardens were worth $40 a piece at the railhead in Kansas. In Texas they’d only bring $4 a head. That 700 mile trail was all that stood between a man and his fortune. Naturally the common cowboy’s pay wasn’t that good, but he had dreams of someday driving his own herd to market.

Unless a wealthy rancher like Weston wanted to make himself scarce, he most likely would’ve hired those hapless cowboys, but our protagonist needed space and there’s plenty of space available on the trail. Fortunately for all involved, Weston couldn’t hide forever. There’s a surprise waiting at home in the lovely form of a senorita who is in desperate need of a hero.

How about y’all? Do you have any stories of animals behaving badly?

Leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win a copy of Sixty Acres and a Bride.

Sixty Acres and a Bride

She’s Finally Found a Place to Call Home . . .
How Far Will She Go to Save It?

With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to their Texas family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have just three months to pay.

Though facing eviction, Rosa falls in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. They welcome her vivacious spirit and try to help her navigate puzzling American customs. She can’t help but stand out, though, and her beauty captures attention. Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, Rosa must decide to what lengths she will go to save her future.

+ posts

34 thoughts on “What Could Go Wrong? – A Trip Up the Cattle Trail with Regina Jennings”

  1. Your book sounds very interesting. I shall be looking forward to reading it.

    We were caught in a buffalo stampede several years ago. Was very interesting. We were vacationing in Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. We rose early to follow the then gravel road called the game trail. This was the area where the scenes from Dances with Wolves were filmed. As we sat glassing the area for game we felt and heard a rumble. Around a bend came the buffalo herd at a run. We could feel the power as they parted and ran on either side of our car and out of sight around the next bend. We found out later that they had been frightened by a hot air balloon.

  2. Welcome to the P&P Regina and its nice to meet you. Love meeting new authors and congrats on your debut release.YOur post was very interesting I had never heard of milling before, stampedes yes but not milling guess you do learn something new every day. Your books sound like a fabulous read and I would love to read it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wow, Connie. What an experience! I might be calling to hear your first-hand account of a stampede if I need one for a future book. Great stuff.

    Quilt Lady – Thank you for the welcome. It’s my privilege to be here.

  4. Hi Regina!

    SIXTY ACRES AND A BRIDE sounds like a great read. I’ve put it on my TBR list.

    Not sure if this is animals behaving badly or my friend and I behaving badly. But in college a friend and I used to travel between Montana and Wyoming during vacations straight through cattle country. One trip, when it was my turn to drive, I made some comment about the only thing we needed was to be stuck in a cattle drive. Two seconds later we were dying of hysterical laughter stuck in the middle of hundreds of bovine, my little red GEO not providing a whole lot of protection. After a time, nice cowboy cut a path for us and led us out of our first cattle drive.

  5. I love western romances (and Regina).

    I can’t help but to share my short story. A few years ago my husband and I spent a week on a working cattle ranch. We helped do their roundup, riding horseback. My husband has pictures of two bulls fighting. They weren’t being cooperative. I learned how to cut cows and calves apart. It was exciting. I have always loved all things horses, so this flows right in with that.

  6. Welcome Regina and congratulations on your book. It sounds great and what a pretty cover! I’m always happy to add a new author to my list. Looking forward to reading Sixty Acres and A Bride.

  7. I lived in Utah for 3 months when in college and remember driving across the Plains.. just flat as far as the eye can see… I always admired the people who went west of the Mississippi and faced the unknown.. Your cover is wonderful and the plot sounds more than just interesting.. bringing two such different lives together..

  8. I am surprised at all the first hand stories this morning. What amazing experiences you ladies have had! Connie, you must be one of a very few people in the world who knows what a buffalo stampede feels and sounds like. Not sure if I should feel jealous or not!
    Regina, great post! Congratulations on your book. I’m heading over to Amazon to look for it now. Beautiful cover, original storyline, and Rosa sounds like a wonderful heroine! (Inspirational historicals are my drug of choice!)
    Hope you come back to visit again.

  9. Thanks for the great post,I went on a Wagon Train with my Dad in the late 50’s,,still remember some of it,it was so much fun,,would love to go again an take my grandsons ,,we went from TN to NC,,,

  10. Some book clubs do cruises. It sounds like P&P could do a followers cattle drive with all the experience you ladies have!

    Kristen – I’m sure meeting a nice cowboy made the whole experience worth it.

    Angie – Good luck on the drawing. Today may be your lucky day.

    Hey, Ginger. Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to do the cattle ranch thing. How fun!

    Lori, Cate & Judy – I agree on the cover. They do beautiful work.

    Vickie – The wagon trail sounds fun. That’s something people of all ages would enjoy.

  11. So glad to have you here at the Junction, Regina. Loved your book, and I’m having such fun reading all these firsthand accounts of cattle drives.

    Kristen, your story was a hoot. I can just picture that little red car surrounded by all those brown and black beeves. Hysterical!

  12. Hi Regina. Your book sounds great. I like the cover. I have always been fascinated by the cattle drives. Those guys had to be tough to work that job.

  13. I don’t know much about real cattle drives, only the one’s I’ve read about. Mary Connealy’s book “The Husband Tree” has a fun description of one. I loved “Sixty Acres and a Bride” I read it this week. Now my mom is reading it and I told my sister and several others about it. I am looking forward to the sequel.

  14. Hey Regina, welcome to Wildflower Junction today! I was born and raised in Oklahoma and the town I was born in, Duncan, has a Chisholm Trail museum there. Also, there’s a little town called Yukon a few miles west of where I live here in OKC and they have a Chisholm Trail Festival every year–the Chisholm Trail actually passed through their city and it’s marked. Lots of people from all over come and ride horses or even bring wagons and ride up the Chisholm Trail for a day or two. My gr gr gr grandfather was a cowboy who rode the Chisholm Trail but he was married, so he only hired on as an extra hand for about 20 miles on either side of the Red River. That way, he didn’t ever have to be gone for too long.

    I love you cover, and the premise of your book sounds wonderful, so I’ll be getting this one for sure.
    Cheryl P.

  15. Regina, welcome to P&P. It’s wonderful to have you. I enjoy reading about cattle drives and have all the respect in the world for those men (and a few women) who went on them. But I certainly wouldn’t have wanted the experience for myself. They were dangerous and required too much hard work.

    Congratulations on the release of your new book. I love that title and the cover is gorgeous. The woman looks like she could step off the cover. Wishing you lots of success!

  16. Regina congrats on your debut! Your book sounds wonderful and has a very beautiful cover! 😀 Thanks for sharing with us today!

  17. Thanks for having me, Karen.

    Crystal – My dad works at the OKC Stockyards and it’s still a messy, dangerous job.

    Emilee – I’m glad you liked it! And thanks for visiting my fan page on FB. It’s nice to meet you.

    Candice, Lavinia – Good luck in the drawing today. You might just win a copy.

    Cheryl – The town where I’ve lived more years than I’ll admit is Yukon’s main rival. The Chisholm runs on the west side of town here, too. Thanks for stopping in, it’s nice to hear from a neighbor.

    Linda & Colleen – Thank you. I appreciate the chance to visit P&P.

  18. Hey Regina! You must be in Mustang! We lived there for many years before we moved to OKC. Yes, it’s very nice to know we are so nearby! We’ll have to go grab Starbucks sometime.

  19. I love how much history I learn related to fiction. Book cover is stunning (love the colors) and Rosa and Weston’s story sounds exactly like the kind I’d love to read.

    Best wishes!

  20. Goldie – Thanks for stopping in. I love watching those shows with my grandpa.

    Joanna – It’s amazing the vocabulary you pick up reading historical fiction. Sometimes I need a timeline to keep the history straight, but it sure broadens my horizons.

  21. Wow, the cover for Sixty Acres and a Bride is stunning. I’ve learned quite a bit on ranching and cattles. A stampede sounds dangerous and I would not want to be the one herding them back. On another note, I hope the hero who is searching for space finds room in his heart for love 🙂

  22. I love, love, love your book cover, it is absolutely gorgeous! I also enjoyed reading your book excerpt and look forward to reading about Rosa and Weston. Congratulations on this debut book and may you write many more. I also liked your post and didn’t know anything about cattle milling until today.
    Have a great weekend!

  23. Congratulations and best wishes on your wonderful release. This era and the strength and determination that was required fascinates me.

  24. I have never read any of your books but this looks like something I would enjoy reading. I do like Mary Connealy’s western books. I am adding your name to the list of author’s to keep an eye on.

  25. Sharon – Thank you for all your encouragement. It’s fun meeting people who love books as much as I do.

    Ellie – We have big shoes to fill, don’t we?

    Donna – This is my first book, but I have at least two more on the way.

  26. I hope I didn’t miss the contest.Oh well if so I still love finding amazing new authors to check out. 😉

  27. This book sounds great!
    Animals behaving badly?
    One time when we were staying at a cottage for the weekend a bear attacked (and did damage to) the barbeque and deck.

Comments are closed.