Wartime Wednesday: Johnson County War
By 1884, the entire area was monopolized by about twenty ranches whose cattle roamed freely. Roundups were held in the spring, at which time cows and calves were separated by owner and the calves branded. However, rustlers were known to steal the calves and brand them before they could be rounded up. Some of these rustlers were small ranchers who made off with the calves as a way to growth their herd. The rest of the rustlers were common thieves out to make a buck, however, the cattlemen began to blame the homesteaders for any missing animals.
The summer of 1886 saw no rain and was followed by a winter of severe blizzards. Thousands of cattle died, and many were lost to wolves and rustlers. Additionally, prices plunged, causing a huge loss of profit for the cattlemen, some of whom lost their businesses. In an effort to curb the thefts, the barons increased the number of range detectives and drew up new rules that made it difficult for someone to register a new brand. In 1889, the situation came to a head when two homesteaders, Ella Watson, AKA Cattle Kate, and Jim Averell were accused of cattle rustling and hanged. (The charges later proved false.)
In response the cattlemen pulled together their own group of armed men, including Frank Canton, a fugitive who had a career as a deputy US marshal under an assumed name and was said to operate more by assassination than law. The invaders (as they came to be known) stopped at the first homestead, but found only four men at the ranch cabin, the owner Nate Champion and his cowboy Rueben “Nick” Ray who were shot and killed, and two trappers passing through who were captured. The next stop was the TA Ranch where the posse laid siege. The standoff continued through the night. The next day, Jack Flagg, a neighbor and suspected rustler, escaped and headed to Buffalo where he contacted the Wyoming governor.
Here is an interesting documentary about the incident: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9oH59dgGtI
About Dinah's Dilemma
Dinah Simpkins has no chance of making a good marriage. Her outlaw brothers and her father’s gambling addiction have ruined the family’s reputation. Then the Westward Home and Hearts Matrimonial Agency provides an opportunity for a fresh start. After Dinah arrives in Nebraska, she discovers her brothers played a part in the death of her prospective groom’s first wife.
As a former Pinkerton detective Nathan Childs knows when someone is lying. The bride sent by the matrimonial agency may be beautiful, but she’s definitely hiding something, and he has no intention of marrying her until he uncovers the truth. But an easier solution may be to send her packing. Then his young daughter goes missing. He and Dinah must put aside their mutual hurt and mistrust to find her.
Purchase link: https://amzn.to/3quggwT