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The Goodnight-Loving Trail
Spanning more than 2,000 miles from
trail was first blazed by Charles
Goodnight and Oliver Loving in 1866.
The trail runs from Young County,
southwest to Horsehead Crossing on the Pecos River, then northwards to
ends in Cheyenne,
The trail was first used when
Goodnight, a former
Scout met pioneer cowboy, Oliver Loving
sometime after the
At this time, the cattle markets were inadequate for the available cattle
and the two wanted to capitalize on the need for cattle at
where some 8,000
had been settled on a reservation.
The drive would be a dangerous one, traveling across hostile
country, but the pair, with their combined skills, were dedicated and
in June, 1866, they set out with some 2,000 head of cattle and 18
riders to blaze what would become known as the Goodnight-Loving Trail.
The Goodnight-Loving Trail, was one of
cattle trails in the American West.
This image available for
photographic prints and downloads
Frontier on June 6, 1866, with 2,000 head of mixed cattle and 18 armed
men to blaze a trail that went down into history as the
Goodnight-Loving Trail. Upon reaching
Sumner, they sold beef
to the army for $12,000 in gold. Loving continued to drive the rest of
the herd to Denver, while
Goodnight returned to
Texas for a
second herd. The profitable venture led to more drives, including a
partnership with John Chisum.
However, in the summer of 1867, when
Oliver Loving went ahead of the herd to negotiate contracts, taking only one
trusted scout with him, he was attacked by
Comanches and seriously
wounded. Though he was able to reach
New Mexico, he later
died of his wounds on September 25, 1867.
Goodnight continued the drive to
Colorado, but later returned for Loving’s body and returned it to
where he was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Weatherford.
the spring of 1868 Goodnight
entered into a contract with John Wesley Iliff in which he agreed to
deliver his cattle to to the Union Pacific Railroad town of Cheyenne,
Goodnight traveled the trail a
couple of times, straightening out the route along the way.
then settled down on his
Ranch, but cattle drivers throughout
continued to utilize the trail that he and loving had blazed.
of America, January,
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