Does this sound familiar? It should. It's the basic plot for the Lonesome Dove book and television series.
However, the plot is based on the true story of ex-Texas Ranger Charles Goodnight and cattleman Oliver Loving. Imagine Robert Duval (Gus) in the role of Charles Goodnight, and Tommy Lee Jones (Call) in the role of Oliver Loving, and we have a wonderful True Texas Tale.
Charles Goodnight was born in 1836 in Illinois, and at age nine moved with his family to Texas.
By age twenty, Goodnight had settled near the Brazos River in Palo Pinto County
(my own birth place).
At age 21, he joined the Texas Rangers and his unit was attached to the Confederacy's Frontier Regiment. They spent the war protecting settlers along the Brazos River.
At age 30, when the Civil War ended, Goodnight came home to find his herds scattered. Cattle rustling had gone unchecked and feral herds were claimed by whoever could get a brand on the livestock first.
|GOODNIGHT-LOVING TRAIL (on left)|
Goodnight told his biographer many years later about the gentleman's agreement.
When Goodnight asked Loving to go with him, Oliver Loving said, "If you will let me, I will go with you."
Goodnight replied, "I will not only let you, but it is the most desirable thing of my life. I not only need your assistance, but I need your advice."
Despite challenging mishaps and loss of hundreds of head of cattle, Goodnight and Loving reached Fort Sumner with enough to earn an unheard of sale of $12,000 in gold.
A side note: Charles Goodnight invented the chuck wagon,
for use on his first cattle drive to Fort Sumner.
Also, pause and remember that Charles Goodnight traveled 600 miles with Oliver Loving's body in a coffin made of flattened tin cans, encased in charcoal and sealed in lumber. Loving is buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
~*~ Goodnight married Molly Dyer at age 34.
~*~He smoked 50 cigars a day, but switched to a pipe as he aged.
~*~Molly died, and years later, at age 91, he married 26-yr-old Corrine Goodnight, whose last name was a coincidence.
~*~He joined a church and was baptized a few months before his death.
~*~ He was a cattleman, a newspaperman, a banker, a miner, and a film maker (one).
~*~Charles Goodnight died December 12, 1929 at the age of 93.
~*~He is buried in the Goodnight Cemetery just east of Amarillo.
~*~ A biographer said "he approached greatness more nearly than any other cowman in history."
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas