The Chrisholm Trail
AN EX-SLAVE GUNFIGHTER HELPS HIS POOR GAMBLING PARTNER MAKE A NEW STAKE ON THE 'OL CHRISHOLM TRAIL
Jessy Chrisholm, a Cherokee merchant, and Black Beaver, a Lenape guide, used an old Native American trail to help cowboys drive cattle up from Texas to the Kansas City railhead (train stop). The payoff was too good to be true: in 1866 Texas cattle prices were $4 a head, send them by train North and East and you get $40 a head. It's estimated that 5,000,000 head of cattle were driven up the trail to feed a growing America.
I wrote The Chisholm Trail to put young readers in the saddle - what was it really like to be a "tenderfoot" on the two month journey up the trail? Thought it would be fun to have our narrator get cleaned out (again) by an ex-slave gunfighter named Diamond Bill. All said and done, Bill feels sorry for his friend and sends him out to try his luck on the 'Ol Chrisholm Trail. It was a fun story to write, and it's nice to know how to stop a stampede if lightning strikes stir up the herd...