Cattle Drive Vacation: The Nelson Story Story

As it turns out, people have been taking cattle drive vacations for a long time. One of the most famous cattle drive vacationers was a man named Nelson Story. The Nelson Story story is one of opportunism, ambition, struggle, and wild success. We would hope that your cattle drive would be as much of a story as the story of Nelson Story, but his is an extra special adventure.

A Cattle Drive Vacation in 1866? It’s More Likely Than You Think

When Nelson Story arrived in Texas with $10,000 in his pocket, it must have come as quite a shock. Texas had been dragged down along with the rest of the country after the Civil War. In 1866, the first year after the conclusion of that harrowing conflict, cattle was cheap in Texas and Nelson Story was just cashing in on a gold fortune made in Alder Gulch, Montana. While working the Alder Gulch gold fields, Story realized that Montana might offer perfect winter grazing for Texas longhorns. With this in mind, he traveled to San Antonio with $30,000 worth of Gold.

The Cattle Drive Vacation That Wasn’t Supposed to Be

In those days, $10,000 would buy you as many as 3,000-head of prime Texas longhorn stock. The cattle market in the south was temporarily collapsing, and Story realized he could capitalize on this by buying cattle where it was relatively cheap to resell to the North where it was relatively expensive.  He also anticipated the recovery in beef prices that would occur between the end of the Civil War and the dawn of the 20th century. The problem was, no one had ever attempted to drive cattle over the newly-opened Bozeman trail. Story was not going to let that stop him.

Watch Out For The Natives!

During the winter of 1866, the United States Army attempted to shut down the Bozeman Trail due to fear of attacks by indigenous peoples. These indigenous peoples were none too pleased about the way the United States government and its bold and implacable citizens were encroaching on its ancestral lands. None the less, Nelson Story proceeded with his plans, evading both the United States Government and various native groups. Several people in Story’s party died during these maneuvers. Nonetheless, Nelson Story eventually made it to his destination: Livingston, Montana.

Cattle Drive Vacation Legacy

Nelson Story’s cattle drive vacation was among the better choices of a man who made many very good choices. In Livingston, Nelson Story was able to sell beef to hungry gold miners for ten times as much as he had purchased it for. His herd grew and flourished, forming the basis for Texas longhorn ranching that persists to this very day.

Nelson Story’s story reminds us that you never know just how much of an adventure a cattle drive vacation might be unless you try. Here at Dryhead Ranch, we are waiting to offer you a taste of Nelson Story’s amazing cattle drive vacation experience. Call us today to book your working ranch adventure today.

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