atm-logoHow many trail drivers were needed on a cattle drive?

Mike Minihan
Wylie, Texas

A trail herd usually required a crew of 10 to 15 men—or about one man per 250 beeves. The trail boss rode point, seeking water or mapping the route. The cook was up front too. Behind them were two lead riders, followed by two flankers. The horse wrangler rode off to the side. Bringing up the rear, eating dust, were the drag riders, usually the worst cowhands or the new guys.


Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone.
If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at



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