Kill the Steer to Prove the Point

judge-roy-bean-blogJudge Roy Bean, the “Law West of the Pecos,” had some colorful ways to hand out justice in Texas. Like the time someone was stealing cattle from the ‘Bar S’ ranch. Bean appointed himself a range detective and went out looking. Six days later he came back with 20-some head, all branded ’48’. A guy was tied-up behind the judge, squawking that these were his legal cows and the judge was crazy. The crowd almost agreed when the judge shot one of the cows dead. He then skinned back its hide and everyone could see the underside of the steer’s skin showed a blackish ‘S’ brand that had been covered over with a new burn to make it a ’48’ brand. Within a half hour, the rustler was hanged. Judge Bean died on March 16, 1903 after a bad mistake. He’d gone to San Antonio to watch a cockfight and apparently was so aroused by the blood sport, he went on an extended bender. They brought him back to his home in Langtry, almost comotose. At the end, he was so out of it, he didn’t recognize his son, Sam, who had ridden a horse to death to get to his dad’s bedside.

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