Joe N. Brown
Joe N. Brown

We need to get some background before introducing this real story. So in late 1947 we moved to the family Pecos County Ranch. This ranch was at the lower end of Pecos County and joined Brewster County on the west side. We were actually 16 miles west of Sanderson and about two miles south of Longfellow.

A little more about the location. In the west pasture was a canyon we named Santos Canyon. This strip of land was between two rimrock divides and about two miles long. Also clear on both sides but about 100 yards of thick brush from the ranch house up to the neighbors fence.

Now we have the time and the location so lets get to characters. For the actual story there were only two. Myself as an 18-year-old who was breaking young horses in the west pasture that summer. The only other in this tale was as ancient Hereford steer branded M.

While riding the colts I would see cow tracks of a very large bovine which I took to be bull tracks. I reported this find to the boss and was told don’t worry as it is probably a stray traveling.

Later on one afternoon while riding a young colt that weighed about 800 lbs and was only hackamore broke, I met this huge Hereford steer coming to water. I decided to pen the steer in the water lot but he had other ideas about going back into the brush. I ran in front of the steer and I estimated he weighed about 1,600 lbs. He never gave an inch just bowled me and my horse over and escaped back to the brush. At this point I noticed he was branded M on shoulder which read my.

The next day I checked with the widow woman who ranched west of us in Brewster County. After I had describe the steer by ear marks and brand. She told me they had not used that brand or ear mark for over 16 years. So with one question we settled the age and ownership of the outlaw.
Then plans were made to gather the animal. We would mount riders on the outside edges and put hands to walk through the big thicket and flush the outlaw out. Wrong!

We put this plan into action the next day. We had two horsemen ready to rope and eight men afoot at the east end. Everything went smoothly until the far end when our steer broke out to run up a short small header-canyon. The two ropers charged after him for about a quarter-mile. Here he fell to the ground rolled over and died.

The widow woman drove up in her pickup and declared the old outlaw was hers and dead, so we would butcher him on site. After tools arrived, we butchered the steer into quarters and hauled it into town to the butcher shop.

So ended this tale of the Santos Canyon Steer who the owners had not even missed!