Doug Brown & Shelly Hampton

Doug Brown was seventeen years old when cattle rustlers burned their small Wyoming farm, killing his father and stealing every head of cattle he and his father had gathered in five days. Doug rode in with a small herd his father had sent him after.  He saw the devastation and found his father lying face down in front of the half burnt barn. His body was riddled with several bullets, most in his back.

He searched the dying embers of the barn and found a shovel with the handle still smoldering. The metal was still too hot to hold, so he grabbed his gloves and took the shovel to the horse trough and dropped it in. Though it was getting dark, he walked a hundred yards away from the house to the top of a low knoll, kneeling down beside a small headstone.

“Mama, I know daddy is up there with you now, and as you can see I’m all alone. Most of the house is not nearly burned down, but the porch and barn will have to be rebuilt. The kitchen an’ most of the living room still looks alright. I guess I can live in those un-burnt rooms until I can rebuild. Mama, daddy was doing a right good job raising me, teaching me how to work and do right from wrong. Those cattle we were to sell, but I’ve still got a good many more. I’ll round um up later when I get done with what I gotta do.

“I don’t know if God allows, but I’m gonna need you and daddy watching after me, as I have a lot to do. I will never forget the faces of those men, or the horses they rode. They will not get away with doing what they did to dad. I will track them to the ends of this earth.”

He dug a shallow grave three feet to the right of his Mother. Getting the wheel borrow, he lifted his father in that and took him to the open grave. After covering the body, he stood in silence for several minutes. “Dad, I’ll fix you a stone as soon as I get back and have more time. Come morning I have to go see if I can catch up me a pack mare. If I can, I’ll ride the far pastures and see how many cattle are left. Then I have myself some tracking to do.”