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In the north Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, even northern New Mexico during the eighteen-eighties, there were almost as many cattle rustlers as there were honest ranchers and towns people.

Most ranches were measured in square miles, not acres. The XIT was three million acres alone. So, a ranch only twenty miles square was considered small. Most were between twenty and a hundred square miles. Rustlers had little worry taking cattle from those far off pastures. Most times they could have those cattle hidden in some desolate canyon before they were even missed. Cowboys found out, follow a trail, you die.

After months of this, the XIT ramrod sent for Texas Rangers and U.S. Marshals. U.S. Marshal Shorty Thompson was sent in undercover as a down and out cowboy looking for a job. Until the right time no one, not even the XIT was to know his identity. Each honest man would find out in time.









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