The trail outfit reached the railroad a day in advance of the beeves. Shipping orders were
sent to the station agent in advance, and on the arrival of the herd the two outfits made
short shift in classifying it for market and corralling the different grades of cattle.
Mr. Stoddard had been located at Trail City. Once the shipment was safely within the
corral, notice was wired the commission firm, affording time for reply before the
shipment would leave in the morning. An early call at the station was rewarded by receipt
of a wire from the west. "Read that," said the foreman, handing the telegram to Joel;
"wants all three of us to come into the city."
"Of course," commented Joel, returning the message. "It's clear enough. There's an
understanding between us. At the earliest convenience, after the delivery of the herd, we
were to meet and draw up the final papers. We'll all go in with this shipment."
"And send the outfits across country to Trail City?"
"Throw the remudas together and let them start the moment the cattle train leaves. We
can go back with Mr. Stoddard and meet the outfits at the new trail market."
"That's the ticket," said the trail boss. "I'm dead tired of riding horses and eating at a
wagon. Give me the plush cushions and let me put my little feet under a table once
The heavy cattle train was promised a special schedule. The outfits received their orders,
and at the usual hour in the morning, the shipment started to market. Weathered brown as
a saddle, Dell was walking on clouds, lending a hand to the shipper in charge, riding on
the engine, or hungering for the rare stories with which the trail foreman regaled the train
crew. The day passed like a brief hour, the train threading its way past corn fields,
country homes, and scorning to halt at the many straggling villages that dotted the route.
It was a red-letter day in the affairs of Wells Brothers. The present, their fifth shipment of
the year, a total of over nineteen hundred beeves, was en route to market. Another day,
and their operations in cattle, from a humble beginning to the present hour, could be
condensed into a simple statement. The brothers could barely wait the intervening hours,
and when the train reached the market and they had retired for the night, speculation ran
rife in planning the future. And amid all their dreams and air castles, in the shadowy
background stood two simple men whose names were never mentioned except in terms of
Among their many friends, Quince Forrest was Dell's hero. "They're all good fellows," he
admitted, "but Mr. Quince is a prince. He gave us our start in cattle. Our debt to him--
well, we can never pay it. And he never owned a hoof himself."