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Bedding the Herd

Bedding the Herd

Frank Reaugh, Bedding the Herd (24 Hours #3), 1930, drawing : pastel on masonite, 61.2 x 121.4 x 0.5 cm.

“It is the end of a long hot day. Up from the canyon and beaten trail, on ground as level and smooth as may be, the tired cattle are brought to rest. Held loosely, they soon begin to lie down, singly and in little groups at first, then more and more until a few men can hold them while the others ride away to where a thin column of smoke marks the location of cook, chuck wagon and the night’s camp. Here are coffee, sow-belly and lick, and a stack of hot bread mounts high to sink again as the hungry men come in. Near by the night horses are picketed, and the men, having eaten, get out their bed rolls, for their night’s sleep will be broken by time on guard. . . . Now in the dim light a solitary bull remains standing; his broad head illumined a moment by the dying light of the west. The distant camp grows quiet. An owl hoots in the canyon and is answered by his mate. The great bull looks about him leisurely. Then he to sinks to rest. The herd is bedded.”

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