The Fugitives

The Fugitives


I love the cowboy’s way to turn a common word or phrase into western lore. “Remnants” is one of these words.

On most ranches there is a spring and fall round-up. The time when the cattle are gathered up or brought in off the range to count, doctor, see if they’ve calved, castrate, de-horn or to ship off to market for beef. After the round-up, cattle were let loose to run wild for another six months. Occasionally, there were a few wiley ones in the bunch who figured out the system as well as places to hide. Every spring and fall they’d see men on horses coming and hightail it out of sight. After a few years they became known as “Remnants”. Smart, cagey and quick as deer these fugitives earned the right to be caught by savvy cowmen, “Remnant Hunters”.

It’s October and perched on an outcropping of rocks are two outlaws honed in on the last vestiges of dust kicked up by a herd being pushed down to the valley. It’s a good bet they won’t see hide nor hair of a rope for another six months. They still don’t feel safe. It’s that instinctual “unsafe feeling” that’s kept them out here and free for a few years. They’re not “Moss Backs” yet, but well on their way.


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