The Hashknife Outfit Essay Research Paper Section

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The Hashknife Outfit Essay, Research Paper Section 1: Introduction When the Aztec Cattle Company ("The Hashknife Outfit") first got to northeast Arizona, they found knee-high grass as far as they could see. They moved cattle from Texas to Arizona and just kept bringing in more and more. They ran those cattle on about 2 million acres of land between Flagstaff and New Mexico. The cattle grazed the grass off and the drought that had already started kept more grass from growing in. There was already very little water, so the cattle started dying off by the thousands. Country that used to look like an ocean of grass turned into a dried out, wind blasted desert. During this same time, the railroads were being put in across the country and cattle were starting to be

shipped on trains. (This meant higher transportation costs when cattle prices were starting to go down.) Some of the worst parts of Arizona’s history was caused by the Hashknife Outfit and its cutthroat hired help. Mormon settlers were harassed, robbed, and run out of the country. Cattle were stolen from the settlers and other ranches. But the worst problems from the Hashknife cowboys was had by the sheepmen and the towns people. Towns like Holbrook were the scenes of killing, drinking, whoring, and troublemaking. The sheepmen were harassed, their sheep killed, and sometimes got themselves killed. Section 2: The Search The Hashknife Outfit pioneered large-scale cattle ranching in Arizona; but their overgrazing scarred the land, drought and hard winters killed the cattle, and

their criminal behavior made its mark on Arizona’s history. The "Hashknife brand resembled a cooking utensil used by chuckwagon cooks to chop up meat and potatoes for hash. The brand was owned by the Aztec Land and Cattle Company and was used to brand thousands of cattle. Many cattle ranches came to be known by their brands instead of by their company names because it was easier for people to remember–that’s why the Aztec Land and Cattle Company was called the "Hashknife Outfit".(my mom–Arizona family verbal tradition) "The Hashknife Outfit was established in northern Arizona in 1884. A shareholder in the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad persuaded a group of Eastern investors to purchase a million acres of grazing land offered for sale by the railroad.

The new ranch, called the ‘Aztec Land and Cattle Company’, brought in 33,000 head of Texas Longhorn Cattle, a large remuda (herd of saddle broke horses) of horses, and the Hashknife brand" (Hughes xi). When the stockholders of the Aztec Land and Cattle Company were first meeting to form the company, cattle prices were already headed downward. Many people in the cattle business already felt that most grazing ranges were overstocked. During this same time, the railroads were making their way across the country, and cattle were beginning to be shipped by train. This meant faster transportation of the cattle, but was very expensive, (it also meant the cattle reached the feedyards in much poorer condition), and cattle prices were getting weaker. The investors in the Aztec

Land and Cattle Company didn’t realize that their investment in cattle ranching was on shaky ground before they ever started. They just went on ahead and bought alternating sections (the railroad owned every other section in Arizona) of land clear across northern Arizona from the New Mexico border to Flagstaff (Carlock n.p.; & family verbal tradition). When the Hashknife Outfit first got to Arizona, they found knee-high grass as clear across the Colorado Plateau as far as they could see. It’s impossible to believe that now, but back then it was like a prairie. They brought in more and more and more cattle until they had about 2 million head. The cattle grazed the grass off and the drought that had already started kept the grass from ever growing back (Trimble 15). By 1892