Freighting in Mud

“Road, properly speaking, there was none, only a track some quarter of a mile wide, made by successive trains. It was usually easy enough going over the prairie, especially as there was a bitter frost [in the fall], and the ground was hard frozen. But every now and then a deep creek would have to be crossed, with a muddy bottom, and the whole lot of wagons must be hauled through, one by one, with perhaps three or four teams to each.

The long line of cattle would be yoked on, and stretched to right or left (“haw” or “gee,” it was called), nearly at right angles to the wagon; the drivers with their whips then swung the cattle over to left or right, as the case might be, and the wagon was bound to come out by the sheer weight of the teams, unless, as sometimes happened, the tongue drew out of the body.”