The Element Most Essential to Survival

“It was on the freighting trains that Slade developed a fierce hatred of hose thieves–a characteristic he shared with most frontiersmen. On the plains the element most essential to survival was not a man’s gun but his horse, for a man set afoot in a wilderness infested with hostile Indians was likely as good as dead. In the first makeshift miners’ courts, the theft of a horse was considered the most serious offense. ‘Horse stealing in those days was the greatest crime a man could commit,’ the frontiersman George Beatty recalled. ‘Murder didn’t amount to anything.'”