“[Emigrants] had time to be married, to be born, or to die while they waited in camp for the grass to sprout upon the prairie. This was absolutely vital, for, until it was high enough to provide feed for the animals, only those horse and mule teams carrying grain dared to start the journey. . . .
Little as they liked the delay, it was sometimes a good thing. For, unless the emigrant was the provident type who had brought his own teams, he must get them from among the contumacious animals presented for his inspection at the markets of Independence; and in nine cases out of ten, both he and the newly acquired livestock were in for trouble.
Half-broken or, in many instances, totally wild steers and mules were calmly sold to men who might never in their lives have driven anything more dangerous than a buggy mare. . . .
John E. Brown wrote that, after he had found pairs that would not start a fight on sight, it was next to impossible to get four that would tolerate each other. In which case the leaders (having the advantage of position) kicked the wheelers clear out of the harness.”