|In the American West, cattle rustling was a killing offense and the cattle brand a rancher's inviolable mark of ownership. Today, as for 4,000 years, mankind has used branding to mark private property. Branding iron art, historically and across many cultures, has featured common symbols such as moon and star, pitchfork or heart, letters or digits, with bars or slashes to render them lazy, flying, or rocking.
Cattleman Leonard Stiles, during his career with the legendary Texas King Ranch, collected over 1,000 branding irons. These clever, rustic, and artistic "iron signatures" appear as detailed drawings in Cattle Brands with fascinating stories of how they were designed—and why, the ranches and historic cattle drives with which they were associated, and how rustlers attempted to alter their appearance. Still today, brands are a primary method of law enforcement, and the saga concludes with a look at how brands carry on an ageless tradition in the computer era.
Illustrated with historic and contemporary cattle branding photographs and an encyclopedic guide to the brands.
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