My dear Lads, There are but few words of preface needed to a story
that is not historical. The principal part of the tale is laid
among the cow-boys of the Western States of America, a body
of men unrivalled in point of hardihood and devotion to work,
as well as in reckless courage and wild daring. Texas, which
twenty-five years ago was the great ranching state, is no longer
the home of the typical cow-boy, but he still exists and flourishes
in New Mexico and the northern States and Territories.
The picture I have given of their life can be relied upon, and
its adventures and dangers are in no degree coloured, as I have
taken them from the lips of a near relative of my own who
was for some years working as a cow-boy in New Mexico. He
was an actor in many of the scenes described, and so far from
my having heightened or embellished them, I may say that I
have given but a small proportion of the perilous adventures
through which he went, for had I given them in full it would, I
am sure, have seemed to you that the story was too improbable
to be true. In treating of cow-boy life, indeed, it may well be
said that truth is stranger than fiction. Yours sincerely, G. A. HENTY.
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