Old-Time Cattle Drives… Part 2 Herefords


The Hereford was brought onto American soil to fulfill a rancher’s dream.

During the 1800’s a Kentucky statesman introduce the Hereford to American farmers and ranchers. Developed on efficiency with an adaptable and hardy quality Herefords blossomed. My first thought when I hear the word Hereford is the bull named Vindicator in the Jimmy Stewart movie, The Rare Breed. Have any of you seen that Stewart film? If not it’s a must see.  I’m not sure why that bull in the movie is the first thing that pops into my mind, it’s like with those ink blotch flashcards. For some reason in my mind Jimmy Stewart and Vindicator are the characters that represent Herefords. (not entirely accurate I know).


In about half of the western movies about cattle drives, Texas women and fierce cowboys the American Hereford is the animal of choice portrayed (the other half used Longhorns). From Texas ranches to Kansas rail-lines the characters of those movies drove steers across country through fierce weather; overcoming cattle rustlers and warrior raids. Through it all there was the American Hereford standing true and strong in harsh conditions and scarce roughage. Although these great American westerns are not completely accurate portrayals of normal life and practices of ranchers during that time they sure hold a pretty good amount of historical accuracy. In those years the Hereford was forced to live on scarce forage and a fairly rough life.

However, the Hereford has evolved into a much more versatile breed. With distinct red and white markings the American Hereford began as a horned breed. However, around 1888 Warren Gammon found hornless (polled) Herefords at the Trans-Mississippi World’s Fair in Omaha, NE, according to the American Hereford Association.  Today the American Hereford Association recognizes both horned and polled Herefords eligible to be registered with the association. According to the AHA, today the Hereford breed prides itself on quality traits such as fertility, reproductive performance, feed efficiency, low maintenance (which makes since if you depend on western movies for your information) and adaptability and hardiness. Along with these qualities you can research the breed to discover the other qualities, in which the breed association prides itself, at the AHA website by clicking here.

Red River Cattle Drive


Thanks for reading folks! I hope you enjoyed the post. Let me know what other breeds you would be interested in reading about!

Love, K


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