"When the author of this book, J. Evetts Haley, was a boy just learning the cattle business on a Texas Panhandle ranch, the stories he heard about Charles Goodnight were as much a part of the land as the trails the Goodnight herds had cut through its scanty grass. Fifteen years later Haley crossed the Goodnight ranch house yard "to face the flow of tobacco juice and profanity" - the beginning of a decade of interviews, travel, and research which resulted in this book.
Charles Goodnight rode bareback from Illinois to Texas when he was nine years of age. He was hunting with the Caddo Indians beyond the frontier at thirteen, launching into the cattle business at twenty, guiding Texas Rangers at twenty-four, blazing cattle trails nearly two thousand miles beyond the range country in the interests of order. At sixty he was regarded as possibly the greatest scientific breeder of range cattle in the West, and at ninety he was an international authority on the range industry.
Goodnight knew the West of Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Dick Wooton, St. Vrain, and Lucien Maxwell. He ranged a country as vast as Bridger ranged. He rode with the boldness of Fremont, guided by the craft of Carson. His vigorous zest for life enabled him to live intensely and amply, and in this book Haley, himself no stranger to the West, provides a fully readable and important western biography, vividly told, thrilling, witty, and completely authentic."