A grand turn-of-the-century comic western, set in Texas, with dialogue to spare and way-out loud laughs. Goldenhearted L. R. Foyt, 55, sick to death of punching cows for somebody else, decides to rob a train carrying a payroll and buy himself a spread with a modest herd. ""I aim to bust loose and better myself. That's the kind of hairpin I am."" He and his addled sidekick Eli fall in with God-fearing Gideon Karnes and a New Orleans Cajun named Boudreaux. The four plan to stop the payroll train by running a herd of cattle onto the tracks. They finally get 43 diseased, lame, halt, listless beasts that have to be driven 150 miles to the tracks just outside Teague, Texas, and the ""traildrive"" is a series of disasters, including a killer plains tornado. The end is not what the reader expects but it entails some almost believable melodrama and the period comes alive charmingly with fanciful realism.