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Sole Survivors of ‘Longhorn' Herds End March from Mexico

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Silent | c.1932

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  •  Longhorns in corral 
  •  The cattle are run through a pesticide "dip" to eradicate cattle fever ticks, endemic in Mexico and Texas at the time 
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Universal Newsreel footage of cowboys herding a somewhat gaunt herd of Longhorn cattle through the border town of Eagle Pass. The cowboys round up the cattle, run them through a pesticide dip, and finally drive them through the streets of town.

The Texas longhorn, with its characteristic upturned horns, is a hybrid breed of Spanish criollo and English cattle. In the second half of the 19th century, longhorns flourished in Mexico and border states, becoming an integral and much romanticized part of Texas cowboy culture. However, by 1927 the longhorn was nearly extinct as a result of interbreeding, lowered demand, and disease. They were saved from extinction by members of the U.S. Forest Service, who examined thousands of cattle in Mexico and South Texas. Over the next several years, with financial backing from Texans J. Frank Dobie and Sid Richardson, teams rounded up small herds for preservation in an Oklahoma refuge, as well as Texas state parks. Today, the official Texas state longhorn herd is held at Fort Griffin State Historic Site under the Texas Historical Commission.