...What the heck is the support for a statement like "massive criminal rustling?" We are talking about six mules!
...There is almost NO chance those guys had a government branding iron available. Here's why. Mules and horses in the military were branded on the left front shoulder with a US. It was small, not like cattle brands which need to be seen from far off. Three and a half or four inches high. The animals were also branded on the right rear flank with the regiment and company brand, for example, Company B, 4th regiment; so the brand would read as 4-B. The chances of any of them actually having one or both of those government issued small irons is nil. The amount of work involved in forging such a replica would never justify six mules. They were not worth that much. They would have to be stealing herds of them.
...The other problem is stamping right over an existing marker; it blurs the brand. Brands also do not get grown over by hair. That's why they are used and have been even by the Egyptians. So if there was a branding site as wily Wyatt claims, there should have been running irons, which could be used to change the US to a D8. But Wyatt claimed he ACTUALLY SAW THE branding iron. For six mules a blacksmith is going to spend hours forging those two irons to fit those changes? I don't think so! Not unless he is dealing with a very wealthy rancher.
...Also, it was not unusual for some army mules to have ear notches or their tails shaved in a certain way to indicate they were troublesome in some hitching positions. That's a lot to cover and a whole lot old Wyatt didn't know about as he spun his story!
I don't believe the mules were anywhere around there. They had probably been turned out to feed and had to be rounded up again. That is why Patterson told Hearst to wait a couple days for the return of the mules.
...bottom line; that is only Wyatt's first whopper in his testimony!
While it is probable that Wyatt didn't know the finer points of a massive criminal rustling operation like your heroes the Cowboys,nothing in Wyatt's testimony infers he didn't know a branding iron from... more
Turning back again... — Joyce A. Aros,Wed Aug 17 10:25
...just to keep me honest, the mule brands info came from Fort Huachuca years ago. Some nice people there did some research for me which was really worth-while. Just a clarification. Other than that... more
...for a full explanation of why your viewpoint has a few spots to be considered. If you don't have 'Vantage Point' I will type it out for you. Only a city boy like Wyatt would tell such a whopper to a... more