Cowman Mayer Halff rode a long, busy trail that few men could have followed. It carried him from 1850s France to Texas and across 1,500 miles of wild western country waiting to be tamed. Throughout his life, he was at ease whether dining with a U.S. President at a plush metropolitan banquet or squatting across a campfire from a dirt-streaked cowboy in some forsaken cow camp.rn rn Immigrating as a fourteen-year-old, Halff began as a foot peddler. He quickly built the largest dry goods business in the Southwest and by 1861 was pursuing his passion-cattle ranching. He founded several of Texas' famous ranches: the JM Ranch on the Pecos River, the Quien Sabe in the Midland region, the Circle Dot in the Big Bend, the Mallet on the South Plains, and the Schreiner and Halff in South Texas. He eventually controlled almost a million acres.rn rn Patrick Dearen, a Spur Award finalist and author of nine other books, carefully weaves Halff's story against the backdrop of the Texas cattle industry. The droughts, the drives, the drifts, the die-ups-they all bolt through these pages like stampeding cattle across a stormy plain.