THE MEN OF LEGEND SERIES – BOOK 1
NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Linda Broday releases the first book in THE MEN OF LEGEND series. Some Legends are made and some are born!
The state of Texas has 268,597 square miles so it’s no wonder we have huge ranches to match the size. Some are simply too enormous to comprehend. So I had no trouble setting a big ranch here for my latest Men of Legend series. I wanted it as big and bold as the father and sons who own it, so Texas certainly filled the bill. (It’s rumored that the state produces people with big personalities.) Strictly rumor of course. I’m laughing here.
My fictional Lone Star Ranch is a little on the puny side at 480,000 acres. I modeled it to some degree after the Waggoner Ranch which was 510,000 acres in 1954. When it sold in 2016, it had grown even larger. The Waggoner Ranch also fit the location of mine in North Texas, not far from the Red River.
The largest ranch in the world in 1880 was the XIT Ranch (stands for Ten in Texas) at a whopping three million acres and covered practically all of West Texas and the Panhandle. To put this in perspective, that’s roughly 4,687 square miles. Just think how long it would take to ride over it by horseback. All that land was owned by a syndicate of English investors. It was simply too large for words.
The mighty King Ranch down at the far end of the state was and still is one of the largest ranches in the world. It has well over a million acres. It was established in 1854 by partners Richard King and Gideon Lewis.
North Texas certainly has a lion’s share of ranch land. That’s mostly because the rugged, rocky, dry landscape is fit for little else. The Matador Land and Cattle Company (purchased by Scottish investors) is another large one at a million and half acres in the beginning. It has shrunk now but still going strong.
The 6666 Ranch is an interesting one that keeps on thriving. Captain Samuel Burk Burnett bought 350,000 acres in 1868 and started raising cattle. Rumors have swirled for decades that he named it this unusual name because he won it in a poker game with a hand of four sixes. Descendants swear that’s not true. It’s still a huge ranch at 275,000 acres. I always love driving past it and looking at the large herds of horses. Their buildings are always pristine and they even have an airstrip. It’s pretty.
Okay, back to my Lone Star Ranch. The patriarch, Stoker Legend, acquired roughly 1200 acres as payment for fighting in the Texas War for Independence. Everyone scoffed and said he had little chance of making the ranch thrive what with Indians, outlaws, drought, and the fact the land was extremely inhospitable. He paid them no mind and carved out the mighty ranch that serves as a legacy for his sons—Sam, Houston, and Luke.
Book #1 of this Men of Legend series is TO LOVE A TEXAS RANGER. Sam Legend joined the Texas Rangers as soon as he could because ranching just doesn’t interest him in the least little bit. He has restless feet and is driven with a burning need to see what’s over the next hill. Sam runs across a desperate woman named Sierra Hunt who has been dragged from pillar to post all her life. She dreams of permanence—a little white house with a picket fence around it, flowers in front and a garden in back where she can put down deep roots. She’s not going to settle for anything less…not even for Sam.
There are lots of twists and turns in this story as they seek to find common ground and protect the fragile love that forms as they run from a ruthless band of outlaws.
Think the old TV western series Bonanza. This Legend family is every bit as big and bold as the Cartwrights. I’ve enjoying writing this so much.
There are still one million acre (and larger) ranches today across the United States. What do you think the biggest challenge would be to owning such a huge amount of land?
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