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Between 1866 and 1886 20 million cattle were herded from Texas to markets over trails that in some instances were over 1,000 miles long. A crew of at least 10 cowboys was needed, with 3-5 horses per cowboy, to drive the herd. And in the early days of the cattle drives, before the trails were established, Outriders were those cowboys always in front of the herd leading the way.

The Amon Carter museum in Fort Worth, TX houses one of the most extensive collections of Western American art, sculpture and documents from the 19th century in the US. One of these documents is an actual job advertisement for Outriders for a trail drive from San Angelo, TX into Mexico over the Chihuahua trail.

Outriders Job Description

Level of Experience: Very High. Most honored post on the drive. These cowboys will determine the direction of the drive.


  • Leadership
  • Ability to work in a group with others toward a common goal
  • Competence
  • Cooperative
  • Cool-headed
  • Resolute
  • Quick thinker
  • Previous experience with trail drives


  • Responsibility for direction of the drive while on trail.
  • Sets the pace for the drive.
  • Involves finding water, grass, and good trail for cattle.
  • Can track different animals across the range; knows the range well.
  • Keeps peace between cowboys.
  • Keeps horses and cowboys fed.


  • (1890s) $90/month

Sounds a lot like what we do at OutriderZ (except for the pay). The Outriders of the mid-19th century were critical to a successful trail drive. Like the Outriders of old, the OutriderZ of our firm are trusted advisors who make sure our clients understand what all is involved in getting from San Angelo to Mexico, or perhaps more appropriate in getting from an initial sales visit to a purchase order.