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01. Maverick, Brasada Spur (1959), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

02. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails

03. Message of the President of the Unitied States to the Two Houses of Congress, at the Commencement of the First Session of the Thirty-Fourth Congress (1855), Beverley Tucker

Brasada Spur


Short-line railroad connecting Junction City with King City,[1] Kansas,[2] in 1872.[1]


Conceived by Roy Stafford in 1867 to establish rail access between the southernmost public lands in Kansas near the Chisholm Trail to the new rail head in Junction City. The route would cut 120 miles off the length of cattle drives coming up the Chisholm from Texas. The route was to head southeast some sixty miles from Junction City to Emporia, Kansas, paralleling the route of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad. Then, it was to swing west to meet and follow the well-established Santa Fe Trail to Fort Zarah, and then southeast again to loading pens built to receive the herds along the Fifth Standard Parallel,[2] the southernmost boundary of public lands available for settlement in Kansas at the time.[3]


With the help of investors and speculators in Kansas City, construction began in Junction City in August of 1867. By the time the first train arrived at Stafford's site on February 22, 1868, New York millionaire Cyrus King Morgan had platted his layout for King City and had begun construction of his Bella Union Hotel.[2]


That season, some 10,000 head of cattle were shipped from King City. Stafford's enterprise was promising, but his debts were high and he was facing heavy competition with Joseph G. McCoy's efforts further north in Abilene. At the same time, Morgan had partnered with Rufus Elgree and other New York railroad men, who were aggressively building their Great Western Line from Fort Scott, through King City, to Fort Dodge. The Great Western reached King City in December of 1870. With its New York and Boston backing, the Great Western was able to operate at a loss for its first two years, cutting deeply into Brasada Spur's profits and its stock became depressed.[2]


In September of 1872, Bart Maverick was tricked into gaining ownership of 5,000 shares of Brasada Spur stock, becoming liable for $40,000 of the railroad's debt. To compensate for his loss and in retribution for the subterfuge, Bart partnered with Stafford. Knowing the Great Western would operate at a loss to undercut Brasada Spur to drive them out of business, Bart and Stafford began buying and shipping cattle themselves on the Great Western, locking in contracts through the end of the shipping season at extremely deflated rates and turning a profit for Brasada Spur.[1]


By the time he discovered what was occurring, Elgree realized the only way to dissolve Great Western's binding shipping contracts was to remove Brasada Spur as a competitor. He instructed Horace Hogan to organize 200 men to commandeer a Brasada Spur train out of Junction City and systematically destroy key stations along its route. Bart and Stafford organized their own group of Brasada Spur men and local ranchers to travel up the route on another train to stop the Great Western's campaign. Halfway between Chaseville and Brasada Pass, the two were destroyed in a head-on collision. A melee broke out between the two factions resulting in many injuries, but no deaths. Afterwards, Bart and Stafford confronted Elgree with witnesses to his conspiracy and forced him to sign documents assuming liability for all damages to Brasada Spur property as well as punitive fees.[1]


The financial impact forced Great Western into bankruptcy and the Brasada Spur was able to recover for a short time. But the Panic of 1873 so depressed the local market that Brasada Spur was forced to sell out to other, more resilient railroads. By the 1874 cattle season, Brasada Spur had run its last shipment and the route was abandoned in favor of more direct and profitable routes across Kansas.[2]


See: Brasada Spur

A Brasada Spur train pulls out of the Chaseville station, 1872.[1]

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