Laura Miller and her father moved to Little Bend in March of 1863 and established the Miller Ranch in Tulare Meadow just outside of town. Shortly afterwards, she entered into a romantic relationship with ranch foreman Jim Hazlit.
On March 26, 1867, Jessie Hayden murdered Laura's father and left his body to be found on the open range, apparently thrown from his horse. Seeking vengeance, she sneaked into his house on the night of April 2 to kill him. While she was waiting for Hayden in his office, she saw his map on which he had platted out the Jessie Hayden Ranch, which included her ranch, the Maverick Ranch and other ranches and properties covering three counties over 5,000 square miles. She hid outside on the patio when Hayden entered his office, but could not bring herself to shoot him in the back and left, but was determined to stop him somehow.
In August of that year, Fort Adobe posted the price of $80,000 for 2,000 head of cattle to the first rancher to bring in a herd. Determined to be that rancher, she plotted to have Bret and Bart Maverick bushwhacked and robbed of all their money so they would be forced to work as trail bosses on her drive for ten per cent of the take.
About a week before reaching Fort Adobe, Bret Maverick discovered she had been behind the bushwhacking. After a confrontation, Bret agreed to stay on to the end of the drive for 25% of the take. That night, she learned that Hayden was driving his own cattle to Fort Adobe. The next day, Hayden tried to stampede the Miller herd but was killed by Hazlit in a gun battle between men from both drives.
With Hayden dead and his herd abandoned, Laura and Hazlit drove the Hayden herd back towards Little Bend. They were able to sell some of the herd off at Fort Sumner along the way, and returned to the Miller Ranch with the rest. The Mavericks, unable to return to Texas because of murder charges against them there, sold Laura the Maverick Ranch. With the money from the Miller drive, the acquisition of the Hayden herd and the Maverick Ranch, Laura was able to legally acquire the Hayden's land, making the Miller Ranch the largest in the region.
See: Trail West to Fury
01. Maverick, Trail West to Fury (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
02. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails
Portrayed by Aline Towne
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