Wild Cards in BRASADA SPUR



In trying to saddle Bart Maverick with 5,000 shares of Brasada Spur capital stock carrying a liability of $40,000 to its creditors, Adam Sheppley backed his poker hand with it, stating that "any of these gentlemen would be glad to offer $5,000 for it."[1] If Bart believed that was true, why didn't he simply have Sheppley sell the stock to one of the other players at the table and play for the cash instead? Perhaps Bart's guard was down. After all, he had been very aggressive in getting invited to the game in the first place. Maybe he thought it best to show faith in his fellow players and take them all at their word.[2]



The Brasada Spur was apparently named for its line crossing through Brasada Country, as depicted on the railroad map in the depot's office.[1] However, the Brasada — Spanish for "brush country" was, and is, in southern Texas.[3] When riding with Bart Maverick in the countryside near King City, Belle Morgan compared the local scenery by saying, "You can see farther in Texas, Colonel Maverick, but you can't see as much."[1] So this Brasada Country cannot be the same as that in the Lone Star State. The term Brasada has been used for ranches, saloons and other proper names outside of Texas, but not for an entire region.


As southern Kansas was opening up to settlement in the years following the Civil War, perhaps the Spanish word brasada carried a poetic sound that Roy Stafford and investors in his railroad felt had a marketable quality, and they used the term freely in their sales materials in romanticizing the vast prairie grasslands of Kansas.[2]



When Roy Stafford and Bart Maverick visited Hanley's ranch, they would meet him along a barbed wire fence.[1] In 1872, Kansas was still an open cattle range,[4] and no rancher would have strung barbed wire. Not only that, but barbed wire had not even been marketed in the West until November of 1874, and even then was reviled by most ranchers across the West for its extreme danger to herding cattle.[5]

Perhaps Hanley was an innovator, ahead of his time, and had taken safety precautions to protect his and others' cattle from roaming near his fence.



From all other context in the story, "Brasada Spur" only makes sense as being set in Kansas, a flat region of grass-covered prairie lands.[2] Yet, the country between King City and Junction City is depicted as rocky and mountainous, so much so that at one point along the Brasada Spur route, the tracks must pass through a tunnel.[1] Either the geography of teleplay is fanciful, or the railroad's physical route must be vastly different than that depicted on Roy Stafford's office wall.[2]



When Greenbrier folded his poker hand playing against Rufus Elgree in a game the night of the Brasada Spur trainwreck, he stated, "You know, Elgree. If I had your luck, I'd own this territory." But is established earlier in the story that this on-going poker game was the "biggest poker game in the state."[1] So, what territory was Greenbrier referring to? In southern 1872 Kansas, the closest was Indian Territory, but perhaps Greenbrier was only speaking colloquially.[2] Besides, Elgree's luck was about to change.[1]



Even after the ordeal of the Brasada Spur train wreck, Bart Maverick still pursued Belle Morgan's company. Before leaving King City, he encouraged her once again to accompany him to New Orleans, asking if she had ever been there during Mardi Gras. Since it was only September of 1872 and Mardi Gras would be until the following February, Bart must have been very serious about their relationship.[1]

Adam Sheppley offers 5,000 shares of Brasada Spur stock to Bart Maverick to cover his hand in a poker game.[1]

A Brasada Spur locomotive travels through mountainous country in the Kansas prairies.[1]

With Rufus Elgree's luck, Greenbrier could own the territory.[1]

Bart Maverick invites Belle Morgan to New Orleans for Mardi Gras five months ahead.[1]

Roy Stafford negotiates a shipping deal with Hanley over a barbed wire fence.[1]

Roy Stafford shows Bart Maverick a map of the Brasada Spur route across Brasada Country.[1]

Some things in "Brasada Spur" are wild as the wind in Oregon, such as:


01. Maverick, Brasada Spur (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

02. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails

03. Dictionary of the American West (February 1993); Win Blevins; Facts on File

04. History of the State of Kansas (1883; William G. Cutler; A. T. Andreas, Chicago, Illinois

05. The Wire that Fenced the West (December 1965); Henry D. and Frances T. McCallum; Univeristy of Oklahoma Press

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