The time is 1883, the place is the Texas Panhandle. Cowboys refuse to be stigmatized as drinkers and exploited by the wealthy cattle owners who don't pay liveable wages. Those very same ranchers want to take away the cowboys' right to own cattle because this ownership, the ranchers believe, would lead to thieving. So, in 1883, the dictum is set: If you're a cowboy, you can't own a cow. When rumors of such legislation travel from wagon to wagon, the cowboys decided to rally and fight for their rights--they gather together and strike.
When big syndicates moved into the Texas Panhandle, they fenced in the open range and replaced tradition and trust with written rules of employment until the cowboys had finally had enough. The cowboys of the Canadian River country went on strike against the big ranches. Listed as one of the Best Western Novels of all time.