35. Cattle Drive
Mural Depiction

Moving cattle from one grazing area to another or moving cattle to market is an integral part of ranching. Our mural depicts this important aspect of cattle ranching.

Background Information


Archived Article from the Vail Voice, Vail, Arizona

By the mid 1880s most of Arizona’s cattle were shipped by rail.  However, in the fall of 1889 Southern Pacific increased their shipping rates into Southern California by about 25%. Arizona ranchers protested, but the SP refused to back down.  In 1890, Walter and Edward Vail decided to protest by boycotting the railroad by driving their cattle overland following the Southern Trail. It became the last major cattle drive in Arizona and one of the last in the country.

Edward Vail led the drive with Empire Ranch Foreman Tom Turner, a Chinese cook, and several ranch hands. The crew and 917 head of cattle, marked with the Empire Ranch heart brand, headed out on the Southern Trail towards California on January 29, 1890. They watered the cattle and camped that first night, then headed out across the harsh desert. They sometimes went two days with no water. Edward Vail later wrote, “We drove frequently at night as the days were warm on the desert. We hung a lantern on the tailboard of our wagon and our lead steers would follow it like soldiers.” 

For the complete article visit the Vail Voice to learn more about the Empire ranch cattle drive.

Mural Information

Artist:  Doug Quarles

Size:     14' x 111'

Completed: February 2018


   Cochise County Ranchers

   Numerous 'brand' sponsors

   Benson Winter Visitors

   Clear Coat by Sherwin Williams

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