The fabulous XIT Ranch has been celebrated in song, story, and serious history. This book of reminiscences of old XIT cowmen puts on record the everyday life of the individuals who made the ranch run. Their forthright, yet picturesque, discussion of ranching hardships and dangers dissipates Hollywood and TV glamorizing. They relate in honest cowboy language what actually happened inside the XIT's 6,000 miles of fence.
Cordia Sloan Duke, wife of an XIT division manager, Robert L. Duke, many years ago realized that only those who had experienced ranch life could depict it with deep understanding. As the young wife of a rising young ranch hand, she kept in her apron pocket a notebook and pencil, recording all manner of interesting details as they caught her attention. This diary was the nucleus for the present book. Conceiving of an account of life on the XIT as presented by XIT cowboys, Mrs. Duke set about drawing from reticent, sometimes reluctant, ranch hands the impressions of the XIT (occasionally written down by their more literate wives or daughters) which they had retained through the years. Cordia Sloan Duke and Joe B. Frantz have organized the reminiscences around key aspects of ranch life, retaining the language of the cow hands.
"Joe Frantz, one of Texas' most able writers, has taken the diary of Mrs. Cordia Sloan Duke, widow of XIT's division manager, plus the terse and pithy reminiscences she collected from former XIT cowboys, and turned them into a unique, readable and realistic account of the cowboy's way of life."
New York Times Book Review
"This book, with all the merit of being an organized and beautifully presented story, is more than a social history; it is source material, resting on the firm bedrock of first-hand accounts. Hence, while it joins in many libraries and collections several shelves of other cowboy books, it will always be on the top shelf with a select few that have made real contributions to the history of the American West. As a man should be measured by his own standards, and an event in terms of its own time, a book should be evaluated in relation to its purpose. By this standard, as well as by comparison with other books in its library classification, 6,000 Miles of Fence is a success.""
Sonthwestern Historical Quarterly