We’ve all dealt with them: the ultimate swindler. When a crotchety man stops by a puncher’s yard sale, his grumpy, haggling style helps him walk away with more than the items for sale on the table.
Cowboys young and old are on a tight budget, and a yard sale can be the perfect spot to find used tack, gear and sometimes a horse for sale.
On the other hand, the puncher holding the sale needs to make a few bucks, too. So when an old, disgruntled man stops to browse, that puncher better be on his toes to avoid being swindled.
Dickering is inevitable. “What size are the boots?” asks the old man, despite a clearly marked sign on the table. The list price doesn’t matter, ’cause he’s going to offer only half.
He picks up and examines a worn copy of Lonesome Dove as if it were the Declaration of Independence. “If you can’t finish this line I’m about to say, then I get it for a dollar. ‘It ain’t dying I’m talking about, Woodrow…’” That puncher better not hesitate in his answer, or he’s out a dollar and a good book.
Next, the man dangles a pair of Crockett spurs, priced at $25, but it’s clear he won’t settle for face value. “I’ll give you $10 all day, ol’ son,” he says, “so you might as well just give them to me.”
When the man sees what he calls a “jug-headed nag,” he quips “you ought to pay me to take that horse.” Fed up with the haggler wasting his time, the puncher finds a way to get rid of the old man—even if that means he winds up keeping his boots, spurs and book. It’s horse trading at its finest.