saw her heartbreak and disappointment as she looked down and walked away.
But seeing her in such pain made Nat jump out of the wagon he had been
hiding in, and he took her in his arms and kissed her in front of all his
workmates. Soon they were engaged to be married, and Nat decided
that come fall, he would settle down in Mexico City with his sweetheart.
Alas this love story did not end well, as she became ill and died in the
spring on that year. Nat dealt with the loss the only way he could,
by being wild and reckless, putting himself in harm's way any chance he'd
get. Eventually, his wounds had healed, and Nat was able to focus on
end of his cowboy days, Nat Love married another woman in Denver,
Colorado. Little is said in the book about Nat Love's second wife,
which he refers to as his second Love, except that she said she wasn't in
the least bit jealous about the first Mrs. Love.
During the great Buffalo hunts
that took place during the 1870s, both the cowboys and Indians contributed
to the near annihilation of the species. Nat Love himself had carved
126 notches on his rifle stock. Even then, there were concerns
raised over the massacre of a species. Nat Love himself commented on
this, saying "Where once they roamed by the thousands now rises the
chimney and the spire, while across their once peaceful path now thunders
the iron horse..."
While we could go on about the
moral issues brought up while reading Mr. Love's exploits, we must
remember that late 19th century America was a different place with
different concerns, and that survival was still a primary concern of many;
it was not a time of reflection, but a time for action. The Gold Rush had
ended, the Civil War was over, railways were still under construction,
and cities were only beginning to grow.
We must also remember that Nat
Love was first and foremost, a working man. While we imagine cowboys
as being lone riders who answer to no one, the fact is being a cowboy back
then was no different than being any blue collar worker today. As
the iron horse made its way through the land, the need for riders and
cattle drivers diminished. In one earlier story, Nat Love recalls
roping a passing locomotive's smokestack in a foolish daredevil stunt.
Ironically, this event would later prove to a been an omen, as Nat Love
would give up his life as a cowboy to work for the railroad industry.
In 1890, Nat Love accepted a
job in the Pullman service on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, but he
soon realized his glory days were over. The former cowboy had a hard
time adjusting to a life of service. On his first trip, after making
numerous mistakes and not getting much money from tips, Nat quit his job
in order to be his own boss, selling fruit, vegetables, honey and chickens
from a covered wagon. Again, this proved a futile pursuit, as he
realized the adventurer in him still had some mileage left, and that
normal life did not hold much excitement. Eventually, Nat gave up
trying to find exciting work and decided to give the Pullman service