Texas has been home to many of the greatest cattleman legends, and this weekend, Charles Goodnight, one of the most famous, is receiving a memorial cross on his grave from the Former Texas Rangers Association.
Before his death in 1929 at the age of 93, Goodnight made a name for himself as a cattleman and a pioneer in Texas by herding feral Texas Longhorn cattle to the railroads. He became renowned as a rancher and earned the title of the “father of the Texas Panhandle.”
Goodnight’s fame extends beyond his death. In the 1980s, author Larry McMurtry published “Lonesome Dove,” a story about two retired Texas Rangers on an adventure through the Plains. McMurtry originally wrote the novel as a screenplay, but after John Wayne turned down the lead role, McMurtry adapted the story into a book. In 1985, the novel received a Pulitzer Prize and later was adapted into a television mini-series.
Goodnight rides on as McMurtry’s character Woodrow F. Call. Call is known for being quiet and hardworking, and several details from Goodnight’s life resurface in Call’s narrative. In the TV series, his character is played by Tommy Lee Jones.
Goodnight’s grave, located 40 miles outside Amarillo, Texas, will receive the special memorial cross marker this weekend to honor and celebrate his accomplishments in Texas, both as a cattleman and a Texas Ranger.