Thanks to the show Yellowstone, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of the Old West lifestyle in Texas. For some, they just want to dress the part, jeans, boots, button up shirt. For others, they want to add some animals to their land like goats, chickens and maybe a cow or two. For others in Texas, however, ranching has been a part of their life for generations. It's a not only a way of life, but their income, too. That's why theft is still a big deal.

Theft in the Old West

There was a time when theft was punished almost on the spot. It could be as simple as getting thrown into the town jail for a few days for a small theft to as harsh as being shot on the spot for a huge theft. A huge theft could be a person's horse to stealing multiple cattle from someone. That's why branding was so important in that time. It was the only way to identify whose cattle was whose.

We will hear on the news from time to time of someone's cattle being stolen. When we hear that, we think that's more an Old West thing then something that would happen in 2024. No, cattle theft is still a thing and is actually becoming a crime that's happening more often.

Punishment for Cattle Theft

In Texas, cattle theft is a felony. If the total value is below $100,000, it is a third degree felony. The punishment can be 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. If the value goes above $100,000 but less than $200,000, it is a second degree felony with a punishment of 2 to 20 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Anything above a total value of $200,000 is a first degree felony with a punishment of 5 years to 99 years, or life, and/or a $10,000 fine.

In the days of the Old West, you only wish it could've been a felony. You would be hanged for stealing someone else's cattle.

Clay County Cattle Theft

Earlier this month, JW Cattle Company reported 40 cows and a bull were stolen from their property. The Clay County Sheriff's Office is investigating the theft of the Black Baldies and Black Angus cows valued at around $100,000. No suspects have been identified yet but a witness does place a tan truck with a cattle trailer at one of the ranch's gates in the time frame of the robbery (

You can report any information into the theft at 940-538-5611 or at

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