“You can’t never go wrong cuttin’ fence,” Smith would say. “Especially sheep fence.” (Clunk!) “But cow fence too. Any fence.”
“Who invented barbed wire anyhow?” Hayduke asked. (Plunk!)
“It was a man named J. F. Glidden done it; took out his patent back in 1874.”
An immediate success, that barbwire. Now the antelope die by the thousands, the bighorn sheep perish by the hundreds every winter from Alberta down to Arizona, because fencing cuts off their escape from blizzard and drought. And coyotes too, and golden eagles, and peasant soldiers on the coils of concertina wire, victims of the same fat evil the wide world over, hung dead on the barbed and tetanous steel.
“You can’t never go wrong cuttin’ fence,” repeated Smith, warming to the task. (Pling!) “Always cut fence. That’s the law west of the hundredth meridian. East of that don’t matter none. Back there it’s all lost anyhow. But west, cut fence.” (Plang!)