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Texas Longhorn Cattle, 1897

Silent | 1897


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  •  Longhorns being herded, heading towards the camera 
  •   Men encouraging the cattle to move 
 
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This short film clip of Texas Longhorn cattle being herded through a corral, credited to Thomas Edison in 1897, is among some of the earliest motion picture imagery in the world.

The Texas longhorn, with its characteristic upturned horns, is a hybrid breed of Spanish crillo and English cattle. In the second half of the 18th century, longhorns flourished in Mexico and border states, becoming an integral and much romanticized part of Texas cowboy culture. However, by 1927 the longhorn was nearly extinct as a result of interbreeding, lowered demand, and disease. They were saved from extinction by members of the U.S. Forest Service, who examined thousands of cattle in Mexico and South Texas. Over the next several years, with financial backing from Texans J. Frank Dobie and Sid Richardson, teams rounded up small herds for preservation in an Oklahoma refuge, as well as Texas state parks. Today, the official Texas state longhorn herd is held at Fort Griffin State Historic Site under the Texas Historical Commission.