Well, with quotes like these from John Behan and Billy Breakenridge, I have to take another look at all things pertaining to outlawry where the ranchers stood.
But the puzzle is; why, if these men knew all about the unlawful activities they are commenting about, why, Oh why, were they never arrested? If they were rustling cattle on such a grand scale, at some point it had to become impossible to ignore it. Even if, as many will say, the sheriff was in cahoots or friendly, how long could something of this magnitude be ignored and the public remain in ignorance?
Most cattle rustling worth the effort would have to be branded cattle in the southeast area. Ranchers on the frontier were not gutless! if they knew about this mass migration of their stock, they would pursue the matter individually or through the authorities. To say they were too scared to do anything about it is nonsense. These men did not live in the middle of Apache country and build ranches because they were little girls.
Butchers who bought and butchered cattle knew what an altered brand looked like. Altered brands would show a butcher the original stamp brand and the alteration. I find it hard to believe they would buy cattle (American cattle, as Mexican cattle were a waste of money) and not allow it to threaten their business eventually. From the quotes just presented, it appears that the activities of the ranchers was widely known, yet they were never pursued by the Federal Marshal? This was Grand Larceny and a Federal offence. With such knowledge, Virgil and Co. should have been out there hunting down these 'rascals' with a vengeance.
This was the responsibility of Virgil, yet he made no effort? He and his brothers claimed these men wanted to murder them. They didn't, apparently, shoot them down on Fremont because they were rustlers, no, but because they were wearing their guns on the way out of town!
I admit I am puzzled as nothing else Behan has said has indicated anything like this that I am aware of. Obviously, I have some serious tracking to do and if it turns out as many of you suppose, I will be apologizing to all. But I don't go down that easy and I have a lot of research to do. This is not making sense to me at all.
I have no use for the cowardly Earps and Holliday, but I will recognize outlawry against the McLowrys and Clantons and associates if it can be proved.