John Boston | McD’s, Cow Rustlin’ and the Upside to Re-Electing Gascón

John Boston

Hard to believe, but up until the late 1970s, we had two sheriff’s deputies here in Santa Clarita who worked — full-time and then some — on the livestock rustling beat. Prior to 1965, most of the crimes investigated on their detail were for cattle thievery. As the Santa Clarita Valley became more yuppie-fied, cow thefts grew rarer and horses became rustlers’ favorite targets. 

Sadly, it’s been decades since stealing a horse was a lynching offense. I’ve dear friends who’d would sit in the bleachers with beer, chaw and pizza to watch that event, cheer and giggle. Sure beats watching hockey. 

Names of the lawmen? Not making this up — sheriff’s sergeants Bill Bacon and Ben Cook. Foof. A day’s shift must’ve seemed like a month, just walking across the Valencia Sheriff’s World Corporate HQ. 

Bacon and Cook worked about three fresh cases a week, ranging from pilfering a $5 mount bound for a dog food factory to kidnapping a six-figure thoroughbred. When the detail was formed in 1910, it was called the Horse Theft Detail and, again, this was not far from a time here and elsewhere in Los Angeles County where pony liberators were hanged on the spot. In later years, up until the 1980s, many riders would ink their driver’s license number on saddles or horses or tattoo those numbers on the lips of their mounts. Local deputies not even assigned to the H.T.D. would pull over a suspicious vehicle and the even more suspicious driver with hands covered in fresh blood. In the backs of trucks or even in the trunks of those behemoth cars some of us used to drive would be a freshly quartered steer. A couple times? Deputies found living foals just tied up in an enormous car trunk with room left over for a dinette set. 

Before our hills were littered with Taco Bell-styled condos, the cattle population was around 20,000 here a half-century back. In one grisly episode in 1973, cattle rustlers butchered a steer — right off the brand-new Interstate 5 — leaving the carcass to rot close to the truck lane.  

Victim of that crime was Newhall Ranch. That would be the Things Cow arm of The Newhall Land & Farming Co. then, not the housing project for America’s new and psychologically complicated generation. Rustlers carved up the creature’s hindquarters, where the choice cuts like T-bone, loins and filet strips reside. 

It got so bad, rifle-toting cowboys started night-riding duty in the SCV’s back canyons — and this was in the mid-1970s! These predations were blamed on the high cost of beef. 

Which leads me to today’s topic of interest for all — cheeseburgers. 

I add the, “for all” because if I mention the word, “cheeseburger” in front of a vegan and they make one of those faces, I’m going to punch them in the nose which I venture a guess might be of some interest to them. 

Just a few days ago, in our sister city of Darien, Connecticut, a Big Mac meal was selling for $18. Add tax and you’re out a 20-spot. To be fair, the Darien McDonald’s was at a truck rest stop on our sister freeway, I-95, and way out of orbit of the normal U.S. and SClarita Valley Big Mac Meal price range of $11. Heck. We should stick out our chests in pride because here with our riparian borders, our cheeseburgers are more expensive than in Egypt. Or, as our daft Mr. Magoo president, Joe Biden (D), likes to call it, “Mexico.” Big Mac Meal near the Sphinx? It’s just chump change of $4.12. 

I remember being a kid when McDonald’s was brand-new. There was a franchise on Devonshire in the San Fernando Valley and it was a 5-mile bicycle ride, one way, from our home then in Chatsworth. Hamburgers were just 15 cents in the mid-1950s and I remember how dumb I felt for pedaling all that way and just taking 15 cents with me. There is absolutely nothing worse than being a kid, enjoying a tasty, greasy burger, then having to wash it down with drinking fountain water. Those original patties, by the way, were close to a quarter-pound. 

My mom would sometimes drive over. The two of us could both get dinner for spare change. We lived it up. For 4 cents more, you could get cheese on your burger. All drinks were a dime, shakes o Lordy made with real ice cream were just 20 cents. Reading was a relatively brand-new discipline for me and to this day I remember straining my neck, staring at the menu above, wondering how the heck they could sell a burger for three nickels and fries a dime.   

I hate to point this out, but if we elect another Democrat to any office including dog catcher, life is going to get mighty Western real quick. I’ve always considered myself a Law & Order First individual. But with us surrendering to the Death Cult of the Democratic Party, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to afford the $20 cheeseburger, or $25, or $50 and so on and so on. 

Locally? We might have to revive the ancient cowboy custom of cattle rustling. I mean, with George Gascón (D) as DA, kidnapping and butchering a frail cow under $950 will not get you any rope time nor a half-hearted, “No-no-no-no-no!” from the county gendarmes. 

Besides. We can grind up the hooves and bones for fertilizer to grow potatoes (later, french fries) and use the hides to build affordable housing. 

The Coca-Cola and ice cubes? We’re just going to have to steal … 

Santa Clarita’s John Boston has 119 major writing awards (at last count, unless someone in the newsroom rustled some). He is a firm believer of hanging for most livestock offenses, legal and moral. Visit his bookstore at and buy — not steal — an entire herd of his prose. Read them. Give them as gifts. Put them in your shoes to make you appear taller. After you purchase them, they’re yours to do with as you please …

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