The Hog Drive to Daggett


A totally unrelated photo of Leslie Kirchner riding his pig reminds me of the legend of the Daggett Pig Drive.

There were too many pigs, and it would have been too expensive to have them hauled to market, yet the little girl’s family needed the money to live in a hotel in Long Beach or someplace like that. The decision was made to drive the hogs to the railroad depot in Daggett as an old-fashioned cattle drive to Abilene. Betty was excited.

There were hogs and pigs as far as the eye could see, being guided by drovers experienced not with driving pigs but with small cattle. One-eyed Ben, the old man, said, “Driving pigs is just like driving tiny cows, except they don’t have horns, which is good because pigs are angry.” The hogs snorted, grunted, and squealed as they hurried down the dusty road. The trick, however, was to keep them from running and losing all their weight.

Little Betty cried when her father told her pigs were classified into ‘lard’ or ‘bacon.’ That meant the dreams of her two favorite pigs, Willis and Tina, wouldn’t be getting a pig wedding and then having a pig family together. Their future looked dark. “Lard or bacon?” thought Betty.

“Cheer up, Betty,” her father told her. “Have a stick of gum.”

And she did, and she stopped crying and went to live in a hotel in or near Long Beach.

The End

Fiction inspired by a true event as described in “Daggett, Life in a Mojave Frontier Town,” by Dix Van Dyke – Edited by Peter Wild.