My Forty Years Scribblin's
Interviews
Racing Blood

A short piece written in 1961 or ‘62 and published in Montana’s Little Legends (1963). Allen’s father, Sam Chaffin, experiences his first horse sale.


The fame of Bitterroot horses is a legend of Western Montana. Marcus Daly brought fine stock from England to improve the herds of many of the valley ranchers, for Daly racing stock was among the fastest and most enduring in the world.

Samuel R. Chaffin, who once rode for the Daly ranch, told of one horse which was shipped to California to be raced. It seems the horse stampeded and ran for seven miles before being brought back to win the race!

Sam's first horse was given to him by his father when he was but a boy. A peddler, making his rounds, offered a twenty-dollar gold piece for the colt. Sam hesitated. He had seen many horses, but he had never seen so much money all at one time. He weakened and sold his colt.

The animal was named John S. after Sam's father. After being trained, this twenty-dollar horse went out into the world to win large sums of money and a reputation. His owners returned to ask after the horse's pedigree. He had none. He was only a product of the range.