Page 178. " hollering like a banshee "

The Banshee, from the Irish bean sídhe ("woman of the síde" or "woman of the fairy mounds"), is a female spirit in Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the Otherworld.  She can take on a variety of guises. Most often she appears as an ugly, frightening hag, but she can also be a stunningly beautiful woman of any age, or a washer-woman seen washing the blood-stained clothes or armour of those who are about to die.

Her mourning call is heard, usually at night, when someone is about to die. It is variously described as piercing enough to shatter glass, or low, pleasant singing, or a thin, screeching sound. In 1437, King James I of Scotland was approached by an Irish seer or banshee who foretold his murder at the instigation of the Earl of Atholl.

The banshee may also appear in animal form as a Hooded Crow, stoat, hare or weasel - animals associated in Ireland with witchcraft.

Page 179. " hanging on to James Cagney "

James Francis Cagney, Jr. (17 July 1899 – 30 March 1986) was an American film actor, best remembered for playing "tough guys". In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him eighth among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time.


For his first performing role, he danced dressed as a woman in the chorus line of the 1919 revue Every Sailor. He worked for several years as a hoofer and comedian until his first major acting role in 1925. He secured several other roles, receiving good reviews before landing the lead role in the 1929 play Penny Arcade. After rave reviews for his acting, Warners signed him on an initial $500 a week, three week contract, which was extended to a seven year contract.

Page 186. " Pedants knew it to be an Albertasaurus "
Albertosaurus model
Creative Commons AttributionAlbertosaurus model - Credit: D'arcy Norman

Fierce, carnivorous Albertosaurus sarcophagus is almost identical to its cousin Tyrannosaurus rex, but not as large. Like other tyrannosaurs, it walked on two legs and had a large head.  It had two-fingered hands on short arms. Its long tail gave it balance and quick turning. It had powerful back legs with clawed, three-toed feet. The lower jaw of Albertosaurus had from 14 and 16 teeth; the upper jaw had 17-19 teeth. It had one row of teeth in each jaw with a replacement layer growing up beneath.

Page 191. " used to raise pure Herefords "



Hereford is a common breed of cattle raised for beef.

Originally from Herefordshire, UK, more than five million pedigree Hereford Cattle can now be found in over 50 countries. 

Page 191. " The Angus cows were good mothers "

The term Angus refers to two Scottish breeds of cattle bred for beef (red and black Angus).  A characteristic of the breed is the lack of horns.

Black Angus is the most popular beef breed in the United States, with 324,266 animals registered in 2005.


Page 193. " then a burn on the butt with a branding iron "
Calf cradle
GNU Free Documentation LicenseCalf cradle - Credit: Cgoodwin

Branding is a technique for marking livestock so as to identify the owner.

Originally, livestock branding only referred to a hot brand for large stock, though the term is now also used to refer to other alternative techniques such as freeze branding. The act of marking livestock with fire-heated marks to identify ownership dates back to the ancient Egyptians

In the American West, a branding iron consisted of an iron rod with a simple symbol or mark, which cowboys heated in a fire. After the branding iron turned red-hot, the cowboy pressed the branding iron against the hide of the cow. The unique brand meant that cattle owned by multiple ranches could then graze freely together on the open range. Cowboys could then separate the cattle at round-up time.

The traditional cowboy or stockman captured and secured an animal for branding by roping it, laying it over on the ground, tying its legs together, and applying a branding iron heated in a fire. Modern ranch practice has shifted toward use of chutes where animals can be run into a confined area and safely secured while the brand is applied. Two types of restraint are the cattle crush or squeeze chute (for larger cattle), which may close on either side of a standing animal, or a branding cradle, where calves are caught in a cradle which is rotated so that the animal is lying on its side.


The branding iron is only applied for the amount of time needed to burn off the hair and create a permanent mark. If applied too long, it can damage the skin and require treatment for potential infection. Stock that are wet when branded may result in the smudging of the brand. Long-haired animals may need regular clipping of the area to view the brand.

Page 197. " She'd bought some Pryor Mountain mustangs "

A Mustang is a free-roaming feral horse of the North American west, descended from horses brought to the Americas by the Spanish.

In 1971, the United States Congress recognized Mustangs as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West, which continue to contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.”


Today, the Mustang population is managed and protected by the Bureau of Land Management. Controversy surrounds the sharing of land and resources with the livestock of the ranching industry, and also the methods with which the federal government manages the wild population numbers.