Like a tale out of some mid-century Western film, cattle rustlers are still on the prowl more than 60 years later.
With lower feed prices and higher demand, cattle prices are up across the country, leading thieves to look for profitable ventures in taking animals in the middle of the night and transporting them across state borders to neighboring sale barns, NPR reports.
"Our family's been in this business for 75 years," Leon Langford, an Oklahoma cattle rancher, told NPR. "Taking care of cattle, all day every day."
Langford last year had 19 head of purebred Herefords stolen. They were worth an estimated $100,000.
"You know, you're sick to your stomach because you lost them," Langford told NPR. "But when you know they're stolen, it's even a little worse. Somebody takes things that don't belong to them, it's a sickening feeling."
The perpetrator, Christen Allen, 31, sold 10 of the registered purebreds at the Durant, Okla., Stockyards on Oct. 10, 2013, according to the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
According to TSCRA, Allen was sentenced to two years in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections for the thefts.
"This case highlights the positive outcomes that are possible when cattle are properly marked, branded or tattooed for identification purposes by the owners," TSCRA Special Ranger Bart Perrier said.
Read more about the theft, and importance of branding for ranchers from NPR: As Cattle Prices Climb, Ranchers Watch Out For Bovine Thievery