Red River Land Dispute Has Landowners Concerned
In a cycle of drought, the Red River may seem little more than a slipstream of mud and clay, but along this nature-made border between Oklahoma and Texas, there is a well-spring of worry among dozens of Texas ranchers.
“We always said when John Wayne stepped out of the river and he said, ‘I’m back in Texas,’ he wasn’t really back in Texas yet,” said Texas rancher Tommy Henderson. “He still had another mile to go. He just didn’t know it.”
That’s because where Oklahoma ends, Texas doesn’t technically begin.
For a 116-mile stretch along the river — some 90,000 acres — Texas starts where the vegetation starts. That no man’s land in between the federal government Bureau of Land Management claims belongs to the United States.
“We hold private title to it, private deed,” said Henderson. “It was patented to us from the State of State in 1863. It’s been handed down and sold down through generations. But it’s not Texas. But it’s not Texas, they say.”