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It was the trail drive season again. Billy had been looking forward to it for months. The trail drive was one of the biggest events in a cowboy's life; Billy loved being on the road even though he was aware of the dangers he would face in the following months.

Before the drive began, Billy went around various cattle ranches to collect the cattle. He was joined by a cook and ten other cowboys who had been hired to handle the large herd during the long drive. As the leader of the group, Billy was in charge of the entire operation and had to ensure the cattle's safe arrival at the railway station. There, the herd would await shipment to the eastern markets. It was indeed a heavy responsibility to bear, but Billy knew that he would be well paid if the trail drive proceeded smoothly.

The day of the drive arrived. The cattle were rounded up and all the cowboys got into a large covered wagon. The wagon was very sturdy and Billy made sure that it carried enough food and water to last everyone for the next three months.

During the drive, they had to keep the cattle together and head in the right direction. There had to be two or three cowboys behind, in front and on each side of the herd to keep them manageable. Sometimes, the cattle panicked as they crossed a river and they would swim in all directions. Also, they were frightened by loud noises like thunder. There were many occasions when a stampede occurred, and Billy and his men had to ride in front of the herd and fire their guns to stop the lead cattle.

The long nights on the roads were spent singing. The men also took turns guarding the herd through the nights. At the end of the drive, they arrived at the station and loaded the herd onto a train. Their work was finally done. After a good meal, Billy and his friends headed for the nearest saloon. It was time for a celebration.

   
Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. Why was Billy looking forward to the trail drive ?
  2. What did Billy do before the drive began ?
  3. Who else were involved in the trail drive ?
  4. What were Billy's duties ?
  5. Where was the cattle's final destination ?
  6. Which two-word phrase in paragraph 3 tells us that the cattle were gathered together ?
  7. Why must the wagon be loaded with food and water ?
  8. How was the cattle kept manageable during the drive ?
  9. What did Billy and his men do during a cattle stampede ?
  10. What did Billy and his men do after dispatching the cattle ?
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Answers
 

1.

It was one of the biggest events in a cowboy's life, and he loved being on the road.
 

2.

He went around the various ranches to collect the cattle.
 

3.

A cook and ten other cowboys were involved.
 

4.

He was in charge of the whole operation and had to make sure that the cattle reached the railway station safely.
 

5.

The final destination was the eastern markets.
  6. The phrase is 'rounded up'.
  7. The cowboys managing the cattle needed a lot of food and water as they would be on the road (or traveling) for a few months.
  8. Two or three cowboys rode behind, in front and on each side of the herd to keep them together.
  9. They rode to the front of the herd and fired their guns to stop the lead cattle.
  10. They had a good meal and then headed for the nearest saloon for a celebration.
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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