Horse of a Different Color is the story not only of Mr. Moody's experiences as a Kansas livestock dealer, but of the people who had the courage and fortitude to wrest a livelihood from that land of killing droughts, searing heat, and violet storms.
Just after World War I, and following a summer with a rag-tag harvesting crew and a season as a grain hauler in western Kansas, Ralph Moody decided to devote his time, small saving, and considerable enthusiasm to the livestock business - a fascinating, often grueling, but more often rewarding occupation.
With the backing of Bones Kennedy, the stern but sympathetic bank manager of Cedar Bluffs, Ralph started out trading and shipping mortgaged cattle and hogs. he expanded into livestock feeding, teaming up with Bob Wilson, whose flair for judging cattle was surpassed only by his talent for losing money. A March blizzard, followed by a June flood, nearly wiped them out and a threat of bankruptcy hung in the air.
But the twenty-one-year-old Moody took heart from the sage advice and friendship of George Miner, a poker-faced veteran of the cattle business. Ellie Simons, the ebullient telephone operator and local newscaster, buoyed his spirits with her insistent helpfulness.
A year later, Moody was back on his feet, as George Miner described it, "with heaps of kettles boiling at one time." What George did not notice was that one kettle on the back range was, in time, to boil over.