||Most of the ranchers around Sand Creek had brought cattle up from Texas when free grass opened in Nebraska. It was tough, but eventually Ben Wyatt's Bar W and the other ranches began to prosper -- and so did the shantytown of Sand Creek.The town's old sod buildings were replaced by wood structures, and the riffraff that had made Sand Creek home made way for honest merchants. But Sand Creek depended on the cattle business, so when the ranches hurt -- and they were hurting bad in 1876 -- Sand Creek hurt too.The discovery of gold in the nearby Black Hills brought thousands of people to the area and soon put a strain on the food supply. At first, it was just a little rustling to feed the hungry men in the mining camps, but now the thievery was out of control. The cattlemen knew there had to be someone behind it. And that's when they hired Luke Howard and other Range Detectives to put a stop to it -- and they gave him permission to use any means necessary to get the job done.