Both Goodnight and Loving knew there would be huge obstacle ahead - a stretch of over 80 miles of treeless desert without water, the Llano Estacado or Staked Plains.
At Fort Sumner, Loving and Goodnight sold all the steers for $12,000 in gold - a fortune! This left several hundred head of cows and calves that the Army declined to buy, so it was agreed that Loving would take that remnant herd into Denver for sale, as he'd been there in '61. To prevent the disaster of Indian starvation, the Army was willing to pay high prices for more cattle to be delivered. The Fort was in desparate need of beef, and Loving and Goodnight now knew what it took to deliver. So Goodnight took 3 hands and headed back to Texas to begin building a second herd with the proceeds.