Wagons were used to transport goods and supplies. Trains were around, just not here. Horses were often used to pull the wagons. Mules were better. A lot of the old timers would say they were smarter that horses.
When traders took a load and the teams were of horses, they would take along a mule. Whenever they would reach a water hole, the mule would drink first. If the mule would not drink then no one, not even the horses were allowed to drink.
Those Desert folks considered the mules Blessed animals. They would say that if the water hole was poisoned the mule would see the Devil dancing around it and it would not drink.
If the teams were mules they would take a mare along for the ride. They would say that the mules respected the mother instinct of the mare and behave.
In this part of the country, Coyotes howl and the winds run free, and when the winds run “free” they kick up a terrific sand storm.
When you are caught in one of these storms you cannot see more than four or five feet away. I have seen these storms destroy homes, wagons and campers.
When a wagon and team was caught in one of these storms, the driver would stop, unhitch the team and tie the animals with their tails toward the wind, then he would wrap himself in a blanket, lie down and wait for the storm to wane.