"I'm not concerned about being liked or disliked."
Stan briefs his crew on what is to come.
Stan auditions for the Texas Ranch House.
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Stanley is rugged, boisterous, and commands attention. Perhaps it is his 32 years in the military or his upbringing in the wilds of New Mexico, but Stanley likes to be heard. The retired colonel lives with his wife, Sheryl, and their two teenage sons, Travis and Trevor, in an adobe house that he designed in New Mexico. There, Stanley has a few horses and raises some beef cattle. He is also a certified welder and an experienced carpenter. He holds a master's degree in education and public administration.
"I'm not concerned about being liked or disliked. If I came out of this deal and all those guys said that 'Stan Johnston was fair,' that's all I would ask. I wouldn't care if they sent me a Christmas card or not, as long as they thought I was fair in what I did."
As a young man, Stanley Johnston attended the United States Military Academy and was sent to the borderlands in the early days of the U.S.-Mexican War from 1846 to 1848. Some of his peers in the officer ranks were Ulysses S. Grant, George McClellan, and Robert E. Lee. Stanley was rewarded for his leadership skills on the battlefield with a promotion to the rank of colonel. Since leaving the army, he's spent the last 20 years working cattle on the range.
Stan has been hired by a big city businessman, Mr. Cooke, to be the foreman, second-in-command, on his new "rancho." While Stan has a greater understanding of the cattle business than the ranch owner, he is expected to have total loyalty and faith in serving the ranch and its brand. Socially, he occupies a middle ground between the ranch owners and the ranch hands. He is expected to dress and behave accordingly. Stan must project an air of authority and composure with ranch matters and, at the same time, acknowledge his status as an employee of the ranch owner.
Stan's primary job is to manage the ranch crew: "cocinero," "vaqueros," and wrangler. He must assign their roles and tasks and supervise them throughout the day as they perform their duties. Stan must always remember that he cannot be successful without a harmonious and strong team and must always aspire to gain their admiration and trust. Stan is expected to determine the ranking hierarchy of the crew. He must look after the "cocinero" and ensure that he is feeding the crew sufficiently and to their liking, and that he has any assistance he needs. "Vaqueros" have been known to walk off a job if they find the food unpalatable.
Stan must also establish a daily operational agenda for ranch work, which includes meeting early with the owner to discuss the priorities. Tasks such as bookkeeping and ordering supplies should be taken care of during the course of the day's work. While Stan may not make any purchases without the consent and approval of the ranch owner, he is responsible for ordering supplies for the ranch and must keep track of all expenses.
He must ensure that the land belonging to the ranch is well maintained, that the men are capable and busy, and the cattle and horses are in good condition. He must see to it that the saddlery and tack are kept in good condition, that fences and buildings are kept in repair, and generally do everything he can to improve the ranch and its business. It is also his responsibility to supervise any building projects like corrals and to keep a running tally of all cattle belonging to the ranch.
Produced by Thirteen/WNET New York and Wall to Wall Television.
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