The desk clerk at the exclusive Santa Barbara hotel was abrupt with the dusty stranger inquiring about a room. Sure, the man’s clothes were covered with alkali dust from the Carrisa Plains. And due to the hot day, he smelled pretty bad too. But, to judge this man solely based upon his appearance was a mistake. The traveler looking for lodging that day was Henry Miller—thee Henry Miller.
Miller and his partner Charles Lux had amassed more land, wealth, and power than most kings. Through opportune purchases of old Spanish land grants, Miller & Lux owned over 1,200 square miles or 800,000 acres of prime grazing land in California. He was then and remains today the largest landholder ever in the history of the United States and perhaps the world. Miller could drive his 80,000 head of beef from Mexico to San Francisco on land owned entirely by his brand. He was the Cattle King with a legion of hired hands awaiting his every command. Read more