Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote westerns with the voice of authority. He had spent time working on his brothers' Idaho ranch from age 16 and later returned to that part of the country when the Burroughs brothers began a mining operation. He joined the army and was assigned to Troop B 7th Cavalry at Fort Grant, Arizona, May 1896. At that time the countryside was plagued by dangerous outlaws like The Apache Kid and Black Jack. Conditions at the fort were deplorable. Morale and the level of discipline at Fort Grant were extremely low. Brutality and tedium marked Ed's tour, except for the times when the troop was mounted on futile and fruitless patrols or involved in the business of digging ditches and building roads. Though his military career was undistinguished, except for a severe case of dysentary and boredom, the experience gave him the background and characters which made his western novels ring with authenticity.