“In many instances [the landholder] had received a first-rate skinning when his land was leased. For example, after an agreement had been reached on the terms of a lease, I may have switched the papers upon him while he put on his glasses. But the principal racket, and one it will do well to remember if you own an acre of land, is this.
“A wildcat (a shot-in-the-dark or blue-sky exploratory well) is being drilled within a mile or so of your land. I have timed my trip within a week or so of the completion of the exploratory well. You’d already been offered a dollar an acre, think it worth five, so you ask me ten.
“I try, for the window dressing, to beat you down on the price. But finally, though you are scared stiff that I am going to back away from the trade entirely, I let you have your way. I write something on a piece of paper binding both of us to the trade, contingent, of course, on the validity of your title. To that you, as a fair-minded person, agree. And I’ve got you stretched over a barrel.
“A flaw can be found in any Texas land title. The acceptance or rejection of any particular one is almost a matter of taste. If the wildcat makes a producing well, your lease is worth fifty dollars an acre and up, and I take it for the agreed-upon ten. If the well fails, I don’t like your title, and would like to see the color of the man’s eyes that can make me pay for it.”
From “Texas: A World in Itself” by George Perry (1942)