County of Offense
Exploring the Worst Events from the Nation’s Greatest State
Known Gang Affiliations
Date of Offense
First Episode Aired December, 2017
William Dylan Powell
All Crime and No Cattle is a true crime podcast covering cases that took place in Texas. (The name is a play on the old saying “All Hat and No Cattle,” which refers to ranchers who exaggerate the size of their herd, or just someone in general who talks a big game but can't really walk the walk.) But these guys aren’t all hat and no cattle; they’re the real deal as far as true crime goes. If you live in Texas, or just like juicy crime stories from all walks of life, the show is for you.
Hosts Shea and Erin are a husband and wife team who took their love of true crime and made the bold transition from content consumers to content creators. So, respect for that big jump. The show is pretty straightforward in terms of format. Each hour-long episode focuses primarily on one specific Texas crime. At the time of this writing, they’re almost 20 episodes in. All of the cases thus far have been murders. It’s very conversational and low-key.
They’ve done a good job spreading cases out among various parts of the state. Here in Houston, we’ve got more murders than Cracker Barrel has biscuits. (That’s not a good thing.) I live in a pretty nice Houston neighborhood and I pulled out of my driveway last year to see a man who’d been shot dead on the sidewalk. They haven’t covered many cases out in West Texas yet, but that’s to be expected; fewer people means fewer crimes. Plus, nobody really knows what happens out in the badlands where there's no one to hear you scream.
Don’t come to All Crime No Cattle expecting formal high-profile investigative journalism. It’s not Serial. It’s low-key and conversational—kind of like running into some long-time friends who are interested in true crime, then having a chat about an intriguing case. But not lowbrow friends like me: these two are exceptionally intelligent and very articulate, which is really what makes the show work. Erin has a masters in anthropology with a specialization in bioarchaeology. And I don't know much about Shea, but he's apparently an actual ninja.
Don't get me wrong, though. Just because the show is casual and conversational doesn’t mean the hosts approach their task in a flippant manner. They do their homework and take true crime seriously. Court records, research, even primary research at times. They don’t editorialize or speculate without qualification. They don’t slander suspects or persons of interest. They put in the work and do it right.
Also, you have to remember that what they're doing takes both caution and cojones. Not all of these cases are solved. In many cases, the victims’ families, perpetrators, investigators, etc are still alive and going about their business somewhere as best they can. With all of the media and hype, it’s easy to forget that true crime involves real people and their lives. People out walking around that you could run into at the grocery store. Or, people locked up and not super happy about your shining the spotlight on their crimes. I guess being Cowboys fans gets you used to exposing yourself to criminal types.
One thing I really appreciate about the show is how they’re able to successfully balance their fun, inquisitive banter with the disturbing content of the cases they’re covering. I mean, my God, after listening to what happened to that poor kid in Episode 8: Satanic Cult Murders on the Texas Border I felt I needed to take a hot shower and burn my clothes. Jesus H. Christ in a Ford F150, where do these sickos come from? (The perpetrators, not the hosts.) Kind of hard to sound chipper talking about that stuff without being inappropriate, but they pull it off.
Despite the fact that I actually wrote a book about murder a few years ago, I have to take true crime stories in moderation. My wife, a Fort Worth native, can listen to 10 hours of Sword & Scale (we've done it, actually, driving out to Terlingua) and it doesn't bother her at all. But too much of this stuff depresses me. It’s not so much that I mind the gory details and such; it’s more that I start getting bummed when I’m reminded of how many terrible, broken, evil people are running around the world. And people who just make shitty decisions.
Too much of this stuff brings me down and I need to think of something nice for a while.
Which brings me to another thing I love about the show: Good News. Each episode, they bring you a good news story from somewhere around the state. Something that puts warm fuzzies back into your soul to replace the charred, Stygian, nihilistic film left over from the gruesome details of the showcased crime. Nice touch, y’all. If you're a Texan into true crime, you need this podcast in your life.