Two old cowpokes reading twenty brands wont agree on all of them but generally speaking this is how to read a brand.
A letter like this (image of backwards letter F) is a reverse F. But this (image of letter F leaning off-axis to the right) is a tumbling F. A letter lying on its side is lazy (image of letter H lying on its side). If its angles are round its running (image of letter M with rounded angles) while if it has little wings on it like this (image of letter V with wings on its ends) its flying. Put legs on it like this (image of brand with legs) and its walking. Or if attached to a quarter circle on the bottom its rocking (image of a "rocking" letter H). Sometimes a letter swings from a character (image of letter L swinging from a diamond). This is a box (image of a square) and this (image of the upper half of a square) is not a half box. Its a bench. Short horizontals (image of a short horizontal line) are bars everywhere but long horizontals (image of a long horizontal line) are sometimes called rails. Diamonds (image of a diamond) and triangles (image of a triangle) never change nor do circles (image of a circle) nor crescents (image of a crescent moon) nor stars (image of a star). This (image of a plus sign) is always a cross although once in a while a brand
reader will call it a plus. This (image of an upward facing right angle) is a rafter and this (image of a slash) a slash and this (image of the top quarter of a circle) a quarter circle. When you connect two letters or symbols you say so. Thus this brand (image of the letters F, A, and K combined together into a single character) you would read as a reverse FAK connected. There are all sorts of individual characters like the millirons (image of two parallel lines with opposing semicircles), anvil (image of an anvil) and arrow (image of an arrow). A rafter connected with other letters is usually called an "open A" like this (image of the letter B with a rafter connected to the left of the letter) open AB connected.
The calls for a lot of actual workaday brands are to be found on the other side of this marker.
Murdo Mackenzie Roadside Park
This was, 60 years ago, the center of the Great White River cow country. No highways, no railroads, no towns from Chamberlain to the Black Hills. A thin scattering of post offices and tiny stores, where the odor of kerosene, big longhorn cheeses and harness leather fought for supremacy. Barbed wire fences only around garden plots. No big dams. Grass, sky and cattle and mighty little homestead land. Many of the ranches had or just took grazing rights on the Rosebud Reservation South of the
White clear down to Nebraska.
Cavite, Zickrick, Stearns, Whitfield, Lodge and Black were some of the post offices now almost forgotten. And the old brands: Jim Clave had the (7/7) seven, slash, seven; Jake Hauseman the (image of the letter D enclosed in a circle) Circle D; Charles Pitan ran the (image of a cross enclosed in a circle) Circle Cross down on White River; the Bowley boys with their (BOW) BOW up at Bovine on Bad River; Zoske Brothers had the (ZOS) ZOS, with headquarters near Zickrick where John Zickrick ran cattle with the (-6-) bar, six, bar on their right hip. W.W. Anderson had the (image of a rake) Rake brand out near Black (Interior) and Conner Thode Cattle Co. at Stearns ran the (image combining the letter T & J) TJ connected. The first post office hereabouts was at Westover down on White River June 6, 1891 and it's still one. The first Westover brand registered was that of Adam Smith who ran his (A - S) A bar S on many a critter on both sides of White River. If you want to learn to read brands look on the other side.