Cattle rustlers were the bad guys in those western movies. Sometimes it took something big like a U.S. Marshall to bring em' in. Maybe even a guy like John Wayne.

Here's a modern day story out of North Dakota that's a little different. The cattle weren't exactly stolen, but they wondered on to a rancher's land so the story goes. The trouble began when authorities went to investigate. Then later a drone was brought in.

But first the part that sounds more like a wild west movie. Lakota, N.D., farmer Rodney Brossart was arrested but his family refused at gunpoint to let authorities armed with a search warrant onto their 3,600-acre property to investigate the neighbors' complaint.

According to Fox News, Brossart was later released on bail, and warrants issued for his three sons, but the family refused for months to respond to orders to appear in court.

This prompted Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke to have the U.S. Border Patrol deploy a Predator drone to conduct live video surveillance of the farm. The drone monitored the family's movements on the farm following the armed standoff.

Predator Drone Gets New Designation And Function
Getty Images

The eye in the sky gathered enough evidence to prompt Janke's men when to finally move in and arrest five family members on terrorizing charges.

A jury found Brossart not guilty of stealing the cows, but he did get three years, all but six months of which was suspended, for his part in the armed police standoff based in part on video supplied by the drone to court officials, according  to the Grand Forks Herald.

This now brings us to a brave new world of law enforcement. Brossart makes history by becoming the first American sentenced to prison based in part on evidence gathered by a drone.

This all started over six cows that wandered into a place where the grass looked greener.


More From KXRB