The Legend of the Ninja Cow

Everyone was talking about the Black Angus that roamed the town by moonlight.

Not long ago, if you were to ask Plattsmouth, Neb., locals what their town was best known for, you’d probably get a variety of answers: the Plattsmouth Harvest Festival, a $6 million downtown restoration project or the fact that it’s one of the oldest communities in the state. But ask residents that question today and you’ll likely hear a completely different and near-unanimous answer: the Ninja Cow.

It all began in September 2011 with an unusual call to Plattsmouth police dispatch, which in turn notified animal control officer Sue Baker. A cow had jumped or fallen from a truck, and it was currently grazing on the front lawn of City Hall. “I went out, and there it was—a large, solid black cow,” she says. With police assistance, she attempted to catch the cow, but it jumped a 4-foot fence and escaped into the woods.

Over the next few months, a legend was born. Everyone talked about the Black Angus cow that roamed the town by moonlight. While cow-sighting calls came in nightly, she was never seen during the day, foiling every attempt to trap her. After a police officer remarked that she was like a Ninja, the nickname stuck.

One day in early December, Sue received a report that the Ninja Cow was seen with a newborn calf. The calf was caught fairly easily, but her mother remained on the lam … until the cowboys arrived and, after four hours, successfully roped and secured her.

Plattsmouth singer/songwriter Terry Little followed the saga and decided that, like most legends, Ninja Cow should be immortalized in song. So he and his son Jonathan debuted “Bovine Blues (Ballad of the Ninja Cow)” at a concert last September. “It was well-received,” Terry says. “There was a good bit of toe tapping and chuckles from the crowd.”

With her place in local folklore now secured, Ninja Cow has given up her Ninja-like ways, and both she and her calf now reportedly live on local farms.