In the symbiotic balance between humans and stock, the growth of the family is as important as the growth of the herd, and marriage may be viewed as an aspect of the family enterprise. Women are exchanged for cattle in a system where the accumulation of wives is an essential investment and daughters are a commodity for exchange. Among some other East African pastoralists where bridewealth payments deplete the family herd, the general competition for wives is translated into direct rivalry between close agnates for cattle.1 This particular source of rivalry is bypassed among the Maasai where marriage payments only accrue over an extended period with a slow commitment to the marriage itself. The emphasis shifts from the individual suitor's ability to dip into the family herd to his ability to persuade his future affines of his potential as a stock owner.