I decided to look up the word maverick, because I was curious about its origins. Wikipedia says that “The word first arose in mid-19th century America from Samuel Augustus Maverick, a Texas politician with a large ranch full of unbranded cattle.”
So I clicked the link to Samuel Maverick to read up on him and learned this (bold emphasis is my own):
Samuel Augustus Maverick (July 23, 1803–September 2, 1870) was a Texas lawyer, politician, land baron and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. From his name comes the term “maverick”, first cited in 1867, which means independent minded. Maverick was considered independent minded by his fellow ranchers because he refused to brand his cattle. In fact, Maverick’s failure to brand his cattle had little to do with independent mindedness, but reflected his lack of interest in ranching. He is the grandfather of U.S. Congressman Maury Maverick, who coined the term gobbledygook (1944). [cut a bunch of stuff out]
Maverick steadfastly refused to brand his cattle. As a result, the word maverick entered the English lexicon, meaning both an unbranded range animal as well as a slang term for someone who exhibits a streak of stubborn independence.
Maverick’s stated reason for not branding his cattle was that he didn’t want to inflict pain on them.
Other ranchers however, suspected that his true motivation was that it allowed him to collect any unbranded cattle and claim them as his own.
Off to waste away in margaritaville.