I got a great question from Kendra:
Could a thief who wanted a cow brand his own name over it?
I think you mean could he put his own brand over the original brand?
You bet those thieving rascals could do that! Of course, some brands were pretty detailed, so it would be hard to make a branding iron that could change the brand easily. But some simple brands could be messed with. For example, say your name is Larson, and your brand is a simple "L." A rustler could easily make a branding iron in the shape of an "E" that would completely cover up the original "L."
Hope that answers your question!
Here are samples of some real brands from the 1800s. How would you go about changing them if you were a cattle rustler? Good luck!