This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
The time during which, or within which, the contract is to be performed, may be left indefinite, and such uncertainty may prevent the formation of a valid contract.1 An offer to operate a mine "as long as they could make it pay";2 a contract to be terminated on sixty days' notice "for good cause";3 a license to cut timber for five years to begin when the buyer begins to manufacture the trees into lumber;4 and a promise to extend the time of payment until a certain bank shall resume payment,5 are not sufficiently definite. An agreement by which the vendor agreed not to forfeit a contract for the sale of land for nonpayment during five years if vendee would plant an orchard and cultivate it and remain on the land, and if the land was not then paid for, vendor would take his payment in fruit growing thereon, is too indefinite, since the vendee has not agreed to remain on the land or to cultivate it for any definite period.6
37 Hall v. Woolen Co., 187 Pa. St. 18, 67 Am. St. Rep. 563, 52 L. R. A. 689, 40 Atl. 986.
38 Peabody Heights Co. v. Willson, 82 Md. 186, 36 L. R. A. 393, 32 Atl. 386, 1077.
39 Hampton v. Buchanan, 51 Wash. 155, 98 Ac. 374.
40 Smith v. Crum Lynne Iron & Steel Co., 208 Pa. St. 462, 57 Atl. 953.
1 Emery Bros. v. Mutual Benefit Oil Co., - Okla - , 175 Ac. 210.
2 Davie v. Mining Co., 93 Mich. 491, 24 L. R. A. 357, 53 N. W. 625. For a similar offer for running a shooting gallery, see Pulliam v. Schimpf, 109 Ala. 179, 19 So. 428.
3 Cummer v. Butts, 40 Mich. 322, 29 Am. Rep. 530.
4 Mfg. Co. v. Hobbs, 128 N. Car. 46, 83 Am. St. Rep. 661, 38 S. E. 26.
5 Ahlstrom v. Fitzpatrick, 17 Mont. 295, 42 Ac. 757.
6 Spokane Canal Co. v. Coffman, 61 Wash. 357, 112 Ac. 383.