The Great Plains [Prairies] were grasslands which were thousands of
miles of flat open land. Between the 1830's-1850's most settlers had
avoided the Plains because they thought that it was no good for fanning,
but there was a number of herds of cattle grazing on the grasslands
of Texas. Gradually the frontier for grazing beef cattle moved in to
the prairies of Kansas. On the plains and also in Texas there was very
little market for the beef. The main centres of population were in
the east and on the west coast. In order for them to reach theses markets
the cattle had to be driven there by the 'Cowboys'.
In 1861 the American civil war broke out., lasting until 1865. During
this time there was a huge demand tor beef, which was used to feed
both sides armies. A man called Charlie Goodnight became very rich.
He and a chap called Oliver Loving made a trail to the Colorado Goldmines,
where they sold their beef to the coalminers. People like Charlie and
Oliver owned thousands of cattle and by the 1880's the Prairie had
been divided up and fenced off into 'ranches'. This ensured that rather
than the cattle roaming all over the plains they would then graze on
the ranches which covered thousands of hectares.
History of the West - Native
American Peoples Of the Plains - Wagon
Trains - Gold Fever - Cowboys - Homesteaders - The
Railroad - Justice in the Wild West - War
Between The Settlers and The Native American Indians