American West: Topic 3 - The Cattle Industry

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  • Topic 3 - The Development of the Cattle Industry
    • Reasons for the Cattle Industry
      • Cattle was brought to America from Europe
      • The best breed was the Texas Longhorn
      • Beef became a very popular meat
      • Cattle were drove to markets in the East by Cowboys allowing access to the meat
      • Goodnight and Loving
        • Started a Texas cattle ranch in 1850s
        • 180 cattle in 1860 - returned to 5,000 cattle in 1865
        • The first to drive their cattle out of Texas to the North
          • This became the Goodnight-Loving Trail
        • This became the Goodnight-Loving Trail
      • An abundance of cattle were discovered upon people returning from the American Civil War
      • Joseph McCoy
        • Chicago Cattle Dealer
        • Owned the cow town of Abilene
        • Saw the profits in creating Cow Towns
        • Promoted the use of Cow Trails to go through his cow town
    • The Open Range
      • Vast areas of unfenced land that was claimed by ranch owners
      • Only needed a good water supply and large workforce
      • Driving cattle from Texas was a difficult task
      • Homesteaders started to build farms across cattle trails
      • The northern Plains were empty with the Indians being moved to reservations
      • The Transcontinental railroad crossed the northern plains making it easier to transport cattle
      • John Iliffe
        • Proved cattle could survive the long winters on the Great Plains
        • Set up one of the first ranches
        • Sold beef to railroad builders and Sioux reservations
    • The Fall of the Open Range
      • Overgrazing - by 1883 so many cattle gazed the plains that grass could not grow properly
      • Drought - summer of 1883 meant less grass and cattle starved
      • Winters - 1886-1887 killed thousands of cattle
        • Many ranchers went out of business
      • Falling Beef Prices meant more ranchers kept their cattle increasing the other problems
      • The open range made cattle rustling much easier
      • The Open Range
        • Vast areas of unfenced land that was claimed by ranch owners
        • Only needed a good water supply and large workforce
        • Driving cattle from Texas was a difficult task
        • Homesteaders started to build farms across cattle trails
        • The northern Plains were empty with the Indians being moved to reservations
        • The Transcontinental railroad crossed the northern plains making it easier to transport cattle
        • John Iliffe
          • Proved cattle could survive the long winters on the Great Plains
          • Set up one of the first ranches
          • Sold beef to railroad builders and Sioux reservations
      • The Invention of Barbed wire made it easier to fence off smaller ranges
      • Falling Cattle Prices
        • Led to fierce competition
    • Cowboys
      • Mexicans, Ex-Slaves and some ex-soldiers
      • Most were young and single - little time for family life
      • Tough Life
        • Boredom - winters spent watching cattle
        • discomfort - living in line camps during winter
        • Dangerous - stampedes
        • Team work was necessary to succeed
        • Low Pay and came at the end of the Long Drive
        • Difficult Jobs
          • Cattle Branding
          • Rounding Up Cattle
          • The Long Drive
          • Line riding
          • Protect the Herd from rustlers
          • Physically demanding job
            • Some would die of exhaustion
          • Became easier when fenced of ranches came about
      • Difficult Jobs
        • Cattle Branding
        • Rounding Up Cattle
        • The Long Drive
        • Line riding
        • Protect the Herd from rustlers
        • Physically demanding job
          • Some would die of exhaustion
        • Became easier when fenced of ranches came about
    • Ranchers V Homesteader
      • Often disputes between the two
      • H's did not want cattle destroying their crops
      • The Texas Longhorn were immune to texas fever which the H's cattle were not
      • Cattle needed water which the homesteaders were not prepared to offer
        • 1874 - barbed wire made cattle ranching harder due to restricted land
      • 1874 - barbed wire made cattle ranching harder due to restricted land
      • H's would rustle cows
        • Branding tried to stop this but they could be rebranded after theft
    • The Johnson Country War 1892
      • Causes
        • Powerful Cattle Barons
          • Believed H's were cattle rustling
            • Believed R's were stealing their land
        • Small land-owners
          • Believed R's were stealing their land
          • Powerful Cattle Barons
            • Believed H's were cattle rustling
          • Falling Cattle Prices
            • Led to fierce competition
        • Events
          • 1889 - rancher A. Bothwell wanted land claimed by J. Averill
            • Bothwell accused him of rustling and murdered him
          • 1892 - Cattle Barons took law into their own hands
            • created a hitlist of 70 names and his 24 gunfighters to capture Buffalo (town)
              • These killed two alleged rustlers - Nate Champion and Nick Ray
              • Nate Champion held up the gunfighters at the KC ranch
                • These killed two alleged rustlers - Nate Champion and Nick Ray
            • The US Army was called who intervened and arrested the Barons
              • Nate Champion held up the gunfighters at the KC ranch
          • Aftermath
            • The Cattle Barons lost a lot of power and influence after this period

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