Chapter 17, Section 3

The Castle Kingdom

The Rise Of The Cattle Industry

  • For years cattle wandered the open range.
  • They needed almost no care.
  • They grew from strays lost by Spanish ranchers.
  • They just let them run off because they had no need for them.
  • Good beef was in high demand.
  • Ranchers would start rounding up skilled people to help get the cattle back in order.
  • They would lead cattle drives where they would move the cattle over long distances.
  • Drives lasted 2-3 months.
  • In just one year 600,000 cattle would be moved north.

Life On The Trail

  • Life on the trail was very dangerous.
  • Cowhands had to keep the cattle in order.
  • This job was very risky.
  • Cowhands would spend 18 hours a day on the saddle.
  • Yet, their wage was less than $1 a day.
  • Vaqueros tended cattle on ranches in Mexico, California and the Southwest.
  • Cowboys copied many things from Vaqueros.
  • One third of western cowhands were Mexican.

The Wild West

  • Cattle drives ended in towns along railroad lines.
  • Abilene was the first "cow town".
  • There would eventually be many rival cow towns.
  • There were gunfights in the towns.
  • The west would become known as a place of violence.
  • Today, it is a very peaceful place.

Boom And Bust In The Cattle Kingdom

  • The cattle boom lasted from the 1860s to 1880s.
  • The cattle kingdom was regions dominated by the cattle industry.
  • Profits were very high.
  • By the mid-1880s, more than 7 million cattle roamed the open range.
  • However, they would soon start to die off.
  • Sheep would also come into the picture and compete with cattle for land.
  • Eventually, the cattle boom was over.