Settling The West Project

By: Ashley Tounget and Audrey Fernandez

Essential Questions

1. When and Why did the Homestead Act become so important?

2.Where did the Chisholm Trial start and where did it end?

Cowboys and Ranchers

The cowboy of myth and reality had his beginnings in Texas. There cattle grew wild with few natural enemies; by the end of the Civil War there were an estimated 5 million of them. It was then that the cowboy entered his twenty-year golden age, 1866-1886, the era of the open range and the great cattle drives. Cowboys wore jeans and chaps with boots. Wide hats to protect them from the sun and Bandanas to help with the dust storms started, they would wear them over their nose and mouth and tied it in the back. Cowboys branded their cattle with irons and they were always different brands. They did this so they could tell there sheer for the others. Rustler is another type of cowboy that was known as a thief and stole other cattle that wasn't theirs.


Mining was not the only thing to be found in the West. Millions could be made in the cattle industry . A calf bought for $5 in Southern Texas might sell for $60 in Chicago.

In 1867, Joseph Mccoy traced a path known as the Chisholm Trail from Texas to Abilene, Kansas. The Texas cowboys drove the cattle the entire distance — 1500 miles. Along the way, the cattle enjoyed all the grass they wanted, at no cost to the Ranchers. At Abilene and other railhead towns such as Dodge City and Ellsworth, the cattle would be sold and the cowboys would return to Texas. The ranchers took car of the cattle and sold then and traded. The life of a rancher was Taking car of cattle and horses, also any other animals that were on the ranch. Ranchers had to brand cattle move then from place to place the life of a rancher was not as easy as it sounds. No vision of the American West is complete without the cowboy. The imagery is quintessentially American, but many myths cloud the truth about what life was like on the long drive.

Working Cowboys and Cattle

Great Plains

Texans searched for a route with better grass and fewer Indians, farmers, and desperadoes. When railroads inched across the plains, new trails, among them the Chisholm, Western, and Loving, veered westward to intercept them. Cattle towns such as Abilene, Wichita, Ellsworth, Caldwell, and Dodge City enjoyed a brief heyday of prosperity and violence. Later trials headed on north to Ogallala, Cheyenne, Glendive, and Miles City. By 1886 the open-range cattle business had spread throughout the Great Plains and had merged with earlier cattle enterprises in Colorado, Idaho, Washington, Utah, Arizona, and California. the great plains were used when the cattle could roam free until other cowboys and ranchers started putting up Barbed wire

Chisholm Trail

Major route for cattle ranchers to drive their cattle from Texas to Kansas railroads. The trail began in San Antonio and ended in Abilene, Kansas. The trail was named for Jesse Chisholm, a Native American trader who traveled the route in a wagon in the mid-19th century. At its height, the Chisholm Trail carried 600,000 cattle in the year of 1871.

The Chisholm Trail Short Story

Homestead Act

The Homestead act of 1862 was one of 3 United States federal laws that gave an applicant ownership at no cost of farmland called a “homestead”

typically 160 acres of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi river.
Westward Expansion: The Homestead Act of 1862 & The Frontier Thesis

Work Cited

"The Origins of the Cowboy Culture of Western America." The Origins of the Cowboy Culture of Western America. Web. 9 Oct. 2015.

"The Ways of the Cowboy." Independence Hall Association. Web. 9 Oct. 2015.