1.1 Cattle brought to America by
1.2 By 1850's Texas was
the major centre of
1.3 After Civil War (1860-65) cattle herds had
grown massively. Around 5 million in Texas.
2 Cattle Drives
2.1 Took place in Summer
2.2 Cattle was worthless unless it
could be sold for meat. Best
market was in the East.
2.3 Homesteaders blocked route to
East. Didn't want the Longhorns to
spread their Texas Fever.
took route West
to sell cattle to
2.5 Railroads enabled
cattle to be
transported from the
West to the East.
3.1 Groups of men (often Southerners/Mexicans/Blacks) who looked after the
cattle, controlled ranch boundaries (line riding,) branded cattle, kept away strays and
rustlers and organised cattle drives.
3.2 Portrayed in films as vigilant, lawless,
dangerous drunkards. Actually were
loyal, hardworking men with few
3.3 Dangerous life - injuries whilst
branding, stampedes, bad
weather, Indian Attacks etc
3.4 Equipment included a STETSON to protect from all weather,
GLOVES to protect hands that could be rubbed raw from the lariat, a
LARIAT (a thin leather rope) to catch animals, a BANDANA used for
many purposes including sun protector, dust mask, ear cover,
blindfold for nervous horses and as a sling and a SIX SHOOTER ( a
weapon used for protection.
4 Open Range
4.1 A vast area of unfenced land on the
Plains claimed by a rancher for its cattle.
4.2 Shortened length of cattle drives (right next to cow towns)
4.3 Discovered that Longhorns could survive
winter there and the cold also killed the
ticks they carried - so could now breed
with fatter cattle to make better meat.
4.4 North of Plains was empty
with plentiful grass.
4.5 Spread of homesteaders continued to block cattle drives.
4.6 Allowed ranchers to keep loads
of cattle as unlimited space,
meaning more money.
4.7 Fencing large areas was
expensive, cheaper to use
cowboys. Also meant everyone
could access water supply.
4.8 Branding cattle
solved issue of
losing cattle to
5 Cow Towns
5.2 Buy the land with good
grass and water supply
and build pens.
5.3 Cattle driven to cow
towns situated along
6 Johnson County War
6.1 Conflict between Cattle
Barons in Wyoming and new
homesteaders and smaller
6.2 Barons accused
ranchers of stealing their
land and of rustling
6.3 Wanted list of 70 drawn up and
lynching squad assembled. (1889-92)
Government sent in troops to end the
conflict. Cattle Barons never convicted
but widely condemned.
7 The End of the Open Range
7.2 Beef Prices and demand
7.3 Drought of 1883
7.4 Harsh winter of
7.5 Invention of wind pumps and
barbed wire led to ranchers
sectioning off smaller areas and
focussing on breeding fewer but
better quality cattle.
8 Homesteaders Vs Cattle Ranchers
8.1 Early Conflicts
8.1.1 Homesteaders trying to block
Cattle Drives - afraid of damage
to crops and Texas Fever.
8.2 Later Conflicts
8.2.1 Cattle Ranchers moving on to
Plains - competitions for land
and water supply. Homesteaders
fencing land to protect crops,
cutting ranchers off from water
8.2.2 Later, ranchers saw benefits of
barbed wire and could section off
huge areas. Led to fence cutting
from smaller ranchers