Understanding the Homestead Act Any person over 21 who was the head of the family could receive 160 acres of land with no cost. The person had to live on the land for 5 years and make improvements to it. Railroads were also given land by the government to build tracks across the Great Plains.
Settlers From cities east, it would take 6 weeks to reach the Great Plains. After reaching the Plains, settlers had to till the land, build a log cabin or sod house, and be an expert farmer. Families lived far from each other and it was usually very lonely. They had to be SELF EFFICIENT.
Life on the Homestead Settlers also had to worry about other ways to use resources. Built fences with rocks and dirt. Slept on mattresses filled with cornhusks and straw. To make fires, they used corncobs, straw and dried manure called buffalo chips. To get water they needed to dig deep wells and build large windmills to pump the water out..