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Miners, Ranchers and Cowhands

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Presentation on theme: "Miners, Ranchers and Cowhands"— Presentation transcript:

1 Miners, Ranchers and Cowhands

2 Geography and Population of the West
Wagon trains left Independence, Missouri, to travel into the frontier. These trains crossed the Great Plains to get to fertile soil in Oregon and Gold in California.

3 Geography and Population of the West
300,000 Native Americans lived on the Great Plains and followed the buffalo herds. Railroads played a key role in settling the West. Trains carried natural resources of the West – minerals, timber, crops and cattle – to eastern markets. Trains also brought settlers from the East to live in the West.

4 Mining in the West 1859 – gold discovered at Pikes Peak, Colorado
1859 – Comstock Lode hit pay dirt in Nevada. This mine produced $300 million in silver and gold.

5 Mining in the West Virginia City, Nevada became a boomtown when its population increased from 3000 to 20,000 in 10 years. Miners came from all over the world to get rich quick.

6 Mining in the West Only large companies could afford the expensive equipment needed to use water cannons to expose gold deposits or sink mine shafts thousands of feet underground Panning for gold

7 Mining in the West When the gold and silver ran out, the people left the boomtown. The result was a ghost town.

8 The Rise of the Cattle Industry
When railroads extended into Kansas the cattle ranchers were able to drive their herds to the railroad and ship them to markets in the east.

9 The Rise of the Cattle Industry
Ranchers let their cattle graze on open range for several years to fatten up and then they could sell them for ten times their original price. Cowboys would round up the cattle and drive them north to the cow towns in Kansas. They could then sell them for a large profit.

10 The Rise of the Cattle Industry
Cowboys driving cattle on the long drive from Texas to Kansas.

11 Vaqueros and Cowhands Vaqueros, the first cowhands, taught the American cowboy everything they needed to know about roping, riding and caring for cattle. They adapted the saddle, spurs, lariat and chaps of vaqueros. One in three cowhands were either African-American or Mexican

12 The “Wild West” There was no law and order early on in the fast growing towns of the West.

13 The “Wild” West Vigilantes were people who took the law into their own hands. They caught the criminal and punished them without a trial. The punishment was often hanging them fro the nearest tree.

14 End of the Long Drive There were several factors that hurt the cattle industry. They were: Falling prices (from $30 to $7 a head) Barbed wire fences cut off their trails to railroads and Harsh winters of : thousands of cattle froze to death on the northern Plains.

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