American West - Cattlemen & Cowboys
THE APPEARANCE OF A COWBOY
What was a cowboy's hat called and what was it made of? A Stetson, made of felt
How did a Stetson provide protection for a cowboy? Protected from sun, rain and frostbite in winter (it could be pulled down over ears)
What was the name of the handkerchief worn by cowboys? Bandana
What was a bandana useful for? To be pulled up over the nose and mouth to protect from dust
What were 'chaps'? Thick overgarment trousers that were made to withstand thorny vegetation and protect legs from chafing or in case of a fall.
THE CATTLE TRAILS
By the end of the Civil War in 1865, how many longhorn cattle were roaming in Texas? 5 million
Why did cattlemen bother driving cattle out of Texas? Markets in the North would pay 10 times the price beef fetched in Texas
Why didn't Charles Goodnight take his hugely grown herd of cattle to Eastern markets? He had heard that US troops were holding Indians captive in a reservation and that they were starving - he saw a marketing opportunity.
Who was the experienced cattle drover Goodnight teamed up with? Oliver Loving
What nearly ruined the Goodnight-Loving expedition? Lack of water
How many cattle did Goodnight manage to get to Fort Sumner? 1,700
What did Goodnight subsequently become famous for? Supplying the US army and Indian reservations, even as far north as Fort Laramie 1200km away.
Why did armed mobs sometimes attack cattlemen on the trails? They were afraid that a deadly tick carried by longhorn cattle (but not affecting them) would infect their own cattle on their land.
Why were rustlers on the trails prepared to fight and kill cattlemen? They wanted the profitable longhorns for themselves.
What group of people killed Loving in 1867 and were always a problem on trails? Hostile Indians (the Comanche tribe killed Loving)
Why was trying to establish cattle trails further east a problem? The grass along these new trails was poor and the cattle would arrive in poor condition.W
Who had a plan to set up the first cow town? Joseph McCoy
What was the idea of the cow towns? That the southern cattlemen and northern buyer could meet further west, avoiding problems of long trails.
What was the name of the first cow town? Abilene
Along which railway was Abilene built? The Kansas Pacific Railroad
How many cattle passed through Abilene between 1867 and 1881? 1.5 million
By how much greater were prices for cattle in the cow towns than in Texas? 10 times greater
How did McCoy make money? He took commission on every head of cattle sold through Abilene
For what three reasons did the cattle drives end? The railroads brought homesteaders, who disrupted cattle trails / the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 made cowboys pay to drive cattle across Indian land / the cattlemen realised it would be easier to raise cattle on the Plains rather than driving cattle across them
Which man introduced cattle ranching and became a very successful entrepreneur? John Iliff
For what reasons was Iliff so successful? He experimented with selective breeding to produce better quality meat / He won contracts to supply railway companies with beef and also to the Sioux / He utilised newly invented refrigerated railroad cars to send his beef to the East
What is the definition of 'open range'? Land that was claimed but not owned, where cattle could roam freely and graze where the grass was best.
Which five years were peak years for ranching on the Plains? 1880-85
THE CATTLE BUST
Why was overstocking a problem? With more and more cows on the open range there was pressure on the grass, which was worsened by a drought of 1883.
Why were prices of beef lowered in the eastern states? Beef became so readily available that in order to sell what they had bought shops had to lower their prices.
Did customers like longhorn cattle beef? Originally it was all that was available, until this tough meat was taken over by fatter and softer meats.
When was the devastating winter that destroyed cattle ranching? 1885
How low could temperatures fall in this winter? -55 degrees celsius
How did ranching evolve as a result of the cattle bust? Smaller units to produce high-quality meat were created, fenced in where breeding was carefully managed.
Why did the new, smaller ranches cause clashes with homesteaders? Homesteaders claimed that the ranches were cutting off their water supply. (Wind pumps solved this problem)
Why did having smaller herds turn out to be easier? The cattle could easily be found and looked after in extreme weather, and in times of drought water could be found. It was also more sustainable, making better use of resources.
THE LIFE OF A COWBOY
What did the job of a cowboy entail? Rounding up cattle, sorting out which ones would go on the drives, organising the cattle on the trails and ensuring they didn't wander off.
What could cows do if startled, particularly in early days of the trail? Stampede, which was highly dangerous and was difficult for cowboys to recover from.
What kind of wildlife could cause problems on the drives? Wolves, scorpions, poisonous snakes
Although water was vital for survival, when could it be a problem? In the form of rivers which had to be crossed, with dangerous undercurrents. Quicksand was also common.
Why could Indians be unpredictable? Some were friendly and helpful to the cowboys, whereas others were aggressive and would steal cattle due to lack of buffalo.
Why did some cowboys find it difficult to adjust to ranching? It destroyed the 'open range', wild life they were used to, although they were more comfortable in bunkhouses with proper food.
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