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Discover_our_World_Yellow / Lesson 14: The Wild West

The Wild West

The Wild West


  • In the West in the 1800s, there was a need for cowboys.

  • Cowboys were needed to round up the cattle (cows) and herd them to the railroads to sell them to make more money


Cattle Drives


  • A Cattle Drive was the long journey taken by the cowboys to herd, or drive (move) cattle from ranches in the West to the trails that led to the railroads

  • The Cowboys came from many backgrounds, such as: some were former Confederate soldiers, some were freed African Americans, some were Mexican Americans, and some Native Americans also became cowboys


Nat Love


  • Nat Love was a African slave before he became a cowboy

  • Nat Love wrote about his experiences as a cowboy

  • Nat Love also became a champion roper of the Western cattle country


The Hard Life of Cowboys


  • Cowboys worked hard

  • The Cowboys worked all day long

  • The Chuck wagons carried the food and supplies for the cowboys

  • The cowboys were in charge of 2000-3000 longhorn cattle

  • It took 8-20 cowboys to tend a herd



  Cowboy Dangers


  • Cowboys faced the following dangers:

  • 1. Thieves

  • 2. Native Americans who wanted to stop others from crossing their lands

  • 3. Controlling the large herd of cattle---this was because if the cattle got scared it could cause a stampede

  • A stampede was when the cows in fear trampled anything in their path---even lightening could scare the cows and then it was difficult to settle the cows and calm them down---cowboys could be killed in trying to stop the stampede

  • Sometimes cowboys sang to cows to keep them calm



Western Towns


  • Many towns began to develop near the railroad tracks ---as settlers moved West

  • In Kansas their were 2 towns that were called railheads because they were by railroads---the towns were: Dodge City, Kansas and Abilene, Kansas

  • Railheads are towns by the railroads that cowboys passed by or stayed in on the way back from their journey to the railroads




Joseph McCoy


  • Joseph McCoy realized that he could make a lot of money if he built cattle pens or stockyards in cities

  • McCoy built stockyards which are cattle pens---these are places to store cows in the city, while the cowboys rest in the city

  • McCoy built the cattle pens in Abilene, Kansas in 1867



Cow towns  


  • Cow towns were towns that cowboys stayed at in the West, while they passed through on the way to the railroads or on the way back

  • Cow towns had stores, restaurants, hotels, and saloons






The Pony Express


  • Ranked among the most remarkable feats to come out of the 1860 American West, the Pony Express was in service from April 1860 to November 1861.

  • The pony express was a mail service where riders on horseback traveled from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California.

  • Riders changed horses at stations placed about ten to fifteen miles apart. A rider handed the mail pack over to another rider after completing about 75 miles.

  • One of the most famous riders was Buffalo Bill Cody. The pony express lasted only nineteen months, from April 3, 1860 to October 24, 1861. The pony express ended when the telegraph first crossed the continent.




The West


  • In the 1800s-the West was beginning to be a happening place

  • There were Native American Wars with The American Army

  • There were boom towns and railheads and cow towns developing

  • Cowboys were transporting cows

  • Railroads were being built

  • People were traveling west in covered wagons

  • The mail was delivered on horseback