Life in the Old West

True stories, tall tales, memorabilia of the American West

Posts Tagged ‘Great Plains’

Railroads brought people, but fences settled Great Plains region

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012:

While the onward march of the railroads is generally credited with bringing people to the Great Plains, it was only the technology of fencing that made serious settlement of the region possible. According to writer Richard O’Connor in his fascinating history of railroad expansion, “Iron Wheels and Broken Men,” railroads could have been built across and through the Plains as early as the 1850s and filled the region with people — but the development of effective fencing to make the region work for serious farming and settlement of the lands didn’t come along until the 1870s.

Read more>

Grass played major role in shaping life, language of the Plains

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012:

Grass not only covered thousands of square miles of the West as U.S. pioneers began expanding from the East, it also shaped life across the Plains — even molding common language and “Westernisms” that gave color to the American English of the day.

Stories abound about the hardships and dangers settlers faced as they cleared and tamed the center of our continent. From bison herds numbering in the tens of thousands to prairie grass fires that raged uncontrolled as far as the eye could see, the obstacles were many and sometimes seemed deceptively benign. For instance, who would think children setting out on foot through the grasslands of Nebraska to look for their older brother who was out herding cattle were facing any particular dangers?

Read more>

Blizzards in Old West days

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009:

Blizzard of 1886 was especially memorable, but winter on Plains and in mountains could always be a fearful time. Read more>

Page 1 of 21 2