Created by Ronna
There’s Gold In Them There Hills
• Placer Mining was used to extract gold
& minerals from the ground, but only
the shallow level of ground was
penetrated with this method.
Equipment like picks, shovels &
pans were used in Placer Mining.
• After Placer Mining, corporations would
move in to begin Quartz Mining.
• Quartz Mining dug deep beneath the
» When there were no more deposits to dig, the
corporations that mined disappeared.
• The blue-gray mud
out to be pure
News of this strike
caused a boom of
30,000 people to
crowd into Virginia
Land in Six-Mile
Virginia City, Nevada had been
only a frontier outpost.
Suddenly, the town had
1. Opera house
2. Shops with European clothes &
3. Several Newspapers
4. A 6 story hotel with the west
first “rising room”..
What Was A Boomtown Like?
•Crime was a serious problem
All those people & no sheriff
They did have Vigilance Committees
(volunteers who enforced laws)
•They often punished innocent people
by accident or on purpose.
•Women worked at “hurdy-gurdy” houses
where they danced for a drink.
While some were mining silver
and digging for gold, other people
headed out west to build
ranches on the Great Plains.
In the early 1800s, no one thought
building a cattle ranch on the Great
Plains would be successful because
the cattle from the east
couldn’t live on the tough
A breed of cattle that descended from Mexico had emerged in Texas!
This breed of cow was adapted to the tough grass and
climate of the Great Plains. The government offered free
Range to all cattle. The grazing land was owned by the
American government. It was free & unrestricted by the
ownership of private farms.
Mexican cowhands taught the
American herders the art of
rounding up & driving cattle. They
helped to create America’s first
Before the Civil War, there was
No reason to round up the
Texas Longhorns because beef
prices were so low!
1.The Civil War
2.Construction of the Railroads
Cattle could be driven
up North to the Rail
Transported to the
east at 10 times the
price the cowboys
could get in Texas for
the same cows.
During the Civil War,
the Cattle were
needed in the east to
feed the soldiers.
Between 1867 & 1871 nearly
1.5 million head of cattle traveled
On the Chisholm trail.
When Abilene was full
of cowboys, it rivaled
any mining town in
With the prosperity of the cattlemen
came an era of lawlessness. The famed
gunman Wild Bill Hickok served as
Abilene 's marshal in 1871 and is
reputed to have killed more than 50
alleged lawbreakers during his brief
tenure. The appearance of
homesteaders and fenced ranges
discouraged the Texas cattle trade,
much of which was diverted to Wichita.
Winter-wheat cultivation was introduced
in Abilene in the mid-1870s and remains
economically important. Abilene is still
a shipping point for livestock, as well as
for grain and other agricultural
products, and it has some light
Abilene." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
1 Jan. 2008 <http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9003356>.
In 1876 Hickok married a widow, Mrs.
Agnes Lake Thatcher, but he soon left her
(in Cincinnati) to visit the goldfields of the
Black Hills in the Dakota Territory. It was
there, at a poker table in Nuttall & Mann's
No. 10 saloon in Deadwood, that Hickok
was shot dead by a drunken stranger, Jack
McCall. The cards Hickok was holding—a
pair of black aces and a pair of black eights
plus an unknown fifth card—became
known as the dead man's hand. McCall's
motive was never learned; he was tried,
convicted of murder, and hanged on March
Hickok, Wild Bill." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
1 Jan. 2008 <http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9040358>.
*Thousands of Cattle were rounded up & gathered from the open ranges.
*The brands on the cattle was the only thing that distinguished one from the
*The ranchers branded their cattle before moving them.
*Stray calves with no brand were divided up between the different owners
Most of the cowboys on the cattle
drives were former Confederate
soldiers who after the war were
trying to rebuild their lives.
Many were Mexican & some were African
Americans who had been freed after the Civil
The open range would end when ranch owners began to build fences to
prevent sheep herders from grazing the land meant for cattle.
The price of beef fell due to oversupply & many went bankrupt.
Then, in the winter of 1886, blizzards covered the ground so deep that
Cattle could not graze any grass.
Temperatures fell to 40 degrees below zero.
The fences were usually made of barbed wire
not wood fences.
The Cattle Industry survived,
but it was changed forever.
The days of the open range had
Herds were fenced in on
ranches and the cowboy
became a ranch
hand who worked on the
farm of the wealthy owner.
Created by Ronna
•Extends all the way to the Rocky Mountains to about
the center of Abilene ,Texas.
•Rainfall is about 20 inches each year on the
Great Plains & trees grow only along the banks of
Rivers & Streams.
•Many people considered the Great Plains to be a
Desert unfit for farming or grazing.
The Transcontinental Railroad
encouraged the establishment of towns
along the railroad.
The Government encouraged people to
settle the Great Plains by passing the
•People could claim up to 160 acres of public land & get the title to the land
if they lived there for 5 years.
The people who decided to
take the offer faced many
No trees to build a home
No water to drink
People were forced to build homes from
sod cut from the ground.
They had to dig wells 300 feet deep to tap
Summer temperatures soared to over 100 degrees!
Prairie fires were a constant threat.
Grasshopper swarms swept over farms & destroyed
Winter brought blizzards and bitter cold!
• New Farming Methods
• Dry farming required planting seeds deep
Into the ground where there was enough
moisture to help them grow.
New Equipment made dry farming easier:
seed drills, steel plows, reapers
And threshing machines helped
to farm wheat.
Steel Plow [“Sod Buster”]
Farmers weren’t familiar with the
prairie soil & when they used dry
farming to plant seeds during the
dry season, all the soil just blew
away with the wind.
These farmers were called sodbusters!
Most lost their homesteads through because
of drought, wind erosion, and overuse of the
They had the same problem with the
wind, but they were able to
make quick profits by using
mechanical reapers to speed harvests.
Wheat became to
the Great Plains
like cotton was
to the south!
Many farmers moved to
The Great Plains Region to
Farm wheat producing the
New machines allowed a single family to bring in a
Some of these wheat farms were 50,000 acres.
They were called Bonanza Farms because they
made so much profit!
The United States became the
world’s largest exporter of wheat
in the 1880s.
Other Nations trying to compete
Caused an oversupply of wheat &
A terrible drought in
the late 1880s also
strained the farms.
Most farmers had to borrow money
On their lands. When they couldn’t
pay, the bank took their ranches.
Some were given the chance to stay
And work on the farms they once
owned, as tenant workers.
By 1900, 1/3 of the
farms were tenant
farms in the Wheat
Much of the land in the west was still unoccupied by 1890,
but the Government reported that it was nearly full when it
took a census of People living in the west.
It was upsetting to some people who always had the hope
of being able to go west and make a new start.
Even though news spread that the frontier
was closing, many more people traveled
west in the 1900s making their new starts,
but unlike the stories of “getting rich
quick”, the work was hard in their new
Water from the deep wells watered their gardens.
The Railroad brought lumber to build houses & coal to
use for fuel.
The real story of the people who went west wasn’t about
Heroes who rode off into the sunset.
It was about “regular ole’ people” who built places to live,
formed Communities and worked hard to do what had to
They didn’t get rich, but most were
proud of the lives they had made
on the frontier.
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Native Americans lived in North America long before
Europeans even knew the continent existed.
The Great Plains people were nomads who followed the
Suddenly people arrived calling themselves
“Americans”, claiming land for themselves and killing
buffalo almost to the point of extinction.
Americans broke treaties that promised
Native Americans rights to lands &
Forced them to relocate.
Native Americans resisted by attacking wagons, trains,
stage coaches and ranches.
The first major clash happened in 1862 when the Sioux
People in Minnesota launched an uprising.
The Dekota Sioux had been moved to a reservation in
Minnesota with the promise of the United States
Government paying them each year for the land they left
The money was called annuities because it came once each year.
American traders in the area made up fake debts owed to them by the
Sioux & took the annuities meant for the Sioux.
The United States government was late making the annuities payments in
the year of 1862. As the Sioux waited for the money, many of their people
Chief Little Crow asked the American traders to allow his people to get
Food on credit until the annuities arrived.
The trader who answered Little Crow was Andrew Myrick,
“If they are hungry let them eat grass or their own dung.”
Two weeks later, Myrick was found shot to death with grass stuffed in his
Little Crow & the Sioux killed hundreds of soldiers & civilians before the
Uprising was put down.
307 Dakota Sioux were sentenced to death, but
President Lincoln reviewed the evidence & reduced
the number of people to be executed to 38.
Colonel John Chivington
Kill and scalp all, big and
Sandy Creek, CO
Sand Creek Massacre
November 29, 1864
The Cheyenne were waiting at a fort
To negotiate a peace treaty with the
Americans. Because they had been
Attacking women & children, Chivington
The Cheyenne were flying a
White flag & an America flag, but
Chivington ignored the symbols
The United States Senate investigated Chivington’s attack & brought
No charges against him. This outraged many Americans who saw what
He did to the Cheyenne as unjustifiable.
Capt. William J. Fetterman
80 soldiers massacred
December 21, 1866
Lakota Sioux leader,
Crazy Horse led
Fetterman into a trap.
Crazy Horse tricked
Fetterman into following
a small band of Lakota,
& lured him into an
hundreds of Lakota
Indians waited to
massacre him & his
GOLD had been discovered in Black Hills, South Dakota. So many
Americans had rushed to the area killing buffalo so rapidly they were
Professional hunters hunted the buffalo to sell the hides. Many
hunters killed buffalo by the hundreds just for sport leaving their
bodies to rot. The Railroad companies hired sharp shooters to kill
large numbers of buffalo who were blocking the railways’ traffic.
The Lakota Sioux & Cheyenne Indians were not supposed to leave
the reservation, but left to hunt for food near the Bighorn
Mountains in Montana.
Lt. Colonel George A. Custer underestimated the 2,500
Native Americans & attacked them in daylight as they camped by the
Little Bighorn River.
The Lakota Sioux & Cheyenne Indians killed all of Custer’s men. Newspapers
Reported Custer as the victim. Lakota Sioux Chief, Sitting Bull tried to
Flee with his people to Canada, but the Americans forced him & his people
Back onto the reservation in the Black Hills.
The Battle of Little Big Horn
Chief Sitting Bull
Crazy Horse Monument:
Black Hills, SD
Chief Joseph!Nez Percé
“Our Chiefs are killed…The little
Children are freezing to death. My
People…have no blankets, no food
Hear me, my chiefs; I am tired; my
Heart is sick and sad. From where
The sun now stands I will fight no
When Americans tried to
force Chief Joseph’s tribe
onto a smaller
Reservation in Idaho, he
fled running for than 1300
miles before being
“Ghost Dance”, 1890
The Native Americans were not
Supposed to practice this type of ritual
Which would cause the settlers to disappear
& bring back the buffalo.
A terrible battle took place at
Wounded Knee Creek as the
Participants of the Ghost dance
Were attacked.Chief Sitting
Bull Was Blamed
Tragedy at Wounded Knee
• The government sent police to arrest Chief
Sitting Bull for leading the Ghost Dance.
Sitting Bull’s people tried to stop the arrest,
and an exchange of gunfire killed many
Including Chief Sitting Bull.
• After Chief Sitting Bull was killed, the
People who were part of the Ghost Dance
Ran from the reservation.
• On Dec. 29, 1890, American troops caught
Up with the Ghost Dancers at Wounded
Knee Creek & tried to force a surrender.
• A terrible battle took place by Wounded
Chief Big Foot’s Lifeless Body
Wounded Knee, SD, 1890
25 U.S. Soldiers killed
200 Lakota men,
Women and Children
Helen Hunt Jackson
A Century of Dishonor (1881)
She described all
The broken promises
Had given to the
Facts from the
At Sand Creek.
Dawes Act (1887):
Carlisle Indian School, PA
The process of
Their culture &