Barbed Wire The introduction or barbed wire had an adverse impact on the cultures that subsisted on the open spaces. Plains Tribes and the buffalo herds they follow could no longer move freely across the now-vanishing expanses and ranchers had nowhere left to graze or even herd their cattle along the cattle drives.
Early conflicts were caused when the homesteaders tried to stop the cattle drives. They were afraid of damage to their crops and of Texas fever infecting their animals.
This conflict was one of the reasons for the end of the cattle drives.
From the 1870's onwards, cattle ranchers settled on the plains and conflicts continued. The cattle ranchers wanted 'open range' with access to water for the cattle. The homesteaders wanted to fence off their crops to protect them, this could cut off the water and bring the two sides into direct conflict.
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