Cowboys in the American West the cowboy had become a part of the American psyche. Something there was about him—tall in the saddle, alone, facing danger, one man against nature’s vast, treeless plains and humanity’s outlaws—that appealed to people and made the cowboy a folk hero, a half-real, half-mythological symbol of the American West.The men who worked the cattle in the treeless expanses of the West, at least one-fourth of them blacks, became known as cowboys.

Ranchers staked out homesteads often centered in a cottonwood grove, with ample water nearby; they grazed their cattle over thousands of acres of public domain. Barbed wire, a web of railroads throughout the Great Plains, and enforcement of federal land laws all put an end to the open-range cattle industry and the great trails. By the mid-1880's prudent cattlemen realized that the industry was over expanded, the Great Plains overgrazed, and the price of beef declining.

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Created with images by Woody H1 - "Bunkhouse Kitchen" • skeeze - "cattle drive longhorn cows"

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