The Wild West 1865-1889
While the Eastern United States was
beginning to experience the the Second Industrial Revolution (which started around 1871), the frontier
was beginning to fill up. In the early days of the wild west, a lot of the land was in the public domain, open both to livestock raising as open range and to homesteading. Throughout much of the Old West during
this time, there was little to no local law enforcement and the military had only concentrated presence in
the area at specific locations. Buffalo hunters, railroad workers, drifters and soldiers scrapped and fought, leading to the
shootings where men died with their boots on. In the cities, business houses, dance halls and saloons catered to the Texas
cattle drive trade. The historic Chisholm Trail was used for cattle drives. The trail ran for 800 miles
from South Texas to Abilene, Kansas and was used from 1867 to 1887 to drive cattle northward to the railhead of the Kansas
Pacific Railway, where they were shipped eastward. The trail was named after Jesse Chisholm who had built a number of trading posts. Cattle rustling was sometimes serious offense and was always a hazard
for the expeditions. It could result in the rustler's lynching by vigilantes (but most stories of this type are fictional).
Mexican rustlers were a major issue during the American Civil War, with the Mexican government being accused of supporting
the habit. Texans likewise stole cattle from Mexico, swimming them across the Rio Grande.