The Growing Demand for Beef

Home on the Range-Lyrics
Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Chorus Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Where the air is so pure, and the zephyrs so
The breezes so balmy and light,
That I would not exchange my home on the
For all of the cities so bright.
The Red man was pressed from this part of the
He's likely no more to return,
To the banks of the Red River where seldom if
Their flickering campfires burn.
How often at night when the heavens are
With the light from the glittering stars,
Have I stood there amazed and asked as I
If their glory exceeds that of ours.
Oh, I love these wild flowers in this dear land
of ours,
The curlew I love to hear cry,
And I love the white rocks and the antelope
That graze on the mountain slopes high.
Oh give me a land where the bright diamond
Flows leisurely down in the stream;
Where the graceful white swan goes gliding
Like a maid in a heavenly dream.
Then I would not exchange my home on the
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
 Due to rapidly growing cities (due to immigrants and work),
the post-Civil War industrialized north began to demand beef
in larger quantities.
 The Chicago Union Stockyards opened in 1865, and by spring
1866, the railroads were running all the way to Sedalia,
Missouri, shipping beef and cattle all throughout America.
 From Sedalia, Missouri, Texas ranchers could ship their cattle
to Chicago and Eastern markets. But the journeys from Texas
to Sedalia were often dangerous: thunderstorms, stampedes,
rain-swollen rivers, outlaws, and Native-Americans protecting
their land threatened the success of their journey.
Occasionally the cattle died of starvation or exhaustion.
 But if they made it through the long drive, they could be
sold for 10 times the price they would have gotten in Texas.
 Today, the American cowboy seems distinctly American;
in reality, he learned his way of life from the first
Spanish ranchers in Mexico: the vaqueros.
 The cowboy’s food, language, dress, and spirit were
heavily influenced by the vaquero. The vaquero was also
the first person to use spurs, metal spikes attached to
the boot heel to direct the horse.
 Moreover, many cowboy terms were adaptations of
Spanish words: bronco caballo or a “rough horse” that
ran wild, became known as a bronco or bronc. The
American ranch was an adaptation of the Mexican
rancho. The strays or mestenos, were the same mustangs
that the American cowboy tried to tame.
- Illinois cattle dealer Joseph McCoy approached several
Western towns with plans to create a shipping yard
where cattle trails and rail lines came together, allowing
cattle to be shipped North more easily.
- This plan gave rise to the “Cow Town.” One such town
was Abilene, Kansas.
- Abilene was unique because it connected trails such as
the Chisholm Trail –the major cattle route from San
Antonio, through Oklahoma to Kansas – to the railroad,
later to be shipped to cities such as Quincy, Chicago, or
 Roughly 55,000 cowboys worked the western plains between 1866 – 1885.
 A cowboy worked 14 or more hours on a cattle drive. He was an expert rider,
horseman, and marksman.
 His gun was used to protect the herd from wild animals or dangerous outlaws.
 The overland transport of the cattle, or long drive, lasted roughly three
 A typical drive included one cowboy for every 250 to 300 head of cattle –the
herds could number anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 cattle.
 A cook was also on board who setup camp and a wrangler cared for extra
 During the drive, the cowboys slept on the ground, bathed in rivers, risked
death at river crossings, and looked out for lightning –a loud crack of lightning
and thunder could easily send the cattle herd stampeding.
Map of the Long Drive and the Chisholm Trail, c. 1870
The Hunters’ SupperFrederic Remington
Stampeded by
Lightning – Frederic
Remington c.1908

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