“ The coming of the railroads was the main reason for the growth of the cattle industry on the Plains in the years 1865-85”
The rail roads certainly did play a very important part in the growth of the cattle industry. It meant that it was a lot more convenient and less time consuming to transport cattle (obviously a very important part of the whole cattle trading business). It also provided more people with the opportunity to buy ‘base land’ (name given to land used as a ‘base to the business), as the rail way offered owned land surrounding track at very reasonable prices.
However, I personally disagree with the statement that the railroads were the main reason for the growth of the cattle industry, but it was certainly one of them, amongst many others:
Firstly, one of the most important events was the civil war. During it, the soldiers obviously needed feeding and a major part of a soldiers diet is meat, so this made a major opportunity for anyone planning o starting up a ranch. After it had ended, It left thousands of survivors, who, after experiencing traumatic events wished not to return home, but to begin a new life. This meant that there were many men, looking for a new job/business, so anyone who owned a ranch would not be short of employees.
Another ‘feeding problem’ arose in the reservations where the remaining plains indians were being kept. The plains indians had been defeated (despite putting up a healthy battle), and the government had now confided them to reservations. However, obviously the needed feeding, in some shape or form, and when a famine arose, the obvious choice was to turn to meat. This was a huge opportunity for the ranchers, as the meat didn't have to be particularly good quality, and the government would buy large amounts at cheap prices. This made some people a lot of money.
Many ranchers were inspired by two sets of men. The first was two men called Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving. They essentially led...