Occupation of cowboys emerged in America in the middle of the last century, along with the grazing cattle on the sparsely populated expanses of the West and Midwest. Cow business then belonged to two or three dozen of cow barons, large cattle dealers, and cowboys were their laborers. These poor people were proud and brave daring riders. Ten men could take care of the herd from two or three thousand cows. Each cowboy was a shepherd, guard, veterinarian, and drover. Cowboys lost in the infinite territories were one on one with the nature, and therefore were able to guess any changes in weather, and could find with the help of hardly noticeable signs watering and shelter for livestock. People’s lives then were primitive and difficult. But the unwritten ethics of cowboys didn’t allow any talks about hardships. Deprivation was reimbursed by free life, daring, and sometimes risky bravado. A horse for a cowboy was the greatest joy and the only property.
Cowboys played an important role in cattle towns. Cowboys allowed the cattle towns to survive economically.
In spring, cowboys gathered flock. In autumn, they drove cows on long distances to sell. From cattle towns of Texas, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana the herd were driven to the east, to the railways, where it went to slaughterhouses of Chicago, or San Luis. In order to bring the whole herd to the final destination, cowboys had to protect it, shooting, wolves, bandits, and rebellious Indians.
The first cattle town was formed in Abilene, which was the market for Texan cattle. It was a prosperous market until farmers too all of its remote ranges. Later, Wichita and Ellsworth became major cattle towns. They were located on rival railroads and competed for the cattle trade.
When many Texan drivers became unsatisfied with the Kansas Pacific Railroad they started to look for the lower prices of the Union Pacific.
The first cattle town in Nebraska was Schuyler, but when the settlers came into the area they forced cattle drivers look for a new marketplace. The next cattle town in Nebraska was Kearney, but again the settling around the surrounding lands blocked it from the cattle trail.
Cheyenne in Wyoming with its easy access to the railroad became the center of the state’s cattle trade. It differed from the usual cattle towns by the fact that it was also a cultural and social center, known for its opera house. Unlike other cattle towns, Cheyenne didn’t rely solely on the cattle trade, as it had a diverse economy.
Occupation of cowboys emerged in America in the middle of the last century, along with the grazing cattle on the sparsely populated expanses of the West and Midwest. Cow business then belonged to two or three dozen of cow barons, large cattle dealers, and cowboys were their laborers. These poor people were proud and brave daring riders.