Wild West

In the beginning moving West was the majority of the barriers and obstructions that the setters had to face. Indian attacks, blizzards, tornadoes, flash floods and just being ill prepared among and numerous other hard ships took many settlers lives and were tough to over come. The journey was across a uniform, dusty, wind-swept, treeless nothingness. The temperatures would very a lot between 110 and below freezing. Not to mention that there was no trees for shade or cover from the storms.
In this book there is a lot of first hand diaries, artifacts and photographs that show how it was in the 1800’s and how hard it really was to make the trip to the west and live there. This book is about how the west was won. It is also about emigrants from China and Europe, slaves that had just been freed, teachers from New England schools, and just some farm boys or opportunist from the south and mid west. They all found out that the west was so enormous and commendatory. They could not believe this native land was so immense and enormous. One reason for heading west was the Homestead Act, which would give deserving people sites or land to individuals who stayed on there land for five years.
There were six main Trails that they took; the Oregon Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, Mormon Trail, Gila River Trail, California Trail and the Old Spanish Trail.
Some people even came out West on the Transcontinental Railroad that was recently built. The settlers could even buy the land on the plains from the Rail Company. The rail road company had been granted great tracks of land by the United States government on both sides of the railroad and was later sold to settlers. The Native Americans suffered from this flow of people from the east and this would change their lives forever. There were many struggles and the quest to just stay alive is why today we call it the “Wild West”. Especially when a good number of them were dishonest scoundrels or just drifters and adventurers. Plus, most of them were armed.
The first thing the settlers needed to get done was to dig a well. Well digging was very hard job and often had to be done many times because they would run dry or they just couldn’t hit water. For the families that just arrived getting a crop in was another one of the many important chores. Much needed indeed, but tasks like haying, threshing, harvesting and weeding among others keep the farmers hard at work. All of the family had some part in the farming. Boys and girls all helped out in some way or another. The work was hard and there was a lot of it. Some farmed for themselves, others sold their crops for things that they needed. In all, just about everyone did farm in one way or another.
Moving cattle to the Indians reservations and the railroad construction crew the cowboys became American archetype. For this new booming industry cowboys would be the rugged new personnel. Most cowboys were young and were ether union or confederate soldier that had finished the Civil War. Others were drop outs from Eastern Universities but a lot were from every background, state and race just looking for excitement and challenge.
Making houses in the plains with no trees for lumber made a bit of a challenge for the pioneers. The pioneers made sod houses out of the land they were standing on, this land needed to have the sod removed to farm anyway. An acre of farmland would be the amount of turf that was required to build a “Soddie” (sod house). The Soddies were infested with animals and bugs along with the dust that covered every thing in the house. This was just one dilemma the settlers encountered with these houses. Nature often had other ideas for the settlers though. Many violent disasters like blizzards, tornadoes, dust storms and plain fires hit them and wrecked homes and crops. Many of these catastrophes had a devastating effect on them and it could take years to get back to where they were. Once again this was another one of the struggles on the plains.
Once they have arrived in the West