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The Wild Wild West

The Wild Wild West. Geography of the West. Towns in Missouri were thought to be the end before the frontier Frontier – unsettled land in western United States The West is considered states beyond the Rocky Mountains like Oregon, California, etc.

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The Wild Wild West

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  1. The Wild Wild West

  2. Geography of the West • Towns in Missouri were thought to be the end before the frontier • Frontier – unsettled land in western United States • The West is considered states beyond the Rocky Mountains like Oregon, California, etc. • There are deserts, mountains, rivers, lakes, basins, plateaus, mesas, & even a volcano in the West

  3. Influence of Railroads • Railroads helped settle the West • Trains carried resources like: minerals, timber, crops, & cattle to the East coast • Trains also carried miners, ranchers, & farmers to settle the West • Trains & Native Americans – not friends • Train routes often went through the routes of the animals they hunted or even through their own lands

  4. Go West, Why? • Before the Civil War, the South did not want the land in the West settled • They feared more non-slave territories • Government decided it was time to settle the west by offering free land • Homestead Act – You can have 160 acres for free if you live on it for 5 years and improve it • Many African Americans settled in Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, & Illinois after the Civil War • The Railroads were growing • It’s easier to head west

  5. Challenges in the West • Many challenges faced the people who moved West • There were no trees, so houses were built from sod (thick grass) • Had to dig wells for water • Blizzards, hailstorms, tornados, fires, drought • Insects ate crops • New inventions helped some of the challenges • Steel plow – helped farming & built sod houses • Windmills – helped pump water from wells • Barbed wire – kept cattle in or out • Reapers & threshers – helped harvest crops

  6. Mining in the West • Gold has struck again in Nevada, Colorado, & South Dakota • People raced to go to these areas • Boomtowns appeared due to gold strikes • Boomtown – a town that has a sudden burst of population & economic growth • When the gold & other mined resources ran out people moved to the next town • Boomtowns became ghost towns

  7. Cattle Drives • Cattle ranching made big money for 20 years • Ranchers hired cowhands to drive cattle from Texas to Kansas • Vaqueros – 1st cowhands came from Mexico • Cattle was put on trains & sent east • Cattle driving was very difficult - you had to keep the cows or “the money” together • Obstacles were: nature, thieves, & Native Americans

  8. Native American Life • Most Plains tribes lived in villages • The Spanish brought horses in the 1500’s to the Native Americans & changed their way of life • Horses helped travel & hunting buffalo • All parts of the buffalo were used: food, clothing, blankets, tools, jewelry, etc. • Now Native Americans could travel with the buffalo

  9. The Government Lies • The Native Americans were promised no one would take their land (HA! We know better) • When the settlers kept whining they wanted more land the government broke their promise • The government set up “boundaries” or “reservations” for the Native Americans • Some Native Americans went along with this while others resisted • Sand Creek Massacre – The Cheyenne fought back & the militia killed 150 tribe members

  10. Native American Leaders • Sitting Bull & Crazy Horse – Sioux chiefs who tried to push settlers off their land • Chief Joseph – Nez Perce chief said, “It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises.” • Geronimo – an Apache leader who resisted to being put on a reservation • No matter how hard they tried, unfortunately the Native Americans ended up on reservations anyway

  11. Dawes Act • There were people who actually believed what we had done to the Native Americans was wrong • An idea of assimilation was discussed as a way for Native Americans to “fit in” to white culture • Dawes Act – encouraged Native Americans to give up their customs to become farmers on reservations • Not all Native Americans wanted to be farmers • If they did want to be farmers, they weren’t given the tools or technology the white man had, so it was very difficult

  12. Women in the West • Life was challenging for women in the West • Life was lonely due to few neighbors & women did not go into town with the men • Women were doctors, nurses, cooks, mothers, teachers, & responsible for the homestead • Homestead – a piece of land & the house on it • The Western states acknowledged the importance of women • Wyoming was the first state to fight for women’s right to vote • Soon after Colorado, Utah, and Idaho stood up for women too

  13. Western Cities • Cities grew for a few reasons • Gold & precious mineral strikes • A “refueling” or supply renewal point • Railroad stops • Many cities did not have formal laws or government • Cities & towns were rough • Some people took the law into their own hands • Vigilantes made their own rules

  14. Don’t Forget Us • There were many groups of people who helped make the West what it is today • Vaqueros – the 1st cowhands from Mexico • African Americans – cattle ranchers & western army soldiers • Chinese immigrants – builders of the railroad in the West • Native Americans – promises broken & forced to leave their homes • Pioneers – all those crazy, um, I mean brave people who took a chance

  15. Closing the Frontier • Fenced in fields replaced open plains • In Oklahoma thousands of people rushed at the sound of a gun shot to claim land for themselves – 2 million acres were sold • The frontier meant opportunity for many • You could make something of yourself if you moved West • You could start a new life • A good day - was a day of good, hard work

  16. How the West has influenced us today… • Cowboy boots & hats • Blue Jeans • Leather goods (bags, coats, vests, suspenders, etc.) • Home remedies (Hiccups – drink water while standing on your head) • Saddles • Stories (Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, Jesse James) • movies, books, poems, songs • Railroad growth & travel • Food - apples, potatoes, salt water taffy • Activities – rodeos, card games, bull riding • Patterned clothing • Treasure hunts • Pony Express – the 1st post office • Bandanas

  17. Slang of the “Wild West” • Big Bug - - an important person • Coffee boiler - - a lazy person • Dude - - a person from the East • Fandango - - a big party • Fetch - - Bring or give • Fork over - - to pay • Fuss - - disturbance • Get a wiggle on - - hurry up • Grand - - excellent beautiful • Hobble your lip - - be quiet • Howdy - - hello • In apple pie order - - in tip top shape • Jig is up - - it is over • Pass the buck - - to avoid responsibility • Pull in your horns - - Back off! • Skedaddle - - RUN! • Stumped - - confused

  18. Sources • Garcia, Jesus, et.al. (2003). Creating America. Chapter 19 Sections 1-4.McDougal Littell. Evanston, Illinois. • Atwater, G.M. “Western Slangs & Phrases.” A Writer’s Guide to the Old West. October 26, 2006. April 21, 2007. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~poindexterfamily/OldWestSlang.html

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