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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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geography of the 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.
  • There are deserts, mountains, rivers, lakes, basins, plateaus, mesas, & even a volcano in the West
influence of railroads
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
go west why
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
challenges in the west
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
mining in the west
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
cattle drives
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
native american life
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
the government lies
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
native american leaders
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
dawes act
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
women in the west
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
western cities
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
don t forget us
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
closing the frontier
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
how the west has influenced us today
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
slang of the wild west
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
  • Garcia, Jesus, (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.