The Great Die-Up: Dead Cattle, Snow for Miles

Back in the late 19th century, the land that is now Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas were mostly miles and miles of open terrain, punctuated by the settlements of the few intrepid settlers who braved isolation and hostile conditions in hopes of finding adventure and a decent living.

Many who quested out from the east (including the grand adventurer himself, Theodore Roosevelt) came for the beef business. The fenceless open range meant grazing land was easy to come by, so ranchers could own massive herds of cattle. Between 1866 and 1885, around 5.7 million cattle were driven to market or northern ranges, Modern Farmer reports.


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