The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931 Page: 178
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
mental, something resistless, something perfectly in keeping with
the unconquered land about them."
With the removal of the "Indian barrier" from Wyoming and
Montana, with the stimulus of newly-built railroads, and with
plentiful stock from the Texas Trail, the northern country entered
upon the cattle boom. Feeding in the corn belt sped the growth
of the range business, tales of immense profits attracted foreign
and eastern capital, while the lure of boundless grass-lands at-
tracted men of adventure as well as of wealth. In 1883 "twenty
companies, with a total capitalization of over twelve million, were
incorporated under the territorial laws of Wyoming."
But "book counts," over-stocking, inflated values of cattle and
range, attendant wild speculation, and "betting against God Al-
mighty and a sub-Arctic winter," brought disaster and chaos to
the ranges in 1886 and 1887. "Then, and not for the last time,
the semi-arid West witnessed a retreat of those who asked too much
from an environment demanding an organization and a technique
which they as a group had not yet acquired."
Perhaps the chapter upon cattle raisers' associations, those extra-
legal organizations of the range, is the most interesting and en-
lightening. In Wyoming, where there were no conflicting occu-
pational or commercial interests, range procedure and sentiment
were legalized and made compulsory by the passage of territorial
laws. Independent round-ups were prohibited, membership closely
regulated, and even fines were imposed upon those allowing low-
grade bulls to run upon the range. General State policies were
shaped according to the interests of the range, as, for a decade or
more, the Wyoming Stock Growers' Association "was the unchal-
lenged sovereign of the Territory of Wyoming."
The effects of the stubborn restrictions of the federal land laws,
imposing humid climate legislation upon arid lands, the disaster
of the open range system and the transition to one of restricted
grazing and winter feeding constitute the final chapters of the
Mr. Osgood, in referring to the Goodnight Trail, "which ran
through the Panhandle to Dodge City," follows a not uncommon
misconception. This trail never touched the Panhandle, much less
Dodge City, but took a general southwesterly course from Fort Bel-
knap to Horse Head Crossing, on the Pecos, and up that river into
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931, periodical, 1931; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101091/m1/188/: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.