chapter  3
10 Pages

Peopling and Selling the West

It was about 1850 that the westward-moving frontier of settlement had halted at the edge of the Great Plains, described then and earlier as desert. Much of this land is in fact exceptionally well suited for the growing of maize and of wheat, and for dairying. But the American pioneer who reached it was accustomed to the forests and the well watered land of the east, and this country covered with waving prairie grass stretched before him limitless and treeless, with little rainfall and few rivers, providing therefore no timber for houses, fences, implements or fuel, and no water for crops or livestock. It did not attract, indeed it repelled, the early farmer.