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After the Civil War
(1865-1870)

Cattle Drives



Cattle Drives
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.15

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    yearly, crossing, ammunition, location, leads, grazing, graze, bravery, rustlers, gain, destination, depend, freedom, rail, perfect, during
     content words:    Kansas City, United States, Red River, Indian Territory


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Cattle Drives
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Texas was a perfect location for raising Spanish longhorns and other cattle. The climate was just right, and the land was perfect for grazing. In fact, it was so good that, by the 1800's, there was more beef than the people of Texas knew what to do with. The price of cattle began to drop.
 
2     Cattle ranchers had to find a new market for their cattle if they wanted to keep ranching. They knew that people in other parts of the country would buy the cattle, but the problem was how to get the cattle to them. Railroads were in use in many parts of the country, but not yet in Texas. One of the closest rail yards was in Kansas City, Missouri. Look at a United States map and you will see that Kansas City is a long way from Texas.
 
3     By the 1860's, the price of cattle had dropped so low that ranchers decided it was worthwhile to make the long trip from Texas to Missouri with their cattle. Traveling all of those miles with a few thousand cattle was not easy. How did they do it?
 
4     They planned a yearly cattle drive. On a cattle drive, a herd of maybe 2,000 to 3,000 cattle were paraded across the open prairie to their destination, grazing as they went. Since the ranchers wanted the cattle to be fattened up when they arrived at the rail yard, the cattle drive moved slowly; the cattle grazed about as much as they walked each day.

Paragraphs 5 to 11:
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