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Life on the Great Plains post-civil war

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Jacob Conklin

on 23 February 2015

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Transcript of Life on the Great Plains post-civil war

So you want to Journey west on the great plains post civil-war.
Going west!
picking up roots and moving to the great plains was not as easy as it may seem. Railroads and rivers offered fairly quick but limited transportation to the west. Many however would have to trek across the barren ground to claim ''new'' land. Here are somethings you need to keep in mind. First of all, Be prepared to pull everything you own.
Challenges in "The Great American Desert"
Hazards and Indians
If you've ever played the Oregon trail you may have an idea of how many things can go wrong in the west. If someone became injured or sick, there was very little medical treatment available. Minor diseases could even become fatal due to a lack of treatment. Also people lived under a constant fear of Indian attacks as relations with Indians became increasingly hostile. When Indians were forcefully moved out of their homeland, there were a number of wars and some turned their anger onto the american farmers.

''I feel real bad this morning. I don't seem to have blood enough I am so cold all the time I have such a sore mouth & throat all the time. Mama & a good many more think I wont stand long''
Finally Farming!
If a settler made it far enough to stake their own claim, and could afford a homestead, equipment, and seeds then they could begin to farm the land. Farming was not as glamorous as many had hoped, droughts caused many poor seasons to yield few crops and many settlers found themselves subsistence farming out of necessity. As more people farmed prices fell adding to the farmer's distraught. Selling crops relied mainly on railroads to transport products efficiently.

One settler wrote, ''Crops & prices are so poor that it is making times pretty close here. and my misfortunes during the past year has put me back badly. I hardly know how to manage, I feel that it is not possible or right for me to go through another season as I have this one''
Resources are exceedingly scarce . The land was free but equipment livestock and seeds were in high demand and very expensive. Building a house was difficult and interest rates on loans were high. That being said you need the know how to make due with what you have. You'll likely have to settle for less than you hoped, and that's if you make it far enough.
The bane of Western settlers was the inconsistent devastating weather. Temperature and humidity greatly varied from year to year and major storms could wipe out crops and even homes. Locus swarms and prairie fires could completely destroy a season of crops unlike eastern farming there was no guarantee of success in the least. Of course this area is known as tornado alley for a reason, these massive storms left many without farms and homes. There is not much you can do to protect from the weather, just know what you are getting into
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