"The Cattle Barons’ Rise and Fall: A History of Western Cattle Ranching in the Mountains and on the Plains of Montana and Wyoming From 1865 Until the End of the Cattle Barons"

Kyle Tusler

This paper delves into the history about western cattle ranching during the period of the cattle barons (1860s-1890s). It focuses upon the states of Montana and Wyoming with a prime focus upon the plains region of the state. It covers the topic of where the cattle came from and why they were brought into the state. It also touches upon the development of the plains and how this impacted the cattle barons and their future, including the investment by foreign capital. This includes the coming of settlers, barbed wire, and the railroad to the states. This paper covers the struggles the ranchers faced such as rustlers and how the cattle barons in Wyoming and Montana differed in their handling of this threat. It also discusses what brought about the end of the cattle barons in these two states including the blizzard of the 1886-1887 and the homesteaders’ changes to the area.