Before 1870, the Great Plains were unsettled areas of land were only natives lived. The whole thing was an open range. That was until people decided to settle in this land, which did not sit well with the Indians living in these areas. This eventually spiraled into the Indian Wars, a set of conflicts between settlers and natives that lasted for 25 years until the defeated Indians were secluded to smaller land, the effects of which included an increase in crops in the settled area and the rise of the cowboy.
Our story begins with James Patrick March, one of many aspiring cowboys moving on to the new land, and a hopeful young man who simply wants to make a good living in farming, his choice being brought foreword by the arrival of the Homestead Act which granted him 160 acres of land for 5 years worth of farming. He took full advantage of the Transcontinental Railroad to get to his destination.
James thought that farming life would be easy, after all, what could be so hard about taking care of some plants and animals. However what he didn't take in mind was that the conditions on the farming land would not be so friendly. There was little rain, high temperatures and he felt overall very lonely, at that moment he felt completely hopeless.
Just as James hit rock bottom, he stood up one day and decided that he was through lying on his bed and imagining the worst. He spent the rest of the day setting up for farm life, first he set up barbed wire to keep his crops safe from animals and to keep cattle contained, next he made sure to put up sod houses, groundwater wells, windmills and steel plows to help with his farming.
In a matter of weeks, James found himself succeeding in farm life, completely oblivious to the terrible cost that had to be paid in order for him to get his land. Nonetheless, he was happy that he managed to make good money off his decision.