Cattle Drives

In the decades immediately following the Civil War, cowboys and ranchers herded millions of cattle out of Texas to markets in Kansas and Missouri, in one of the greatest mass migrations of animals in American history. The cattle drive era, which lasted less than thirty years, spawned some of the most enduring, romanticized myths about the American West.In this lesson, students will examine the lives and lifestyles of 19th century cowboys, the dangers and difficulties faced during cattle drives, and the harsh realities of life on the trail. Students will engage in the topic through a series of hands-on activities, investigation of dynamic, interactive web sites, and structured viewing of selected video segments from the PBS series TEXAS RANCH HOUSE. After participating in a virtual cattle drive experience, students will write a first-person account of life on the trail, incorporating their knowledge of the period's history gathered throughout the lesson.This lesson can be used as a pre- or post- viewing activity for the PBS series TEXAS RANCH HOUSE, or as an independent lesson on the cattle drive era in the American West. A basic knowledge of 19th century US history is required.
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