Wyoming - The First Cattle

Living only a few blocks from the North Platte River, I often think about how important it once was. Not that it is unimportant today, supporting wildlife and providing power along with, much needed the past few days, irrigation water down stream and providing recreation for tens of thousands of people year round.
North Platte River in the Red Cliffs area a mile north of Guernsey, Wyoming

What I am talking about is how important, as a boundary, it once was.  When cattle were first brought into southeast Wyoming, all lands north of the river were Indian lands. Wandering, and often hostile bands of native warriors made sure the land would not be used for cattle grazing.
The first cattle in the northern part of the state were brought in by Nelson Story in 1866, who bought more than a thousand cattle in Texas for ten dollars a head and drove them to Wyoming. After reaching Fort Laramie, he took the herd up the Bozeman Trail to Fort Phil Kearny. Because of Indian problems in the area he was ordered to hold the cattle at the fort until something could be worked out. After a three week wait, Story became impatient and drove the cattle from the fort at night. The herd was soon located and drove off in all directions by area tribes, and in the days it took to round up the cattle more than 30 Indians were killed.
These Longhorns of today are a bit, okay, a lot, bigger than the 1866 version

Nelson Story went on to establish himself, and the cattle ranching business, near Bozeman, Montana, where he became both rich and influential.

Today more than one and a quarter million cattle can be found in Wyoming, and more than two and a half million in Montana. Guess story knew what he was doing. 

We took some friends from Texas out to the Ruts yesterday - always fun!
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