The Western Trail

In this exciting and fun game, players are rival cattlemen in 19th century America. They herd their cattle from Texas to Kansas City where they are shipped by train, earning them money and victory points. The winner is the player who manages his herd best and is smart about mastering opportunities and pitfalls along the trail.

During the era of the cattle drives there were many trails leading from Texas into Oklahoma and north. The Western Trail, blazed by John Lytle, began in the Kerrville area of Texas and ran west of and parallel to the Chisholm Trail into Oklahoma. It was a popular route until railroads were built.

As railroads were built through the state, the use of cattle trails dropped. During the late 1870s and early 80s, only four major trails were used by ranchers to drive their long-horn cattle into northern markets. The Chisholm, Great Western, San Antonio and Goodnight-Loving Trails were all used until the railroads made it possible to ship cattle directly from the grazing areas of Texas up to the railroads in the north.

After the Civil War, Texas found itself with large numbers of long horn cattle but no markets for them. The demand for beef in the North grew rapidly. Cowboys drove their cattle north on the Western Trail from the grazing ranges of southern Texas into Indian Territory and then on to railheads in Kansas and Nebraska. The Western Trail passed through Doan’s Crossing south of Altus and then north into the Oklahoma border where it crossed the Red River into Oklahoma.

The Western Trail was a dangerous place for cowboys. It was not uncommon for cattlemen to be involved in duels or gunfights when they were on the road. Many a cowboy lost his life on the trail. In fact, there is a Boot Hill cemetery in Dodge City, Oklahoma, that is full of the names of those who died while herding cattle to the railroads on the Western Trail.

Today, the Great Western Trail is a multi-use trail that allows both non-motorized and motorized users in some sections. It runs through BLM and Forest Service lands. It also runs through the Fish Lake National Forest lands on Thousand Lake Mountain, down Sand Creek to Torrey and into a county road that passes through a portion of the Alkali Flats near Government Peak. It winds its way through beautiful country with meadows, wildflowers and views of the San Rafael Swell, Henry Mountains and Waterpocket Fold. It is also a great place for wildlife watching, including the famous buffalo herds that can be seen on some sections of the trail.

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