Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  11 (1885–86), 788–95.

Cattle-raising on the Plains

Frank Wilkeson




Climatology, Meteorology, Agriculture, Botany, Population

    Examines the 'peculiarities of the climate of the cattle or range country' in the 'semi-arid belt' of America which mean that, as novice farmers often discover too late, the 'nutriment has been washed out of the grass by unseasonable rains', and because it is 'not possible for an animal to eat sufficient quantities of dead, water-soaked grass to supply the fire of life with fuel [...] many thousands of range and pilgrim cattle die' (789). Although it has 'been the fashion of Americans to boast of these uninhabited lands, and to assert, with intense self-satisfaction, that we have room for all the oppressed of all nations', insists that the 'truth is that the agricultural lands of the United States are practically exhausted', and the land of the 'unoccupied western portion' which 'figures so brightly on the maps is but an arid tract scantily covered with herbage' (790).

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