When A Dollar Meant A Dollar

cattle-drive-blogIt’s no secret that cattle ranching was a lucrative business—after all, Cheyenne, Wyoming was considered the wealthiest city in the world in the mid 1800s because it had so many rich ranchers. And remember how those cattlemen fought to hold on to their fortunes when homesteaders started moving in—does the Johnson County War ring any bells? But just how profitable was it? Let’s drive a herd of 45,000 cattle from Texas to Montana in 1884—we’ll need 165 cowboys and a thousand horses. We have to pay and feed everyone—expect all that to cost around $45,000. Of course some cows will be lost, but still, what kind of profit could be expected after expenses? How about $125,000. In 1884 money. In current money, that’s just over $3 million. Now it’s clear why they wouldn’t let go!

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