How was the West won?
Whiskey. Tons of whiskey.
Well, there were a few other minor variables involved but only one sweet, succulent source of amber nectar that kept cowboys fueled for onward expansion! Whiskey!
After the Civil war, there was an influx expansion westward of Confederate Soldiers and men who suddenly found themselves with little to return home to. It was rumored the War of Texas Independence and the Mexican War had left thousands of longhorn cattle to roam free along the country’s border. All one had to do to earn a fortune was round up a herd and transport them to Kansas.
So, off these gentlemen went in search of a new life and riches...
These rough necks discovered dry, vast deserts with little agriculture.
These rough necks discovered snakes, roadrunners, and heat so intense it would crack the leather of their worn-out boots mid-season.
These rough necks discovered saloons, whiskey, and brothels. After a few weeks with this trifecta, I guess all that desert sh*t became irrelevant!
These rough neck “cowboys” (as they came to be known) would spend 6 months each year herding cattle from Texas to Kansas. The cattle were then received and sent via rail car to Chicago to fuel the country’s meat craze. These rail cars would return full of whiskey.
Cattle east bound. Whiskey west bout. Repeat.
As more cowboys and pioneers expanded westward, this created a demand for more saloons to supply whiskey. Small cow-towns emerged as intermittent waterhole stop-n-go’s throughout the west. More civil activities (such as law enforcement, church, general stores) might typically follow afterwards.
With money to spend and no 401k portfolio to fund, the cowboys would spend recklessly on whiskey, gambling, and women until it was time to embark on a southern return to the Mexican border for another cattle drive.
No whiskey, no saloons. No saloons, no cowboys. No cowboys, no cattle to supply the East. No cattle to supply the East, no whiskey shipped westward. No whiskey shipped westward, it’s conceivable the modern day United States might consider Kansas “far” west!
Boom! Another shot of knowledge!
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