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Cowboys and Cattle Trails

Traveling Resource Trunk

Seventh Grade

What was life like on a cattle drive?  How did young men survive hours in a saddle and months on the dusty trail?  Students explore those questions and more as they try on cowboy gear and hear the sounds of a cowboy’s folk song.  Historic photographs, maps, recipes, vocabulary words, and reproducible worksheets walk students through the life of a cowboy in the 1860s through 1880s.  Lessons in this trunk help students understand the duties and hardships of cattle drive cowboys. 

After the Civil War there was a huge demand for beef in the eastern states.  Meanwhile, in Texas, thousands of cattle roamed free with no ready access to the railroad.  With construction of new railroad lines in Kansas the cattle drives were born. 

Cowboys hired on to drive cattle from Texas to Kansas railroad towns where they loaded their cattle on trains headed to eastern cities.  It was a great job for young men who could travel far from home and work long, hard days. This period in history created the myth of the American cowboy. 

The items contained in this trunk make it a great program addition in non-classroom settings.  Youth groups find it useful in meeting badge or project requirements.  The hands-on components lend themselves to discovery center areas in museums and libraries.  The objects in the trunk bring additional meaning to programs in retirement and assisted living centers.

Contents of Trunk

Trunk Specifications

Weight: 29 lbs.
Dimensions: 24" x 20" x 13"
Insure for $500 when shipping

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