Why was there so much conflict on the plains between homesteaders and ranchers? (12 marks)
There was conflict between homesteaders and ranchers because the ranchers used to drive their cattle through the homesteaders land. This caused conflict because the homesteaders feared damage to their crops, or in case of Texas fever infecting their livestock. The cattle ranchers needed open range with access to water for their cattle this caused conflict because they were again crossing the homesteader’s land, which they fenced off to stop cattle from straying. Therefore, conflict was caused because they did not want the ranchers crossing their land that they were farming.
Also conflict was caused because cattle ranchers believed that the homesteaders were taking the best bit of land, an example of this was that 1892 Johnsons county war. Wyoming was supporting the cattle men, he believed that homesteaders were rustling their cattle. However on the other hand the Sherriff of Buffalo supported the Homesteaders who said the Cattle Barons were stealing their land. The other main disputes were over fencing and waterholes which led to other disputes, therefore this caused conflict as they could not agree.
Another reason for conflict on the plains was because flocks of sheep were a serious threat to cattle as they were competing for grazing. There was some violence by the cattle ranchers which took the form of killing shepherds and slaughtering to sheep and burning hay of farmers who sold fodder to sheep farmers. Therefore sheep was a main threat to ranching causing conflict on the plains as it made competition between the ranchers and homesteaders.
Overall, there was so much conflict because the two groups were fighting for land both for livestock and resources as there were little. This introduced fighting over them, which was the main reason for conflict.