One of the government land acts, Homestead Act, granted the American citizens and intended citizens up to 160 acres in the Great Plain, and citizens could obtain title to the land after five years if they cultivate it. This policy attracted some 400,000 families to move to the Great Plain and develop farming there. Though the land was cheap, farmers in the Great Plain met lots of problems. In the Great Plain the resources such as water and trees were scare. To cope with the paucity of water, the farmers established the farmland around the water resources and built canals, dams and sloping field to control water flow. Facing the lack of lumbers, the farmer used the buffalo manure instead of wood for fuel and built sod house instead of wooden house. Sod house was made from chunks cut from the heavy topsoil. Though sod house was a great alternative of wooden house, it was damp and dirty. Besides the living condition, the farmers other problems such as hostile weather, insects problem and raging fires. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, created in 1862, helped agriculture thrive in the Great Plain. USDA sought new kinds of wheat that were suitable in this area and developed dry farming to conserve moisture and deal with the lack of water. The farming in the Great Plain also employed the new farming equipments, such as self-binding harvest and steam-powered engines. The cheap land and new farming machines led to the rise of bonanza farm. However this large operation farm did not exist long because of the extremely weather and fall of wheat price. Though there were lots of negative effects on the farmers, overall, there were also some posotove influences. The cheap land in the Great Plain gave more people and immigrants an opportunity to own land, also provide a chance for the African Americans to have a new start after the Civil War. From the perspective of the whole country, those farmers were pioneers who contributed a lot to the development and exploitation of the West.
As for the ranchers, the cattle boom was first took place in Texas. At the beginning of the cattle boom, because of the cheap land in the west, the growth of beef demand in the eastern cities and the lenient government policy such as open range, ranching became profitable. Cowboys, including many African American, Mexican and Mexican American, who were known as the workers to take care of castles, worked hard in the Great Plain African American cowboys escaped from the discrimination after the Civil War though they were assigned unpleasant jobs. Mexican cowboys were treated better and paid higher, they encountered discriminations. The most onerous task for the cowboys was the long drive, which took the months to drive the cattle to railhead which is a town located near railroad. The cattle boom prospered the cattle towns in Kansas. Lots of railheads developed into an economic center. The government allowed the ranchers to use the public land as open range, which furthered the profits of ranching. Lots of European and east investors took advantages of the open range and established large ranches. However, the cattle boom finally faded because the cattle price clashed, ranchers faced intensive competitions for the use of open land, and the bad weather in the Plains.
The mining industrial in the west attracted lots of miners. The discovery of Comstock Lode, Klondike district of Canada’s Yukon Territory and other mining sets brought prospectors from all over the world, including U.S. citizens, Irish, Chinese and other European immigrants. The competitions in the mining resulted in discrimination which included Chinese, Hispanics and Europeans. Big mining companies treated its workers extremely poorly. The workers worked in a dangerous condition without any insurance and they