Explore this exhibit: Frontier Settlements
Meet people, good and bad, who formed the frontier towns.
As more soldiers, trail drivers, buffalo hunters and other pioneers came into the area, ramshackle settlements grew up on the frontier. Some settlements grew up around the frontier forts, while others developed as trading posts where buffalo hunters could sell hides and resupply their crews. These frontier outposts attracted everyone looking to make a buck––including legitimate businesspeople, gamblers, camp followers, prostitutes and other rough characters. Initially the towns were unorganized and dangerous – wild and wooly places where life was cheap. Living on the lawless frontier often gave people a calloused view of legality, equality and fairness. When their relevant economics faded, many of these towns settled back into the dust from which they had risen.