Monday, March 23, 2015

How a Technology That Helped Settle the West Became Known as the “Devil’s Rope”

In the mid-1800s, not many (non-native) Americans had ever been west of the Mississippi. When Frederick Law Olmsted visited the West in the 1850s, he remarked that the plains looked like a sea of grasses that moved “in swells after a great storm.” Massive herds of buffalo wandered the plains. Cowboys shepherded cattle across long stretches of no-man’s land. It was truly the wild and unmanaged West, but it was all about to change, due, in large part, to one very simple invention that would come to be known as “the devil’s rope.”

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