From the 1830´s there was a missionary movement to the west to teach the ignorant Indians “culture and religion”, and in the beginning of the 1840´s we saw the Western Immigration Society form, sending the first wagon trains west across the Rockies. This was the beginning of The Great Migration, seeing trains of more than a hundred wagons and 500 cattle moving west and enduring great hardships.
The end of the 1840´s culminated in the California gold rush. They pioneered the life that would follow miners throughout the west: hard work, violence, gambling, drinking and vigilante justice. With miners flooding the hillsides and devastating the land, the Indians saw themselves deprived of the land and food sources, and this initiated a period of raids, abuse, broken promises and much hostility that still isn't completely over.
The ending of the Civil war in 1865 saw many people seeking fortune in the West, both honest folk in search of a new life and outlaws like Frank and Jesse James, who launched their criminal career at the end of the 1860's.
In the 1870´s “the Chinese Problem” increases. The railroad and other businesses are accused of depriving Americans of jobs by using cheap Chinese labor. There was a lot of trouble and violence that eventually lead to the prohibition of Chinese immigrants in 1882.
In 1874 Joseph Glidden receives a patent for barbed wire, which helps farmers but becomes a nuisance and cause of many conflicts to cowboys and settlers crossing the land.
The technology is booming as we approach the last decades of the century. Where the pony express brings mail across in 11 days, the first transcontinental telegram transfers a message in seconds. And work on the railroad commences. The railroad companies also begin massive advertising campaigns to attract settlers both from the east and foreign countries.
These are years of tremendous changes and we see people pouring into the West, creating a new and rough culture in the frequently harsh places. With the Indian threat removed from large areas the mining camps and boom towns crowd the hills, and the west is rapidly getting populated.
The 80's saw the bloody end of some of the West's most notorious gunslingers. In 1881 Billy the Kid was shot in New Mexico by Sheriff Pat Garrett, and in Tombstone Wyatt Earp and his brothers gunned down the Clantons at O.K. Corral. One year later, Jesse James was killed by a kinsman, and this ended the career of the most famous outlaw gang.
Buffalo Bill Cody stages his first Wild West Show in 1883, and the Northern Pacific railroad is completed.
President Grover Cleveland – elected in 1884 – passed some bills taking away certain rights ex-soldiers were granted earlier. He passes laws to help the farmers, giving them special grants. The changes left him unpopular with cowboys, ex-soldiers and the Railroad – which more or less includes everybody in the west, apart from the farmers.