Open from 1867 until 1885, the 1,200-mile historic Chisholm Trail is known as the world's greatest cattle trail. The famed trail came about just after the Civil War. During the war, Texas ranches were unmanaged, leaving the southern prairies teeming with cattle. Ranchers were "cattle poor." Too many cattle depressed prices. At the same time, markets to the east were in great need of beef as existing cattle had been killed to feed the armies and civilians. By war's end, cattle worth $3 a head in Texas would bring up to $40 - $60 in Chicago and New York. The problem was that no railroads yet reached the Texas Plains. 

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