U.S. History Chapter 8

Placer Mining

method of extracting mineral ore by hand using simple tools like picks, shovels, and pans

Quartz Mining

method of extracting minerals involving digging beneath the surface

Henry Cornstock

prospector who staked a claim in six- mile canyon, Nevada, brought hoards of miners to Virgina City, Nevada

Vigilance Committee

self-appointed volunteers who track down and punish wrong doers. Sometimes punished innocent or let the guilty go free

Open Range

a vast area of grassland owned by the government

Long Drive

driving cattle long distances to a railroad depot for fast transport and great profit

Chisholm Trail

The route to Abilene, Kansas, that became a major route where cowboys drove nearly 1.5 million head of cattle

Barbed Wire

enabled hundreds of square miles to be fenced off cheaply and easily

Great Plains

regions extending westward to the Rocky Mountains from around the 100th meridian

Stephen Long

explored the region with an army expedition in 1819, called the "Great American Desert" and concluded almost wholly unfit for cultivation


a tract of public land available for settlement and cultivating it

Dry Farming

a way of farming land in which seeds are planted deep in the ground where there is some moisture


a name given to Great Plains farmers

Wheat Belt

Midwestern states moved to Great Plains to take advantage of the inexpensive land and the new farming technology

Homestead Act

$10 registration fee claim up to 160 acres of public land and could receive tile to that land in 5 years


a person who moves from place to place, usually in search of food or grazing land


money paid by contract on regular intervals

Little Crow

ask traders to provide his people food on credit. Reluctantly agreed to lead uprising and wanted to wage war against soldiers, not civilians

Bonanza farm

a large, highly-profitable wheat farm

Indian Peace Commission

Proposed creating two large reservations on the Plains, one for the Siox and another for southern Plains Indians

George A. Custer

Commander of the Seventh Calvary with the expedition who was an impulsive officer and underestimated the fighting capabilities of the Lakota and Cheyenne

Ghost Dance

a ritual that celebrated a hoped-for day reckoning when settlers would disappear, the buffalo would return, and Native Americans would reunite with their diceased ancestors


to absorb a group into the culture of a larger population


a plot of land assigned to an individual or family for cultivation

Dawes Act

allotted to each head of household 160 acres of reservation land for farming; single adults receive 80 acres, and 40 acres were alloted for children


a stray calf with no identifying symbol