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Cattle Towns

114 1/2 N Douglas • Ellsworth, KS 67439

-   ABOUT US  -


In the spring of 1867, Abilene, Kansas was a sleepy little hamlet along a creek called Mud. Then a man named Joseph McCoy brought the promise of bringing Texas cattlemen and Illinois cattle buyers together on the streets of Abilene. Within a few short months, the promise was fulfilled and by the following year the boom was on. Gamblers, adventurers, women of easy virtue, and businessmen supplying every need converged on “The City of the Plains” and the once sleepy hamlet was soon a more accurate reflection of its name. Saloons and dance halls offered recreation that lasted till dawn. Bands of Cowboys and border ruffians paraded through the streets day and night. The festive sensation only faded as fall turned to winter and by late spring the cattle would return and it would all begin again.

Each Cattle town, in turn, reproduced Abilene’s experience. Frontier excesses brought drama more exciting than modern movies have ever replicated. If the West was Wild, its first lessons were taught in the Kansas Cattle towns! Return with us to the Boom Days of Abilene, Ellsworth, Newton, Wichita, Caldwell, and Dodge City.

Texas Longhorn Cattle - Cowboys - Gamblers & Soiled Doves. Those are the ingredients for unparalleled history on the open prairies of Kansas! In 1867, the Texas Cowboy brought his wild, untamed cattle to the railroad depot of Kansas and rode headlong into the chronicles of the Old West. Many were the towns that witnessed the coming of the cattle, but only SIX would become Legend. On those streets, the Longhorn plodded to his destiny and so did each man, woman, and child. Villains and heroes in six-gun duels, shotgun standoffs, and vigilante justice all played out their parts in the Kansas Cattle Towns. By 1886 the trail herds were gone, but the stories lived on. You can walk those same streets of fame. Search for the haunts of Bear River Tom Smith, Wild Bill Hickok, John Wesley Hardin, Ben Thompson, Henry Brown, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and a thousand more who made up the fabric of the turbulent Kansas Cattle Towns.


The Kansas Cattle Town Coalition is a tourism marketing coalition comprised of the six communities in Kansas which were heavily influenced by the cattle trails of the late 1800's.

Our membership is comprised of Historical Societies, Chambers of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureaus from each of the six communities.

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