Great Western Cattle Trail Featured in Rotarian

The Great Western Cattle Trail was recently featured in the National Rotarian magazine highlighting the great efforts to preserve this rich history. Check it out online at

Great Western Cattle Trail Plaques

Between 1874 and 1893, seven million head of cattle and horses went up the Great Western Trail from Texas through nine U.S. states into Canada.  This famous trail lasted more years, carried more cattle, and was longer than any other cattle trail in the United States.  The trail had a significant impact on the economy of the western United States, assisting in the establishment of the ranching and livestock industry.   

Longhorns were gathered around Matamoras, Mexico and south Texas, and were then driven north through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and on to Canada.  These vast herds established the famous Great Western Trail, on which you stand  today. 

The first trail herd to reach North Dakota left Texas in 1884.  A daring band of cowboys piloted a monster herd from the Rio Grande to the Little Missouri River.  Until the decline of the trail’s use in the 1890s, millions of cattle and horses continued up the trail where they thrived on rich prairie grasses of the endless Plains. 

Along with cattle came cowboys out of Texas and elsewhere who established ranches and helped grow North Dakota’s western heritage which is still strong and prosperous.  From these romantic, wild days comes much of our rich western history that still thrives and is celebrated. Rotary clubs, the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, local groups and people interested in preserving North Dakota’s heritage and history banded together to mark this important trail for future generations.                               

Great Western Cattle Trail Featured in Working Ranch

A celebration of the history of the Great Western Trail will be held in Texas this summer.  

They’re inviting anyone interested in The Great Western Cattle Trail project to consider making the trip and joining them.  In turn, they would send a group to North Dakota when we plant the first obelisk and plaque at the Slope County Courthouse in Amidon this summer.  

Jim Nordby has amazingly singed agreements with ranchers from South Dakota to Amidon to place Great Western obilesks on their lands next to Highway 85.  The group decided the first obelisk will be placed between the courthouse and Highway 85 at the courthouse in Amidon and it will be a press event. The County Commission approved the placement a couple of years ago.   The rest of the markers between South Dakota and I-94 will be placed the summer of 2020. Summer of 2021 the markers between Belfield and Williston will be placed. 

Landowners who have signed to allow obelisks on their land from South Dakota to Amidon include Paul White, Lowell Faris, Wayne Mrnak, City of Bowman, Wes Andrews, Dick Folske, Steve Brooks, Doug Pope, Dick Fredert, and the County Courthouse in Amidon. 

The first marker will be placed on the state line when there is a pull-off highway 85, if we can get permission from state highway officials.  It, like four others along the route will feature a bronze plaque explaining The Great Western Trail and its significance.  

John Hanson is obtaining signatures from landowners from Amidon to I-94.