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Timeline / Defining Rights and Responsibilities / 1851: Roads and railroads move into the West

1851: Roads and railroads move into the West

The federal government pays to survey land for roads and railroads across the West. Easier access encourages settlement and threatens Indian lands.

Land and Water
California, Great Basin, Great Plains, Southwest

Ledger drawing of two trains, ca. 1875–1878, by David Pendleton Oakerhater. David Pendleton Oakerhater, also known as O-kuh-ha-tuh and Making Medicine, was a Cheyenne Indian warrior and spiritual leader. Along with other Native American leaders he was imprisoned in 1875 at Fort Marion, Florida, where he started making ledger drawings of daily life before captivity.

Courtesy Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma