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Children's LiteratureThis nonfiction text describes a unique time in American history when hard-working cowboys helped make the west a productive part of the United States. The height of the cowboy period lasted only about thirty years, as shown on the time line at the back of the book. During this time, large herds of cattle were moved great distances from western ranches to railroad stations for shipment to eastern markets. Cow towns such as Wichita and Dodge sprung up at the end of a cattle trail because this is where cattle were sold and loaded on a train. This book describes in great detail these western cow towns that quickly grew into large thriving cities or boom towns. There are wonderful photographs and interesting illustrations that help explain the brief time in American history when cow towns were exciting explosive communities of growth and business. From the beginning discussion of the early years, which includes a map of cattle trails in the American west, until the final chapter about law and order and the management of dangerous outlaws such as Frank and Jesse James, this text is rich with detail and facts about the cow towns of the American frontier. Readers will gain great insight and learn interesting facts about an interesting time in American history that is portrayed in movies as the shoot-em-up time of the wild west. At the back of this well-researched and informative text there is a glossary, index, suggestions for sources of additional information, and suggestions for places to visit. This is a very complete text about an interesting and unique period of time. Cow Towns is part of the "American Community" series that includes five titles. It will be enjoyed by readers in orout of the classroom and it will be a great addition to any classroom library. 2004, Children's Press, Ages 8 to 14.