Some historians believe that the Old West died when the barbed wire came in.
Across half a continent the American settler of the nineteenth century made his way westward with tools of the forest. Leaving the rocky coast line of the Atlantic, he passed the great inland waterways and advanced through the virgin forests with the aid of equipment such as his forefathers had used to found a new world. But when he came out of the forest, suddenly removed from familiar environment and faced with conditions for which no previous experience had prepared him, he found he was – in his own idiom – “not rightly outfitted” to go on. It was not a question of the quality of the axes and knives and spades and plows which had brought him through the wilderness of wooded lands onto the threshold of promise; it was a question of their suitability. The fact was, tools of the Eastern forests were not usable on Western plains and prairies. Change in scenery called for change and adaptation in provisions, and with the farm-minded pioneer, one of the features most radically in need of adaptation to the changing scene was fencing.