In other western states like Wyoming, the collision of the visions of land use between cattle barons and grangers erupted into range wars. In Nebraska, these wars were waged in the legislature and courtrooms.
Title of pamphlet illustrating sympathy for ranchers
"Being a description of cattle-growing, sheep-farming,
horse-raising, and dairying in the West"
By James S. Brisbin, 1881.
In 1885, the federal government passed legislation outlawing the enclosure of public lands. That law, without enforcement, was toothless and widely ignored until the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt ordered that fences around public lands had to be removed, and took particular aim at Bartlett Richards and Will G. Comstock.
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society
Richards & Comstock, Nebraska Land and Feeding Company
Source: Nebraska State Historical Society.
Richards and Comstock were president and vice-president of the Nebraska Land and Feeding Company, which operated the Spade, Bar C, and Overton ranches. Their operations were huge, occupying more than a half million acres in Cherry, Sheridan, and Box Butte Counties.
When President Roosevelt ordered fences removed, Richards and Comstock and other large ranchers asked for and received one-year extensions to remove the fences. But at the end of the year, the fences still stood.
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