How Barbed Wire Changed the American West

By Karen Harris
Barbed wire on May 23, 2018 (Photo by Wassilios Aswestopoulos/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Nothing did more to change the way cattle ranching was done on America’s western frontier than the introduction of barbed wire. In fact, historians point to this single, humble invention as the catalyst that revolutionized beef agriculture and killed off the open range cowboy lifestyle. How could a thin piece of wire do all that? 

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