Abilene sits at the end of the Chisholm Trail. Cattle from the Rio Grande or San Antonio are driven to her immense stockyards, to be shipped to the Midwest or the East, where they can fetch $40 a head. In 1867, 35,000 head of cattle were shipped out of Abilene, 1.4 million dollars worth of trade in an era when the average farm hand could expect to make less than fifteen dollars a month.
All sorts come to Abilene. Cowpokes, flush with cash after finishing the trail; European aristocrats, looking to experience the frontier, or to invest; poor immigrants, looking for a fresh start; former soldiers, newly mustered out; saloon girls; missionaries, Indians; honest folk and criminals, too. Especially criminals, perhaps, for Abilene, packed with rowdy cowboys, filled with money to be made or lost, and with liquor freely-flowing, has one of the highest murder rates in the nation.
So, why are you here?