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To get a six foot long 200 pound plus Great Western Cattle Trail concrete marker placed requires three sources of documentation before the County Historical Society approves the request. 


The Western

by Gary & Margaret Kraisinger

The Western Cattle Trail:

Its Rise, Collapse and Revival

by Gary & Margaret Kraisinger


A collaboration of wonderful writers contributing their research, experience and more. A new blog post is added monthly so check back again soon.



September 25, 2018 


Stories of cowboys and cattle are always colorful and exciting.  The story of the Western Cattle Trail is no exception.  Books, movies and television shows have shown life on the cattle trail.  It will be possible to bring those stories to life as the Western Cattle Trail Association meets in McCook, NE, October 18-21.

Friday, October 19th at the Armed Forces Reserve Center is the first opportunity to hear stories that will tickle your cowboy imagination with Tales of the Trail beginning at 2:00.  In the evening, the John Wayne movie, “The Cowboys” will be shown free to the public. 

The Western Trail had a short, but colorful history from 1874 to 1897.  It was longer, lasted more years and handled more cattle than any other trail.  Between Stratton and Trenton some of the best ruts created by the cattle can still be seen.  A tour to see those ruts, hear local history and enjoy a chuckwagon dinner will be held on Saturday, October 20.  This event is open to the public with preregistration.

The Western Cattle Trail Association was formed to preserve the history of the trail.  Markers are being placed from Texas to the Canadian border.  Cell phone links will eventually be available to hear the history of each marker.  This program will be demonstrated during the Roundup tour. 

Registration forms are available from Bill Zahl of Stratton at 308-276-2672 or 308-340-5601 or


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For more information contact Pam Potthoff, Secretary; Western Cattle Trail Association of Nebraska.  308-276-2548;  308-276-2424 fax;



August 24, 2018 


“Great” removed from Cattle Trail Name

Nebraska is known all over the world for our tasty beef.  It is estimated that five million head of cattle and a million horses were moved from Texas to the Great Plains in the late 18th Century to begin our Nebraska cattle herds.  Various trails were used to bring the cattle to Nebraska.  Until recently the most important trail was called “The Great Western Cattle Trail” and local historians have been working to mark that trail so future generations can follow the path taken by the livestock and hear the colorful history.  

Recent developments have caused the name of the trail to be shortened to “The Western Cattle Trail”.  The first reason is “Great” was never included in the description as the trail was being used.  It was added later by an historian reporting on the trail.  

The second reason is the trail has been nominated for distinction as a National Historic Trail and that designation drops the “Great”.  Keeping the name consistent will prevent confusion.

The national group promoting the trail also changed its name to “Western Cattle Trail Association”.  The first annual Roundup (convention) will be held in McCook, NE, on October 18-21.  Headquarters will be the Horse Creek Inn.  

Roundup events include the showing of the John Wayne movie, “The Cowboys”; stories from the trail, a chuckwagon meal (cooked beside a genuine chuckwagon); and a tour of historical sights including visible remains of where the cattle crossed locally.


Most events will be open to the public but preregistration will be required for some events.  More information and registration forms will be available soon.

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For more information contact Pam Potthoff, Secretary; Western Cattle Trail Association of Nebraska.  308-276-2548;  308-276-2424 fax;

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