Cattle, horses and sheep are largely reared in the southern prairie region on ranches or smaller holdings.
In 1884, partly because his political life seemed at least for the immediate present to be at an end, partly on account of the freedom and activity of out-of-door life, he bought two cattle ranches near Medora on the Little Missouri river in North Dakota, where he lived for two years, becoming intimately associated with the life and spirit of the western portion of the United States.
Agriculture had its beginning in wheat-raising on great ranches, from 50,000 even to several hundred thousand acres in extent.
Before the Civil War of 1895-1898 the capital invested in sugar estates was greater by half than that reprerented by tobacco and coffee plantations, live-stock ranches and other farms. Since that time fruit and live-stock interests have increased.
A large part of the Great Plains to the east of the Rockies was taken up as farms in the decade 1880 1890; abandoned afterwards, because of its aridity, to stock grazing; and reconverted from ranches into farms when a system of dry farming had proved its tillage practicable.