Cheap publc land in Texas was more vauable than the prospect of finding gold in California except to unskilled, uneducated single men that were too lazy to work the land and raise a family. I hope that made my previous statement more clear.
The railroads expanded into west Texas along with the wind
mills. Locomotives needed water. The track laid in Texas was double the trackage in Kansas. Windmills in Kansas was not as important as they were in Texas because cattle need water and you don't need windmills to raise wheat.
A severe ten-year drought started in 1883 and brought about the necessity for deep artesion wells and windmills to bring the water to the surface and into storage ponds and tanks. The surface water, creeks and streams dried up by 1890 and many open range stockmen sold their herds to cattlemen who had purchased their rangeland following the Texas 1853 Homestead Act and drilled deep wells and installed windmills. Open range stockmen had to rely on surface water. The panic of the 1880s in the beef processing industry was a direct result of the drought in Texas and nowhere else. In the 1880s, many Texas cattlemen moved their herds to Nebraska and Wyoming for better sources of water and the railroads followed the herds. In 1885, the railhead for shipping cattle to the eastern processing plants was in Chadron Nebraska until Charles Franklin Coffee build a beefr processing plant there which was the larges west of the Mississippi at that time.
Charles F. Coffee is in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City and was the son of Col. John T. Coffee.