Description

First published in 1985, Cattle in the Cold Desert has deservedly become a classic in the environmental history of the Great Basin, brilliantly combining a lively account of the development of the Great Basin grazing industry with a detailed scientific discussion of the ecology of its sagebrush / grassland plant communities. The volume traces the history of while settlement in the Great Basin from about 1860, along with the arrival of herds of cattle and sheep to exploit the forage resources of a pristine environment and, through the history of John Sparks, a pioneer cattleman, illustrates how the herdsmen interacted with the sagebrush / grasslands of the cold desert West. As the story unfolds on two levels – that of the herdsmen adapting their livelihood to the challenging conditions of the Great Basin’s scanty forage, aridity, and fierce winters.