Lured by reports about grama grass that was so high it tickled the belly of a horse, the settlers poured onto the high plains of New Mexico during the first decade of the twentieth century. Boom towns began to sprout up along the sidings that the single-line railroads needed for intersecting trains and for locating maintenance crews. The towns especially blossomed if the siding was next to a highland area of prairie that appeared capable of dryland farming. The railroad companies, which were provided with large blocks of land to promote settlement, and the merchants of the new railroad towns had a mutual interest and investment in attracting sodbusters to the open grass plains of the eastern part of the state.

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Working Paper