At the close of the Civil War when millions of longhorns were left on the plains of Texas without a market, the Union Pacific was building west across Kansas. Joseph McCoy, an Illinois stockman, believed these cattle could be herded over the prairies for shipment by rail. He built yards at Abilene and sent agents to notify the Texas cattlemen. The trail he suggested ran from the Red river to Abilene but took its name from Jesse Chisholm, Indian trader, whose route lay between the North Canadian river and this vicinity. In 1867 the first drives were made and during the next five years more than a million head moved north past this place. Eventually the railroads and the barbed wire of settlers closed the long trails. But the cowboys of these great drives, living in the saddle for more than a month, swimming flooded rivers, fighting night stampedes, have become the heroes of an American epic.