Saddle Up And Take On This American Frontier Quiz

By: Isadora Teich

Saddle Up And Take On This American Frontier Quiz
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Are you a trivia buff who thinks might have what it takes to ace a quiz about the American Frontier? Do you know what town the first gold strike was in? Did you know the reason that Judge Roy Bean was almost hung? What about the term "Red Light District;" do you have any idea where that came from? 

We get that you're a true trivia master with a thirst for knowledge. You love to explore new topics, and you love even more to show off your knowledge of the subjects that you have become an expert in. There are tons of different types of subjects you have studied, and there are still many more out there you have yet to learn, but you'll get there.

Where do you stand when it comes to your knowledge of the American frontier? It was an amazing time in our countries history, and although it has been studied voraciously, for many of us, there still is much to learn. So are you ready to put your knowledge to the test?  Do you think that Wyatt Earp was actually the sheriff of Tombstone Arizona? Do you know why sawdust was spread on the floors of bars back in the frontier days?

Let's see if you have the skills to ace this quiz!

Who did bounty hunters hunt in the Old West?
Cowboys
Buffalo
Outlaws
Bounty hunters hunted wanted outlaws and would bring them back dead or alive in exchange for a reward. Some of the most famous bounty hunters were the Dunn Brothers from Pawnee, Oklahoma.
Crooked businessmen

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What job did cowboys do?
Watch over cattle
While famous for being the lawless antiheroes of the American west, career cowboys actually did ranch-related tasks and looked after cattle. They would keep a heard safe from cattle thieves, brand and shepherd them.
Defend the peace
Clean up towns
Fight prairie fires

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What famous rush attracted Americans out West?
The Cotton Rush
The Real Estate Rush
The Diamond Rush
The Gold Rush
Many kinds of people were attracted to the new American West. Slaves, businessmen, cowboys and even Germans and Scandinavians came to settle the land. Many prospectors were also inspired by the Gold Rush to come and seek their fortunes out West.

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What was the name of the band of outlaws led by Butch Cassidy?
The Boys
The Blight
The Wild Bunch
Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch was an outlaw gang that terrorized Wyoming. It included famous outlaws like the Sundance Kid, Elzy Lay, Kid Curry and News Carver. They stole horses and cattle, robbed banks and were active highway robbers.
The Night Riders

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Who killed Jesse James?
Thomas Jefferson
Boston Corbett
Robert Ford
Famed Missouri-born outlaw Jesse James was notorious for robbing stagecoaches, banks and trains. He was well known while alive but became more famous after his death, when he was shot to death in his home by his friend, Robert Ford.
The Sundance Kid

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Where was gold famously discovered in America?
California
When gold was discovered in 1848 in California, it changed the course of America forever. A man named James W. Marshall found it in Sutter Creek while supervising the building of a sawmill near Coloma, California.
Louisiana
New York
Pennsylvania

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Which famous lady outlaw was called The Bandit Queen?
Belle Starr
Myra Maybelle Shirley, known as Belle Starr or The Bandit Queen, stole horses, executed heists and planned numerous robberies. After years of bribing and seducing the law to look the other way, she was shot in the back while riding home from the general store. She was killed right before her 41st birthday.
Jane Austen
Abigail Adams
Nellie Bly

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The belief in Manifest Destiny was used to justify:
Slavery
Westward expansion
Manifest Destiny was the belief many Americans held in the 19th century. They believed that expanding America was not only justified but their God-given destiny.
The military
The sciences

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People who lived on the frontier mostly ate:
What they grew and hunted
Stores on the frontier were few and far between, and shop owners often mixed inedible ingredients into their stock to stretch out how much they could sell. Homesteaders largely depended on their own gardens and hunting.
What they bought
What they gathered
What they stole

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Cowboys wore large Stetson hats to:
Appear bigger to bears
Protect them from the sun
Cowboy's have a famous look, but this look was very practical for the hard lives they led. Their iconic hats protected them from the sun and could also be used to scoop up water from streams and rivers.
Be fashionable
Look taller

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Which disease often killed entire frontier families?
cholera
Cholera was a killer on the frontier. Cholera and malaria, called ague, took down people of all ages. Cures of the day were herbs, tonics and teas.
hemophilia
the plague
eczema

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Who were the vast majority of those headed west?
Chinese Immigrants
Women
Men
Most of those who settled the frontier from both the East coast and around the world were men. Some historians think that the overabundance of bachelor men led to the famous lawlessness of the old West.
The elderly

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Which famous outlaw may have never actually killed anyone?
The Sundance Kid
While most outlaws have at least a few certain kills on record, this is not true in the case of Henry Longabaugh, better known as the Sundance Kid. Despite being a notorious gunslinger, there is no historical evidence that he actually killed anyone.
Fast Hands McGhee
Jesse James
Billy the Kid

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How old was Billy the Kid when he died?
An old man
Middle aged
A teenager
Early 20s
According to legend Billy the Kid killed 21 men, one for every year of his short life. Born Henry McCarty, he was shot and killed at age 21 after years of evading the law and even a daring escape.

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Were any women doing the work of cowboys?
Many
Some
There were definitely a few women living the hard lives that cowboys became famous for. One such cowgirl was Stagecoach Mary, who was rumored to have broken more noses in brawls than anyone else in central Montana.
Only one ever
No

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Wyatt Earp was famous for being a:
Cowboy
Lawman
Lawman Wyatt Earp is quite possibly the most famous lawman of the old West. He had a history of arrests and crimes committed, as well as one of working for the law. He was a controversial figure, known for being both an excellent lawman and very unpredictable.
Bandit
Rancher

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How were outlaws often punished when caught?
Life in prison
Hanging
Many outlaws managed to evade the law for years at a time. Some, like cowboy Tom "Black Jack" Ketchum, were not so lucky. He was hanged for his crimes in 1901.
Torture
Community service

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How did hundreds of thousands of pioneers travel across the West for the first time?
Horseback
Train
Covered wagons
Walking
Over the course of the 1840s and 1850s hundreds of thousands of pioneers made their way west. They traveled for months in covered wagons, which could, at the most, travel 20 miles a day. While covered wagons carried children, the sick, the elderly and supplies, most people who could walk did.

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How were the hygiene habits of early settlers and migrants?
Incredibly clean
Passable
Not great
Pretty Gross
American migrants had notoriously filthy habits, especially on the road, which brought illness to the West. They drank and bathed in waste water and frequently ate spoiled food, like rotten meat.

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What unusual thing did pioneers use to fuel fires as they traveled?
Buffalo dung
Traveling from one side of the country to the other in caravans of covered wagons was slow going and difficult. They would often use buffalo dung to fuel fires.
Gasoline
Paper
Explosives

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What did a region need before it could become an official state?
$1 million
A large enough population
In order for a region on the frontier to apply for statehood, it needed to have a population of 100,000. After this was achieved the process of becoming a state could begin.
A flag
A family member in government

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One in four American cowboys was:
A woman
Black
It's estimated that as many as a quarter of cowboys were black. One of the most famous black cowboys was Addison Jones, who was famous for training horses and kept at it until he was 70 years old.
Chinese
Norwegian

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What trade boomed in the Old West?
Fur
The fur trade boomed as America expanded west. Trappers and hunters even often moved ahead of settlers, looking for animal skins to sell to Europe.
Silk
Coffee
Masonry

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For people on the frontier winters were very:
Easy
Harsh
Winters were hard on the people of the frontier. In colder regions, illnesses could take out whole families and food would often become scarce.
Mild
Annoying

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The famous Oregon Trail goes between which two points?
Missouri and Oregon
The Oregon Trail spans over 2,000 miles. It goes from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon.
Florida and Oregon
New York and Quebec
Kansas and California

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What did settlers unknowingly bring with them?
Weapons
Diseases
While the people of the frontier hoped to escape the sickness of the big cities, they brought it with them. Native Americans were not equipped to handle these new illnesses. Scholars think that the Native American population was almost halved, largely due to disease, by 1900.
Drugs
Wild dogs

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What famous event began westward expansion in America?
The Civil War
The Louisiana Purchase
In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson bought the territory of Louisiana from Emperor Napoleon of France. Americans settled this land and continued to push forward as new gains were made through war and other means.
JFK's assassination
The American Revolution

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How did doctors of the day try to treat venereal diseases?
Bloodletting
Mercury
Gonorrhea and syphilis were common amongst frontier folk. Nearly every man on Lewis and Clark's famous westward trek was treated for syphilis. At the time, the treatment was a high dose of mercury.
There was no treatment
Prayer

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How did some homesteaders try to find clean water?
Asking natives
Water witching
Water witching, or dowsing, was a popular method of finding clean wells in some parts of the frontier. Traditionally, this type of divination is performed with a Y-shaped hazel twig. According to legend, the twig moves in your hands to lead you to water.
Guessing
Using almanacs

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Which place in the Old West was considered the most lawless place in the country?
Kansas
Oklahoma
So many fugitives from other states ran away to Oklahoma that Native American children had a song about it. Even Oklahoma lawman Bass Reeves, one of the most effective lawmen in the history of the West, was a slave who ran away to Oklahoma after punching his owner unconscious during a game of cards.
California
Oregon

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What were cowboys famous for?
Their songs
Cowboys were known for their songs, which they would often sing to cattle at night. Famous cowboy songs include "Old Dan Tucker" and "The Texas Lullaby."
Playing instruments
Dancing
Farming

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During which century did the golden age for American cowboys take place?
14th
10th
19th
The 19th century, or during the 1800s, was when cowboys had their day. The 20-year height of the American cowboy was from 1866-1886.
4th

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What stretch of land was considered "Wild West?"
From Florida to Missouri
From the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean
When the Wild West is referred to, it is a distinct section of young America. It stretched from the Missouri River all the way to the Pacific Coast.
From Maine to Florida
From the Atlantic Ocean to Appalachia

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How did the settlers mostly get Native Americans to give up their land?
treaties
violence
Settlers believed that it was their destiny to occupy all of America at the expense of the Native Americans. They killed many of them.
purchased the land
shared it

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Cowboys would often spend their down time at:
Hotels
Home
Restaurants
Saloons
Cowboys lived hard lives, spending most of their time sleeping under the stars watching over massive herds of cattle. When they relaxed, they went to saloons to drink and gamble, and for entertainment.

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