Saddle Up And Take On This American Frontier Quiz

By: Isadora Teich
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
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?
Crooked businessmen
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

What job did cowboys do?
Watch over cattle
Defend the peace
Clean up towns
Fight prairie fires
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

What famous rush attracted Americans out West?
The Cotton Rush
The Real Estate Rush
The Diamond Rush
The Gold Rush
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.


What was the name of the band of outlaws led by Butch Cassidy?
The Boys
The Blight
The Wild Bunch
The Night Riders
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

Who killed Jesse James?
Thomas Jefferson
Boston Corbett
Robert Ford
The Sundance Kid
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

Where was gold famously discovered in America?
New York
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.


Which famous lady outlaw was called The Bandit Queen?
Belle Starr
Jane Austen
Abigail Adams
Nellie Bly
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

The belief in Manifest Destiny was used to justify:
Westward expansion
The military
The sciences
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

People who lived on the frontier mostly ate:
What they grew and hunted
What they bought
What they gathered
What they stole
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.


Cowboys wore large Stetson hats to:
Appear bigger to bears
Protect them from the sun
Be fashionable
Look taller
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

Which disease often killed entire frontier families?
the plague
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

Who were the vast majority of those headed west?
Chinese Immigrants
The elderly
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.


Which famous outlaw may have never actually killed anyone?
The Sundance Kid
Fast Hands McGhee
Jesse James
Billy the Kid
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

How old was Billy the Kid when he died?
An old man
Middle aged
A teenager
Early 20s
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

Were any women doing the work of cowboys?
Only one ever
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.


Wyatt Earp was famous for being a:
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

How were outlaws often punished when caught?
Life in prison
Community service
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

How did hundreds of thousands of pioneers travel across the West for the first time?
Covered wagons
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.


How were the hygiene habits of early settlers and migrants?
Incredibly clean
Not great
Pretty Gross
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

What unusual thing did pioneers use to fuel fires as they traveled?
Buffalo dung
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

What did a region need before it could become an official state?
$1 million
A large enough population
A flag
A family member in government
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.


One in four American cowboys was:
A woman
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

What trade boomed in the Old West?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

For people on the frontier winters were very:
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Winters were hard on the people of the frontier. In colder regions, illnesses could take out whole families and food would often become scarce.


The famous Oregon Trail goes between which two points?
Missouri and Oregon
Florida and Oregon
New York and Quebec
Kansas and California
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Oregon Trail spans over 2,000 miles. It goes from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon.

What did settlers unknowingly bring with them?
Wild dogs
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

What famous event began westward expansion in America?
The Civil War
The Louisiana Purchase
JFK's assassination
The American Revolution
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.


How did doctors of the day try to treat venereal diseases?
There was no treatment
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

How did some homesteaders try to find clean water?
Asking natives
Water witching
Using almanacs
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

Which place in the Old West was considered the most lawless place in the country?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.


What were cowboys famous for?
Their songs
Playing instruments
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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."

During which century did the golden age for American cowboys take place?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.

What stretch of land was considered "Wild West?"
From Florida to Missouri
From the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean
From Maine to Florida
From the Atlantic Ocean to Appalachia
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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.


How did the settlers mostly get Native Americans to give up their land?
purchased the land
shared it
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Settlers believed that it was their destiny to occupy all of America at the expense of the Native Americans. They killed many of them.

Cowboys would often spend their down time at:
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

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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