The Bertrand discovery challenged archaeologists who rushed to save an incredible variety of artifacts, from farm and mining tools to shawls and toys -- and even five kegs of butter.
In 1865 the riverboat hit a snag in the Missouri River and sank on the way to goldfields in Montana. Its hull discovered in a Nebraska cornfield gave up over 200,000 artifacts.
They created towns and became the center of Western life, enabling wheat, cattle, and minerals to flow out of the West
What it was like for the first travelers
Pioneer farmers had neither wood nor brick to build with, but there sure was plenty of good earth