Nothing about Dodge City is complete without a discussion of the many cattle feed yards that surround the town. The largest are still in use out East of town and when the prevailing winds are right, the smell can be almost overwhelming.
The locals always said "Smells like money" on those days and cattle were the main reason Dodge existed from the start.
First of all the trail herds were brought up from South and West Texas to the rail head there in Dodge and from there shipped to the markets in the East. Millions of cattle streamed into Dodge and with them, cowboys of every type and character visited town.
To appease their appetites after months on the trail, gamblers, saloons, mercantile, traders, prostitutes and every form of evil purveyors set up shop to relieve them of their hard won money.
As fencing took over the West, cattle became more of a farmed product and Dodge City with its great expanses of grassland was prime country to raise great herds. The plow slowly reduced the grasslands to small pockets and the cattle then began to be raised more and more in confined pens in feed lots and fed special rations for maximum growth per day on feed.
These huge feed lots are still there in Dodge and can be seen by the visitors from the roads near them. They also fueled a later development in the City with beef packing facilities employing thousands of workers supplying beef to a hungry nation. Those plants are still in operation today.