The Cattle Drive
The area of the Shattered Frontier around the San Juan Mountains provides many excellent grazing lands characterized by abundant vegetative growth, most notably in the spring and early summer. As such, it provides an excellent locale for raising beef cattle -- so much so that local supply far exceeds the demands of the relatively sparsely populated area. A mature steer may only command a price of $4 or $5 when sold within the region. With prices so low, it’s difficult to make a profit raising cattle for the local market.
However, there is an almost insatiable demand for beef in the great industrial cities of the Great Lakes and eastern seaboard. Beeves can fetch ten times the regional price -- if only they can be delivered to the hungry populace. Railroads mitigate this difficulty in that they provide a cheap form of transportation. However, the catch is that the rails only run to the cities of New Echota in Sequoya, and to Fort Worth in the Republic of Texas. To fetch the magical $40 to $50 a head for one's cattle, it's necessary to get your beeves to these distant railheads.