During and after the Civil War, westward migration continued. Thousands flocked west in hopes of finding gold or silver. This was when mining towns developed. Cattle ranching fueld westward migration as well. Open prairies of the west were perfect for grazing, and as a result, the beef industry exploded. So, Farmers migrated west in pursuit of new, fertile, cheap lands. The Homestead Act of 1862 promised plots of land to anone will to move and settle in these western lands.