West of the Great Bend

“West of the Great Bend [of the Arkansas River], there was, and still is, a marked change in the appearance of the countryside: the green fields gave way to great reaches of short brown grass and small prickly pear. Here the summer temperature of one hundred or more degrees and the dry wind bore hard on the traveler. In his report to the Chief of Topographical Engineera, United States Army, made in 1846, Lieutenant William H. Emory noted that beyond Pawnee Fork he had entered on ‘that portion of the prairie that well deserves to be considered part of the great desert.”