The Homestead Act of 1862 promised 160 acres to anyone who could settle and live on their claim for five years. Settlers had to be 21 years old, the head of a family, or a citizen (or in the process of filing for citizenship). The arid region wasn't especially suited to farming and the going was rough for many homesteaders. Those immigrants who came from the grassy steppes of eastern Europe and western Russia fared better than others, but many faced such hardships that they gave up their claims and returned east.
Great Plains In-GameEditGreat Plains is a map which is mostly land and open space, and the occasional small pond of water. There is usually a trade route on one side of the map and more native sites on the other side of the map. On the trade route side are usually less native settlements, if none, than on the side opposite of the trade route, as seen on the mini-map picture. Most of the wood is on the outside of the map, leaving almost nothing in between the teams of players.
Sometimes, the small ponds of water are large enough to build a dock and ship in. This is frowned upon by some players, as a monitor can devastate an enemy base from far away without needing to be anywhere near the base. The natives on the map are usually a combination of Comanche and Cheyenne tribes, with some valuable upgrades such as an upgrade that makes cavalry train faster.