Boot Hill was the final resting place for many early westerners who helped make Ogallala a booming cowtown in the 1870's and 1880's. These people, the cowboys, settlers, and drifters, came to Ogallala when the railroad and the Texas Trail opened a new market for the Texas Longhorn.
Although one of the first burials here was mother and child, many came by running afoul of the law -- some for stealing another man's horse. Others were killed by re-fighting the Civil War or for questioning the gambler's winning hand. In July of 1879 three cowhands were buried in a single day, victims of the sheriff's guns. Another man, "Rattlesnake Ed", was buried here after he was shot down over a nine dollar bet in a Monte game in the Cowboys Rest, a local saloon.
Most were buried with their boots on, thus the name Boot Hill. Their bodies, placed in canvas sacks, were lowered into shallow graves and marked with a wooden headboard. Some of the bodies have since been removed, only the unknown or the unclaimed remain in this western cemetery.