Pioneer and Frontier Life (1776–1890), the manner of living of the pioneers who made their homes at the forward edge of United States settlement as the frontier moved westward. The primary lure of the frontier for the settler was land, either free or at a low price. It is generally considered that by 1890 the frontier had come to an end.
Settlement in the United States, when the nation was formed in 1776, was confined largely to the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains. Migration over the mountains into Kentucky and Tennessee had just begun. For the next half century the pioneers moved steadily across the central portion of the country, and came to a halt at the edge of the “Great American Desert” (the relatively barren plains between western Arkansas and Missouri and the Rocky Mountains). The land being settled during this time was generally forested, although there were significant areas of prairie in the Midwest. Settlers usually chose a wooded spot to build their homes, as logs were the main construction material. Thus the log cabin became a symbol of pioneer life in general.