Beginning in 1862, the Homestead Act gave any head of household over the age of 21 the right to homestead federal land. After proving up (colloquial phrase for the legal process of securing title to homestead lands after meeting certain government requirements) their claims, homesteaders were given patents for their land. Regulations for claims depended on the region and type of claim. Many women took advantage of the opportunity for land ownership; historians estimate that 12% of homesteaders in the West were women. Their origins varied―some homesteaded only miles from where they were born and others crossed the country or even an ocean. While many planned to farm or ranch indefinitely, for others homesteading was an economic investment and temporary endeavor. The terrain and environment of claims varied, even more than the motives of each homesteader, requiring ingenuity and determination. Women homesteaders endured poverty, isolation, strenuous labor, and more in pursuit of a dream for land ownership.