True West 2017-12 - PDF Free Download (2024)









American Trinity is a stunning portrait, a view at once unique, panoramic, and intimate. It is a fascinating book that will make you think about the differences between belief and knowledge; about the self-skepticism of science and medicine; and about what aspects of the world we take on faith.


American Trinity is for everyone who loves the American West and wants to learn more about the good, the bad, and the ugly. In this innovative examination, Dr. Larry Len Peterson explores the origins, development, and consequences of hatred and racism from the time modern humans left Africa 100,000 years ago to the forced placement of Indian children on off-reservation schools far from home in the late 1800s. 728 pages • 6 x 9 $34.95 cloth hardcover with dustjacket ISBN: 978-1-59152-188-4

FEATURING Francis Bacon, Ota Benga, George Catlin, Jesus, George A. Custer, Libbie Custer, Charles Darwin, René Descartes, Ulysses S. Grant, George Bird Grinnell, William T. Hornaday, Alexander von Humboldt, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, Edward Jenner, Raphael Lemkin, Lewis & Clark, Abraham Lincoln, Frank Bird Linderman, John Locke, Martin Luther, Walter McClintock, Isaac Newton, Richard H. Pratt, Theodore Roosevelt, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Phil Sheridan, William T. Sherman, James F. Thorpe, among many others.

Dr. Peterson has published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and The Journal of Clinical Investigation, among many others. His distinguished biographies include Charles M. Russell: Photographing the Legend, A Biography in Words and Pictures and L. A. Huffman: Photographer of the American West. He is the recipient of two Western Heritage Awards, the Scriver Award, The High Plains Book Award, and the Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award.

Available at your local book and gift shops.





Four Duff Severe Display Saddles Est. $50,000-70,000

Carved Buffalo Chair Est. $3,000-5,000

L.D. Stone & Co. (Figueroa) Spurs Est. $10,000-15,000

Kahle & Son Saddle Est. $20,000-30,000

Luis B. Ortega Martingale Est. $8,000-12,000

Bohlin Dixon Jr. Parade Ensemble Est. $30,000-40,000

Edward Borein, Watercolor Est. $65,000-85,000

Phillips & Gutierrez No. 1 Spurs Est. $5,000-7,000

Tapia Filigreed Spurs Est. $30,000-40,000

Yavapai Basket Tray Est. $3,500-4,500

Winchester 1866 SRC Est. $17,000-19,000

Edward H. Bohlin Spurs & Boots Est. $8,000-12,000

WESTERN AMERICANA ANTIQUE SHOW Saturday, January 20, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Sunday, January 21, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm $10 daily or purchase online and save SHOW LOCATION Mesa Convention Center 263 N. Center Street, Mesa, AZ 85201

WESTERN AMERICANA AUCTION Saturday, January 20, 5:00 pm Purchase catalogs online AUCTION LOCATION Phoenix Marriott Mesa 200 N. Centennial Way, Mesa, AZ 85201 Next door to the show

Download our new mobile app! Visit: Email: [emailprotected] | Phone: 480-779-9378

Ope n i ngShOt We Take You There

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Charging an Unseen Enemy Frederic Remington took some artistic liberties in his 1907 oil On the Southern Plains. The frontier cavalry is shown as a dynamic mass, reports the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, even though soldiers usually attacked in a straight horizontal line. “Frederic Remington at the Met” closes January 2, 2018. – Courtesy Metropolitan MuseuM of art –

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True West captures the spirit of the West with authenticity, personality and humor by providing a necessary link from our history to our present.


True West Online

December 2017 Online and Social Media Content

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Bob Boze Bell EDITOR: Meghan Saar SENIOR EDITOR: Stuart Rosebrook FEATURES EDITOR: Mark Boardman EDITORIAL TEAM Copy Editor: Beth Deveny Firearms Editor: Phil Spangenberger Westerns Film Editor: Henry C. Parke Military History Editor: Col. Alan C. Huffines, U.S. Army Preservation Editor: Jana Bommersbach Social Media Editor: Rhiannon Deremo PRODUCTION MANAGER: Robert Ray ART DIRECTOR: Daniel Harshberger GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Rebecca Edwards MAPINATOR EMERITUS: Gus Walker HISTORICAL CONSULTANT: Paul Hutton CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Tom Augherton, Allen Barra, Leo W. Banks, John Boessenecker, Johnny D. Boggs, Drew Gomber, Kevin Kibsey, Dr. Jim Kornberg, Sherry Monahan, Candy Moulton, Frederick Nolan, Gary Roberts, Marshall Trimble, Ken Western, Larry Winget, Linda Wommack ARCHIVIST/PROOFREADER: Ron Frieling PUBLISHER EMERITUS: Robert G. McCubbin TRUE WEST FOUNDER: Joe Austell Small (1914-1994)

ADVERTISING/BUSINESS PRESIDENT & CEO: Bob Boze Bell PUBLISHER & CRO: Ken Amorosano GENERAL MANAGER: Carole Compton Glenn ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: Dave Daiss SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR: Ken Amorosano REGIONAL SALES MANAGERS Greg Carroll ([emailprotected]) Arizona, California, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Nevada & Washington Cynthia Burke ([emailprotected]) Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah & Wyoming Sheri Riley ([emailprotected]) Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Tennessee & Texas ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT: Christine Lake


Standing with his Colt strapped on his hip, Cyrus “Cy” Bingham, born in 1870, started work as a ranger in 1903, patrolling the Cascade forests from central Oregon south to the California border. Find this and more historical photography on our “Rangers“ board. – COURTESY U.S. FOREST SERVICE —

Go behind the scenes of True West with Bob Boze Bell to see his sketch Wild Bill’s Lamp Damnation and more of the executive editor’s Daily Whipouts (Search for “September 21, 2017”).

Join the Conversation Nebraska pioneer Daniel Freeman (shown) “knew that the Act was going to go into effect on January 1, 1863...he persuaded the registrar of the land office in Brownville to open up shortly after midnight on January 1, making Freeman the first homesteader in the entire nation. ” — Rjay Larcada of Alamogordo, New Mexico

December 2017, Vol. 64, #12, Whole #575. True West (ISSN 0041-3615) is published twelve times a year (January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December) by True West Publishing, Inc., 6702 E. Cave Creek Rd, Suite #5 Cave Creek, AZ 85331. 480-575-1881. Periodical postage paid at Cave Creek, AZ 85327, and at additional mailing offices. Canadian GST Registration Number R132182866. Single copies: $5.99. U.S. subscription rate is $29.95 per year (12 issues); $49.95 for two years (24 issues). POSTMASTER: Please send address change to: True West, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327. Printed in the United States of America. Copyright 2017 by True West Publishing, Inc. Information provided is for educational or entertainment purposes only. True West Publishing, Inc. assumes no liability or responsibility for any inaccurate, delayed or incomplete information, nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Any unsolicited manuscripts, proposals, query letters, research, images or other documents that we receive will not be returned, and True West Publishing is not responsible for any materials submitted.


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KIT CARSON AND THE MOUNTAIN MEN Was Kit Carson truly the king of the trappers? —By Paul Andrew Hutton


THE LAST TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION The full story behind the Gadsden Purchase. —By Greg Bailey


A BOZEMAN CHRISTMAS Clashes over booze and a founder’s murder get swept under the rug in a Christmas reverie. —By Meghan Saar



THE OTHER BOWIE’S EPIC BATTLE Against overwhelming odds, the less famous Bowie brother risked life and limb during a ferocious attack. —By Tim Dasso



THE OTHER WOMAN Why is the real Mrs. “Wild Bill” Hickok almost totally forgotten? —By Carrie Bowers




Trek to the West’s greatest heritage sites, where you can stand and experience where history happened. —By Stuart Rosebrook

38 Frank McCarthy’s oil Crossing the Divide, courtesy Tim Peterson Family Collection, Scottsdale’s Museum of the West; Cover design by Dan Harshberger



SHOE’S ON THE OTHER FOOT In Meghan Saar’s fascinating article about the Pony Express, October 2017, she states that Mark Twain was “contradictory” in his eyewitness account of the footwear his Pony Express rider wore. It seems to me that Twain was quite clear that the rider was wearing boots with his pantlegs tucked into the tops. Now I’m just a city boy, but in the section where Twain writes of “light shoes or none at all,” wasn’t he referring to the horse? Jim Proudfoot Des Moines, Iowa Meghan Saar responds: Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees! We ran that anecdote by so many historians and literary folks, and nobody figured out the light shoes referred to the horse. Makes sense to us!

FOREST STUMPS Your September article, “Invalids Need Not Apply,” was excellent! I want to add another name to this unique service agency; Ernest Britten. He was the father of my late husband, John. Ernest was the first ranger to serve in what was to become the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California’s Sierra Nevada range. He was also forest supervisor in several forests, including Inyo National Forest. Although he made his home in Three Rivers, he was on constant patrol from Sequoia to Kings Canyon, making trails and checking on sheepherders. He kept a daily diary of his travels, and I have a copy in my possession. I’ve included a pic of him and his wife, Mary Sivertson Britten, in front of a Giant Sequoia during those days. He was an important and efficient guardian for these parks and reserves. Sophie Britten Three Rivers, California

RE-ENACTING “BIG IRON” I want to thank you for publishing Marshall Trimble’s article on Marty Robbins [October 2017]. I can’t tell you the number of times my friends and I re-enacted the shoot-out in his song “Big Iron.” We would put the album on my parent’s RCA-Victrola and go to the song. One of us would live and one of us would die, depending on whose turn it was. Bruce Blahut Jefferson, Georgia

Oops! September 2017: In “The West’s Best Art Museums,” Santa Clara Pueblo artist Michael Naranjo, not Allan Houser, was the artist blinded in action during the Vietnam War. October 2017: On p. 17, soldiers stand around a M1885 Breechloading Field Cannon, not an M1875 Hotchkiss Mountain Gun. Thomas Jeffords’ middle name is frequently misreported, and while author Doug Hocking did record it accurately as “Jefferson,” a caption on p. 30 repeated the erroneous “Jonathan.” In True Western Towns, Hickok’s first name was incorrectly cited as “William” instead of “James.” In “Vaqueros, Buckaroos & Cowboys,” William Hearst’s ranch was misspelled; it should be Babicora. November 2017: In “The Real Frank James,” the James brothers robbed one bank in Northfield, and the Ford boys were alive when Frank surrendered in 1882; Charlie killed himself in 1884 and Bob was shot dead in 1892. T R U E



TIS THE SEASON Celebrating Christmas in today’s American West essentially follows similar trends found around the country. One notable exception is Las Posadas: a novenario (nine days of religious observance represents the nine month of pregnancy of Mary the mother of Jesus) between December 16 and ending December 24. The multi-day event’s name is from the Spanish for lodging or accommodations and is based in the New Testament story of quest for shelter by the Holy Family and the subsequent birth of the Christ in a humble stable. The tradition of Los Posadas began some 400 years ago in Mexico and represents an amalgam to the Aztec winter solstice festival during the month of December (panquetzaliztli) and the Christian observance of the Nativity. Another Aztec transplant, the Poinsettia, had been a source of dye and a medicinal plant that the Spanish adopted as the symbol for Dia de la Virgen (Day of the Virgin) celebrated on place December 12. Coincidentally, this is date in 1851 that the botanist, physician and first U.S. Minister (akin to Ambassador) to Mexico Joel Roberts Poinsett died. This Jeffersonian man of letters, science and civil service introduced the plant that now bears his name to the United States from south of the border. Diplomat-scientist Joel Roberts Poinsett (left) may have brought the ubiquitous holiday flower from Mexico, but Mexican piñatas filled with Christmas candy have also become a widely enjoyed custom across America. – IMAGES COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS –


The Return of the Mountain Men We track the fur trapper’s world and find out what inspired “mad as a hatter.”


or the past several years we’ve featured Mountain Men on the cover for our December issue and it’s become something of a tradition. We like the furred-out visage of those grizzled guys, and it doesn’t hurt that their environment leans toward the cold setting of the mountains, which doubles as a season’s greetings. This issue, Paul Andrew Hutton offers a clear-eyed overview on the rise and fall of the fur trade, and Kit Carson’s place in it (p. 22). The devil is in the details, and Hutton’s article offers plenty to chew on, with delicious tidbits that range from the Mountain Man’s daily trap routines to the origin of the term “mad as a hatter.” With the collapse of the beaver trade, many of these Mountain Men found work as frontier military scouts, Carson included. One of the first Wild West shows to popularize this next breed of hardy frontiersmen was The Scouts of the Plains, starring “Buffalo Bill” Cody and “Wild Bill” Hickok. This stage show gave way to the traveling outdoor shows popularized by Cody, which spread the influence of the scout worldwide and gained the showman great fame and fortune in the process. The scout ended up eclipsed by the gunfighter. The person who helped create that gritty archetype attempted to be a scout like his hero, Carson. That man, Hickok, married a circus queen, but ended up buried next to a female “scout” Calamity Jane. How that happened is also a crazy story (p. 46).

For a behind-the-scenes look at running this magazine, check out BBB’s daily blog at

Kit Carson Keeps Coming Back for More To understand one of the most misunderstood icons of the Old West, we invariably turn to Historical Consultant Paul Andrew Hutton, who has covered the controversial icon more than once. The first time was in 2004, with his stellar take, “Why is This Man Forgotten?” We returned to the topic of Mountain Men twice in 2015 (see February and December covers). This year’s article inquires: Was Kit Carson king of the trappers? – BY BOB BOZE BELL –








“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy, but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.” – Winston Churchill, former U.K. prime minister

“He who laughs—lasts!” – George F. Worts, American pulp author

“A good man would prefer to be defeated than to defeat injustice by evil means.” – Sallust, Roman historian

“Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction.” – Aesop, in The Frog and the Ox

“You can know the name of [a] bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird.... So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing—that’s what counts. (I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.)” —Richard Feynman, American theoretical physicist

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” —Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company

“Dressing up is inevitably a substitute for good ideas. It is no coincidence that technically inept business types are known as ‘suits.’” – Paul Graham, English venture capitalist

“Life is tough, and if you have the ability to laugh at it, you have the ability to enjoy it.”

“If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it.”

—Salma Hayek, shown in 2006’s Bandidas

– Socrates, Greek philosopher

“Once Upon a Time in the West was the summa of everything to me.” – Director Sergio Leone T R U E



Old Vaquero Saying

“When all is said and done, more is said than done.”


A Tol Tale of Texas Lyne Taliaferro “Tol” Barret founded the state oil industry…a bit too early.


yne Taliaferro “Tol” Barret had a big idea—big even by Texas standards. Too bad he was ahead of his time. Barret was born in Virginia in 1832. His family moved to Texas 10 years later, although his father died during the trip. Tol played in the waters of Oil Springs near his home outside Nacogdoches, likely witnessing how early settlers and Cherokees took the oily patches on the water to use for medicine or to grease wagon wheels. In fall 1859, the first commercial oil well went into production in Pennsylvania, and Barret saw an opportunity. That December, Barret leased 279 acres around Oil Springs to set up his own oil well. But the Civil War intervened; Barret served as a quartermaster, based out of his family mansion. His plans were delayed, but not his enthusiasm: “The great excitement of this age is oil,” Barret said. “This region of Texas will be wild upon the subject in a few months.” In October 1865, just after the war ended, Barret started the Melrose Petroleum Oil Company and began using a steam-powered drill, similar to later oil rigs that bored holes in the ground. The following September, he struck oil. It wasn’t a big gusher, bringing in only 10 barrels a day, but it was oil, of high quality, reported government officials who tested it. Barret needed more money to expand his operation. Local investors had put forward seed money, so Barret traveled to New York and then Pennsylvania, the home of that




Wildcatter L.T. “Tol” Barret (inset) drilled the first oil well in Texas 36 years before the first major oil discovery gushed out at Spindletop (above) in Beaumont, roughly 130 miles south of Oil Springs. – BARRET PHOTO COURTESY EAST TEXAS RESEARCH CENTER; SPINDLETOP PHOTO COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS –

first oil well. He secured an agreement, but the Pennsylvania company backed out before doling out the money. The reasons: low demand for oil and the difficulties the nation faced during Reconstruction. Barret lost most of his own money he had put into his company. Reluctantly, he left the oil business and entered a field with a steady income: farming on the family plantation and a mercantile store he opened in the town of Melrose. Ironically, in 1887, the Oil Springs field was drilled again, more oil was found and a boom began. By 1889, the site had 40 wells in operation. Barret was proven right.

A well-respected businessman in East Texas for the rest of his life, Barret led several civic organizations and served as a justice of the peace. He died in 1913. His oil exploration efforts were forgotten—for 100 years. In 1966, memorial markers were placed on his grave and at Stephen F. Austin University, both noting that first oil well and his impact on one of Texas’s most important industries. The next year, the Texas Historical Commission placed a marker at the site of that first well at Oil Springs. Barret finally got his due, even though he never cashed in on his discovery.


Lincoln County’s New History Historical family tales come to light in Billy the Kid country.

Standing in front of the 1868 Old Dowlin Mill in today’s Ruidoso, New Mexico, Marilyn Burchett holds her book that preserves family histories, including the story of Bonifacio Trujillo’s family of 10 children raised in San Patricio. He sits with his wife, Lorencita, surrounded by five daughters (from left) Rosa, Rita, Reymunda and Susanita, with Lorencita by her mom. – COURTESY LINCOLN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY –

My Aunt Jenny had been taken by the Indians as she was four....” The family bought her back with 500 pounds of shelled corn a decade later, in the 1860s. That isn’t the kind of history you find in most books. And considering this happened in Lincoln County, New Mexico Territory, it’s not the kind of history you’d expect from the land of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett. But Lincoln County wasn’t just gunslingers and goons, even in its bloodiest days. The county was also ranchers, farmers, families and Indians; hopes, dreams, fears and loves. Marilyn Burchett was determined to tell those stories too, including her own. She was bothered that she, her mother and sisters could easily find family history records at the local libraries in Tennessee or Missouri, but not in the exotic county of the 47th state that her family had called home since the 1940s. “We need these family history stories before those people are all gone,” she told her fellow board members of the Lincoln County Historical Society.




In 2005, the society formed a committee to explore the idea. “We didn’t know how to do it,” remembers Burchett, noting her 18 years of teaching fifth grade in Hondo Valley didn’t prepare her for this task. One after another, committee members fell away until Burchett was the only one left. “I realized if this was going to get done, I had to do it,” she says. Burchett worked with Laura Reynolds in Ruidoso, who owned a printing firm, to print fliers that announced the project. Burchett carried these fliers to libraries, city halls and businesses all over the county. The first notice sought family histories of no more than 500 words and one family picture to be featured with the text. Burchett smiles now, realizing that word count was rather skimpy. Many of the 400 family stories in Lincoln County, New Mexico, Tells Its Stories are 3,000 words. And more than 5,000 pictures were submitted—850 made it into the book. The historical society published the book as New Mexico celebrated its centennial of statehood in 2012. Burchett is already

planning a second book, to tell more family stories and share more of those thousands of leftover pictures. Last year, Burchett’s efforts won her a State Preservation Award from the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division at the Department of Cultural Affairs. The award honored her as both the “editor and force behind [the book’s] publication” and proclaimed that she had preserved family histories “for generations to come.” Her work has given historians gems that can only come from inside families. Maude Fritz’s fifth child, born in 1912, was so tiny that “Maude slipped her wedding ring over the baby’s hand as a bracelet.” William Gallacher’s last words in 1893, as he stepped into an open mine shaft and fell 375 feet to his death, were, “Watch out below, boys!” Bess Walters recalls, “My mother told me that Billy [the Kid] was a small man with hands like a woman’s.” Jana Bommersbach has earned recognition as Arizona’s Journalist of the Year and won an Emmy and two Lifetime Achievement Awards. She cowrote the Emmy-winning Outrageous Arizona and has written two true crime books, a children’s book and the historical novel Cattle Kate.

Scottsdale Art Auction Presents the

Leanin’ Tree Museum Collection January 19 - 20, 2018









1. Howard Fogg 18'' x 24'' oil 2. gerard Curtis delano 30'' x 36'' oil 3. CHarlie dye 25'' x 37'' oil 4. James reynolds 30'' x 48'' oil 5. BuCk mCCain 162''H Bronze 6. martin grelle 44'' x 44'' oil 7. lloyd mitCHell 24'' x 20'' oil

Auctioning over 500 Works of Western, Landscape & Wildlife Paintings and Sculpture from the Leanin’ Tree Museum Collection

color catalogue available $40 For more information please call (480) 945-0225 or visit





• 480 945-0225

C o l l E C t i ng t h E W E St BY M e g h a n S a a r

An Unusual Scale

Edgar Alwin Payne’s close-up view of Navajo scouts bid the highest at Jackson Hole Art Auction. Born in 1883, Edgar Alwin Payne is more known for landscapes contrasted by small figures than those that filled his canvas as the focal point, such as Navajo Scouting Party (left, $260,000) and Navajos Waiting (bottom right, $50,000). His 1916 sketches (see one, top right) that he drew on the Navajo reservations served as studies for these figural paintings; $6,500. – Sketch courteSy coeur d’Alene Art Auction, July 29, 2017; Navajos waitiNg courteSy heritAge AuctionS, MArch 20, 2012; Navajo scoutiNg Party And All other ArtworkS courteSy JAckSon hole Art Auction –


dgar Alwin Payne’s language of the Southwestern landscape mainly spoke of brilliant cliffs and skies towering over a small group of figures on horseback. So art collectors paid attention when an unusual scale for Edgar’s figures appeared on the auction block at Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Art Auction on September 16, bidding the highest for this oil, $260,000. Navajo Scouting Party is a gift for collectors, as if Edgar were allowing viewers to zoom in with binoculars to better see the American Indians who so frequently meandered through his depictions of skyhigh walls of red sandstone. They are no longer miniscule and unobtrusive, alone in a vast terrain, but rather take up the entire frame, as if to epitomize their importance in the history of the American West. Called “one of the most important Payne paintings I’ve seen come on the market in some time,” by auction partner Roxanne Hofmann Mowery, Navajo Scouting Party

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is not the only close-up view Edgar painted of his Indian riders. Among these paintings that have made their way to auction houses is Navajos Waiting, which hammered down for $50,000 at Heritage Auctions in 2012. A blonde native of San Antonio, Texas, may have been the striking force who drew Edgar’s eye to expanding his figural work. After Edgar met Elsie Palmer in 1909, marrying her in 1912, she assisted him in his murals by drawing the figures while he painted them. A successful commercial artist, designing billboards for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Pabst Beer, Elsie concentrated her powerful grasp of color by painting scenes of people she came across in her life. One wonders how much influence Elsie had on her husband’s art in those moments he decided to transplant his riders from the background into the foreground. His growth in this area is evident in a group of circa 1916 studies that sold at this year’s Coeur d’Alene Art Auction. That year is when Edgar packed

up his family and headed to Arizona and New Mexico, to paint at the Grand Canyon and on the Hopi and Navajo reservations. Elsie was still close to Edgar, even after they separated in 1932. When he fell ill four years later, she took care of him, and when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1946, she moved in to nurse him until he died on April 8, 1947. Although Edgar’s dominance overshadowed her own work, Elsie championed his art, physically embodying her appreciation of him in a 1952 sculpture she made of Edgar, placed at Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, California. Collectors made nearly $4.2 million on Western and wildlife art at the Jackson Hole Art Auction.

Upcoming AUction December 10, 2017

Civil War & Militaria Arms and Armor Heritage Auctions (Dallas, TX) • 877-437-4824

Six W.H.D. Koerner paintings went up for bid at Jackson Hole Art Auction, with all tracing their provenance directly through the Koerner family. His illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post got the highest-selling bids for the artist: New Horizons (left) and Sheriff and Citizens of the Law (above), for $150,000 each. Arnold Friberg’s Uncertain Odds, hammering at $80,000, illustrates the unspoken race between railroads and stagecoaches to meet transportation needs in the frontier West. Interestingly, automobiles would actually be the mode of transport that pushed out stagecoaches for good.

Sun Up, a frontier camp meal scene by Colorado artist Charlie Dye, hammered down at $75,000.

Showing off Frederic Remington’s studies of horse locomotion, 1901’s The Cheyenne was the artist’s first sculpture to be cast in one piece. The bronze you see at the Metropolitan Museum of Art differs from this cast, as Remington made changes. The most notable one was moving the shield from high on the Cheyenne’s back, as the museum cast shows, to a lower point, as seen on this bronze sold at the auction; $75,000. t r u e


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FinaLLy.... The “Prince of Pistoleers” meets the “Prince of Western History” in this much anticipated new book from Bob Boze Bell—chock full of the great art, rare photos, authoritative history, and that unique dose of Boze whimsy that we have come to expect. More fun than any history book should be and a must have addition to every Western collection.

— Paul Andrew Hutton

“Bob Boze Bell is a master at recreating a time and a place. The melange holds together to form a narrative that comprises a new kind of history. Not scholarship, but almost more illuminating & immediate.” — Gary Zaboly

Available for Christmas Delivery (soft cover only) / 888-687-1881


Red Ryder BB Gun Our first gun is still a classic for all ages.


ears ago, at a friend’s 50th birthday party, I gave him a Red Ryder 50th Anniversary, special edition BB rifle. Despite his being showered with a variety of unique gifts, it was this little lever gun that generated the most conversation. Virtually everyone was fascinated by the airgun, and it seemed as though nearly everyone from this group of middle-aged men and women remembered owning one during their youth. It was then that I realized that, although often overlooked by most of us, the Red Ryder BB gun could be considered a classic Western gun. Introduced in 1940, this air rifle represented the ultimate of a Western-style airgun at that time. Daisy air rifles date back to 1888, when the company produced its first crude model. By the late 1930s, Daisy had been offering a “Buck Jones” model for some years, but, when the famous cowboy star tragically died in a flaming building, the firm brought out an improved version of that smoothbore, using the then-new comic strip cowboy “Red Ryder.” The brainchild

of cartoonist Fred Harmon, this red-headed cowpoke was a rough ridin’, straightshootin’ buckaroo who became the cowboy hero of many of America’s youngsters. The airgun featured blued metal parts, copper-plated barrel bands and a saddlering with a “gen-u-wine” leather thong—just the right touch for Red’s little saddle pals. It was the first air rifle to feature such appealing details to the youngsters of the day. Initially selling for $2.95, this dandy gun was a rousing success. When the U.S. entered World War II in December of 1941, the Daisy Manufacturing Company turned its efforts toward producing defense materials and ceased production of the Red Ryder until 1946. The post-war version remained mostly unchanged from its pre-war version, except it had blued barrel bands rather than the earlier copper models. Around 1950, plastic stocks and forearms were incorporated into production, and for a brief transition period, some guns were sold with both wood and plastic parts. By year’s end, all Red Ryders had plastic stocks. The No. 111 Model 40 (original designation) was finally discontinued in 1953, having

delivered about six million copies to eager youngsters nationwide. In 1949 alone, over one million Red Ryders were produced. After a slight updating and cosmetic change in 1954, the 1955 Red Ryder became the Model 94 Red Ryder, with plastic stock and forearm, leather wrapped around the butt plate, silvered silk-screened artwork on the receiver and a silvered forearm band and lever. By 1959, while the Model 94 continued in production, the Red Ryder name was dropped. The next 15 or so years could be called the dark ages of the BB gun world, for no Red Ryder air rifles were produced. They did return, though, in 1972 as the Model 1938 (after the year of the birth of the Red Ryder comic series), again boasting a wooden stock and forearm. Despite some

Daisy’s Red Ryder was first introduced in 1940 with blued metal parts, copperplated barrel bands, and on the left side of the shiny varnish-type finished wood stock, the Red Ryder “signature,” along with an image of the ol’ buckaroo on a galloping horse and artist/creator Fred Harmon’s name. This little BB gun was one of a youngster’s “necessities,” whether he was a city kid or lived down on the farm. – ALL PHOTOS COURTESY DAISY AIRGUN MUSEUM, ROGERS ARKANSAS, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED –




Equipped with a blade and ramp front sight and an adjustable rear sight, the current Daisy Red Ryder (below) sports a plain oil-finished wooden stock, forearm and metal parts painted blue/black rather than being actual blued metal. Nonetheless, the rifle looks and functions just like those fun BB guns we packed around back in our youth.

This 1940-vintage full-page ad (right) for the then-new Red Ryder BB gun reveals that it sold for just $2.95. While it was the first gun for many of us, millions know it from the 1983 classic film of humorist Jean Shepherd’s story of longing for the cowboy airgun in A Christmas Story. This nostalgic movie has developed such a following that it is shown on TV every Christmas season.

minor details and improvements (under the Model 1938B designation), like non-removable shot tubes, and the addition of a crossbolt safety in the trigger mechanism, the air rifle has remained the same up through today. Arguably the most popular BB gun in the world, this 35.4-inch-long little rifle weighs just 2.2 pounds and holds 650 of the .177 caliber BBs. Recommended for kids 10 years of age or older, a Red Ryder is capable of generating approximately 350 feet-per-




Red Ryder was one of America’s fictional cowboy heroes of the 1930s through the 1950s. He was often depicted on the silver screen by Wild Bill Elliott, as seen here with Robert Blake as Little Beaver, in this lobby card (left) from the 1950 re-release of the 1946 “B” Western Red Ryder film, California Gold Rush. Daisy’s Red Ryder BB gun offered youngsters the opportunity to have a kidsized lever-action repeater just like the one packed by their hero. – COURTESY STUART ROSEBROOK COLLECTION –

Push your limits to the second muzzle-velocity and has a range of around 195 yards. Today’s Red Ryder, with its blued barrel, lever and barrel band, saddle ring with leather thong, and the image of Red Ryder on his galloping horse pressed into its wooden stock, remains a reminder of our original airguns and a lasting memory of the Wild West of our childhoods. A classic Western gun? You betchum, Red Ryder!


to find treasure!


Phil Spangenberger has written for Guns & Ammo, appears on the History Channel and other documentary networks, produces Wild West shows, is a Hollywood gun coach and character actor, and is True West’s Firearms Editor.

BLACK POWDER CARTRIDGE MAGAZINEWIn the past few decades interest in black powder cartridge guns has enjoyed a resurgence. In response to this enthusiasm, two well-respected shooters, Steve Garbe and Mike Venturino, started The Black Powder Cartridge News. Now in its 25th year and published quarterly by Wolfe Publishing, the editors (including Garbe) have been keeping the charcoalburning cartridge fraternity apprised of the latest developments in the technical side of black powder/smokeless powder cartridge shooting, along with a tasty blend of black powder history, hunting and competition— all written by some of the best-known names in the field. If you enjoy black powder cartridge longarms or handguns, you’re sure to get solid value from this worthwhile publication.


Visit to find your nearest dealer.




By Paul andrew Hutton

Kit Carson and the Mountain Men A

large rodent determined the destiny of Kit Carson, the Mountain Men and much of the American West. The North American beaver, the second-largest rodent in the world, along with its Eurasian cousin, was prized for its luxurious fur. Beaver pelts, useful in manufacturing malleable felts for hats, were prized throughout Europe, with the industry centralized in Russia from the 15th century onward. The fine quality of beaver hats, and their expense, led to their identification with wealth. During the English Civil War, the broad-brimmed beaver hat became symbolic of the royalist cavalier faction, while in the Catholic Church, it became the headgear of cardinals. By the late 16th century, however, European beavers had been trapped to near-extinction. The colonization of the New World opened up a fresh and cheaper supply of beaver pelts. The French and the British fought a series of wars in order to monopolize this new fur trade market. The triumphant British attempted to keep their American colonies hemmed in to the east of the Appalachian Mountains to better control this valuable trade, which contributed to the outbreak of revolution in 1775. With an increased supply of highquality beaver pelts from America and

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Was Kit Carson truly the king of the trappers?

celebrity status mean Kit also deserves to be recognized as one of the kings of the fur trade?

Runaway Teen Kills His First Man the introduction of demi-castors (halfbeaver pelts mixed with wool or hare), the price dropped and markets expanded throughout Europe and the colonies. Now affordable to most consumers, hats were worn by everyone, in styles ranging from the top hat to clerical and military headgear that included the naval co*cked hat, the tricorne and the army shako. In this era of almost-constant warfare, the English dominated the military headgear trade after 1750—it was big business. The new American government looked to the frontier fur trade as a critical source for economic growth. When Thomas Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark westward in 1803, the explorers were charged with ascertaining the potential of the fur trade beyond the Missouri River. John Colter, one of the members of that expedition, would soon become famous for his exploits as a new type of frontiersman—the Mountain Man. Yet the most famous of all the Mountain Men would be born on Christmas Eve in 1809 in Madison County, Kentucky— Christopher “Kit” Carson. But does his

When Kit was two, his parents, Lindsey and Rebecca Carson, moved their family of 11 children westward in 1811, following Daniel Boone’s trail to Boon’s Lick, in Howard County, Missouri. Lindsey was killed in an accident while clearing out trees in 1818. Three years later, after Rebecca remarried, she apprenticed 12-year-old Kit to David Workman in nearby Old Franklin. The boy was to learn the saddler’s trade. Workman was a kind master, but Kit was unhappy with the labor. He later stated, “being anxious to travel for the purpose of seeing different countries, I concluded to join the first party for the Rocky Mts.”

(Opposite page) A Presbyterian pastor, the Rev. Samuel Parker, was the first to introduce Kit Carson and his exploits in a book. Kit’s interest to readers would continue, even after his death on May 23, 1868, as demonstrated by works that included The Fighting Trapper, or, Kit Carson to the Rescue, a dime novel published in 1874. –Courtesy Library of Congress –

Kit Carson II wears a coat owned by a Mountain Man friend of his father’s, Tom Tobin. Kit II must have gotten the coat from his brother William, who married Tom’s daughter Pasqualita in 1878. – COURTESY A.R. MITCHELL MUSEUM OF WESTERN ART, TRINIDAD, CO –

Old Franklin was an outfitting center for wagon trains heading west over the Santa Fe Trail. In August 1826, Kit joined William Wolfskill and Andrew Broadus’s caravan bound for Santa Fe in present-day New Mexico. Workman placed a one-cent reward for the runaway in the October 6, 1826, Missouri Intelligencer: “Notice is hereby given to all persons, that Christopher Carson, a boy about 16 years old, small of his age, but thick-set; light hair, ran away from the subscriber, living in Franklin, Howard County, Missouri, to whom he had been bound to learn the saddler’s trade.... All persons are notified not to harbor, support, or assist said boy under penalty of the law.” The teenager reached Santa Fe that November and immediately headed north to Taos, then the seat of the Southwestern fur trade. He wintered there with Matthew Kinkead, a trapper who was also from Boon’s Lick. In the spring, Kit joined on as a teamster for an El Paso, Texas-bound wagon train. Back in Taos, Kit met Ewing Young, famed for his daring trapping expeditions throughout the Southwest. Young employed Kit as a cook, but soon promoted him to trapper. From Young, Carson learned not only how to be a trapper, but also the cruel reality of life on the far-flung edges of the frontier. In the spring of 1829, he accompanied Young and 40 other trappers on a dangerous journey to trap beaver along the headwaters of Gila River. This was Apache country, and the trappers had to dodge Mexican Army patrols—fur trapping by Americans was illegal—as well as Apache scouts. American trappers were notorious for bribing Apaches with powder and guns for safe passage, yet Young declined to do so. Along the Salt River, Apaches attacked, but he and his trappers repulsed their foe.




In this fight, 19-year-old Kit killed his first man. As was the trapper’s custom, Kit scalped the Apache. As Young’s party pushed westward to trap along the Verde River, various American Indian bands continually harassed them. In frustration, Young sent a party of men to Taos with beaver pelts secured thus far, while he headed to present-day California with Kit and 16 others to seek safer trapping country. A difficult journey followed in which their passage was blocked by the Grand Canyon. A band of Mojaves, who traded corn and beans with the trappers, guided them south to a crossing of the Colorado River. This same river crossing is where Mojaves had slaughtered most of Jedediah Smith’s trappers two summers before. Young’s party reached San Gabriel Mission (near present-day Los Angeles) and turned north to trap the central valley of present-day California before returning to Taos in present-day New Mexico with 2,000 pounds of beaver pelts in April 1831. This was the first party of Americans to cross from the Rio Grande settlements to present-day California and then back again. In this epic journey, Kit became a full-fledged member of that daring and eccentric breed who came to be called Mountain Men.

Trapping with Broken Hand In the autumn of 1831, Kit signed on with Thomas Fitzpatrick, one of the heads of the new Rocky Mountain Fur Company. Called “Broken Hand” by Indians because of a gunshot wound to his left wrist, Fitzpatrick had immigrated to America from County Cavan, Ireland, in 1816 at age 17. He traveled up the Missouri in 1823 with William Henry Ashley’s company—a band that included Jed Smith, Jim Bridger, Hugh Glass, William Sublette and James Clyman. Some of these men were already

on the Yellowstone with Ashley’s partner, Maj. Andrew Henry. Fitzpatrick took part in the great battle with the Arikara that June on the Missouri, in which a dozen trappers were killed and as many more wounded. Many trappers pulled out of the trade after Ashley’s fight, but Fitzpatrick—along with Smith, Sublette, Clyman, Edward Rose and six other bold adventurers— decided to bypass the river route and strike westward to find a pass across the mountains and open up a land route between St. Louis, Missouri, and the rich beaver country on the far side of the Continental Divide. The party crossed the Black Hills and made for Absaraka, the land of the Crows. Rose, who was intimate with the Crows, went ahead to meet with his friends. While he was gone, Smith was horribly mauled by a grizzly bear along the Cheyenne River. His detached scalp and dangling right ear were stitched back on by Clyman. Fitzpatrick went ahead with most of the men to trap along the branches of the Powder River, while two stayed behind to nurse Smith. The party, eventually rejoined by Smith, then wintered with the Crows just north of present-day Wyoming’s Wind River Valley. The Crows told their guests that the beaver were so plentiful in the Green River to the south that they would not need traps, but could club them. The trappers headed south in February to find this beaver Eden and, after an arduous journey, rediscovered South Pass. Others had been there before—most notably the eastbound Astorians led by Robert Stuart in 1812—but the Smith-Fitzpatrick party put South Pass on the map. In time, South Pass became the key point on the great road of Western empire. The party trapped with great success. Smith and some of the men remained in

the mountains, while Fitzpatrick carried their beaver pelts to Fort Atkinson, along the Missouri in present-day Nebraska, and reported the discovery of South Pass to Ashley. When Fitzpatrick led Ashley and a party of trappers back into the mountains, Ashley divided the trappers into smaller parties and marked a spot along the present-day Utah-Wyoming border (at the mouth of Henry’s Fork of the Green) where they would all meet at the end of their hunts. The result was the first great Mountain Man rendezvous, held on the Green River in July 1825. Some 120 men attended this first of 16 such mountain fairs. Most were Ashley-Henry trappers who included Fitzpatrick, Clyman and Smith, but 20 Hudson Bay Company deserters joined in, as did a band of trappers up from Taos under Étienne Provost. At that first rendezvous, Ashley hauled in 9,000 pounds of beaver pelts, worth $50,000 in St. Louis, Missouri ($1.25 million in today’s money). Beaver skins traded for around $5 each. In comparison, coffee or sugar traded for $2 a pint, gunpowder $2 a pint, lead $1 a bar, tobacco $2 per pound, a good knife $2.50, while a blanket was $20. Whiskey was not plentiful at this first rendezvous, but that would change. After the 1826 rendezvous, held in Cache Valley in present-day Utah, Ashley sold out to Smith, Sublette and David Jackson. Smith then led expeditions southwest from present-day Utah into California, where he trapped north up the San Joaquin to the American River and then east across the Sierra Nevada to reach the 1827 rendezvous at Bear Lake in present-day Utah. His remarkable expeditions made the teetotaling, biblereading Smith a legend in the mountains.

Fur trappers were more rustic in their hats, as seen in this 1890 Frederic Remington artwork, but the beaver pelts they sold were turned into fashionable hats fraught with peril. Mercury nitrate made producing demi-castors easier, by applying the chemical compound to hare felt that was being mixed in with the higherquality beaver felt. That process, however, led to unfortunate health consequences for workers who made these hats—thus the phrase “mad as a hatter.” –COURTESY TIM PETERSON FAMILY COLLECTION, SCOTTSDALE’S MUSEUM OF THE WEST –




Kit Carson entered this world on Christmas Eve and left it the most famous of all the Mountain Men who blazed their trails in the frontier West. – Courtesy A.r. MitChell MuseuM of Western Art, trinidAd, Co –

In 1830, Smith sold out to Fitzpatrick, Bridger and three others, who formed the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. This is the outfit that Kit signed on with in 1831. After purchasing the fur company, Fitzpatrick traveled to Santa Fe, in presentday New Mexico, with Smith, Jackson and Sublette. He needed to secure trade goods to take back to his men in the mountains. Smith, who had decided to quit the mountains after so many narrow escapes, was killed by Comanches along the Cimarron that May. Late in July 1831, Fitzpatrick and some 40 men, including Kit, headed north up the front range to the North Platte and then west toward the Green River Rendezvous. Fitzpatrick soon returned to St. Louis, Missouri, but Kit and the others trapped the Green and then wintered in Idaho Country near the headwaters of the Salmon River. With the thaw, Kit and a handful of companions moved east to trap the central Colorado streams, where they had several sharp engagements with natives, endured considerable privation and hardship, but still returned to Taos in New Mexico country in October 1833 laden down with fur. Trapping was, needless to say, hard and dangerous work. Kit’s friend Joe Meek left a clear account of the techniques employed by the trappers: “[The trapper] has an ordinary steel trap weighing five pounds, attached to a chain five feet long, with a swivel and ring at the end, which plays round what is called the float, a dry stick of wood, about six feet long. The trapper wades out into the stream, which is shallow, and cuts with his knife a bed for the trap, five or six inches under water. “He then takes the float out the whole length of the chain in the direction of the centre of the stream, and drives it into the mud, so fast that the beaver cannot draw it out; at the same time tying the

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other end by a thong to the bank. A small stick or twig, dipped in musk or castor serves for bait, and is placed so as to hang directly above the trap, which is now set. “The trapper then throws water plentifully over the adjacent bank to conceal any foot prints or scent by which the beaver would be alarmed, and going to some distance wades out of the stream.”

The trappers skinned the beavers after removing from the trap (if the trap worked properly, the beavers had drowned). They discarded the meat and harvested only the pelt and castor glands for future bait. They kept the beaver tail too, considered a delicacy in the mountains. The mountains were becoming crowded. Britain’s Hudson’s Bay Company ruled the far northwest. Their trappers pushed

south into the central Rockies with the goal of trapping out the beaver and keeping Americans from coming north. Empire was at stake as well as money. The Americans had no such monopoly, for rival free trappers competed with the men of Fitzpatrick’s Rocky Mountain Fur Company and John Jacob Astor’s older American Fur Company for furs. In this reckless enterprise, the beaver population was soon destroyed, as was the self-sufficiency of the natives. The diseases inadvertently introduced by the trappers also decimated the Indian population, especially among the river tribes. Astor, who operated several important fur trading posts in competition with the St. Louis trappers, came to dominate the trade. He made a fortune, but wisely left the business in 1834, just before its rapid decline. Kit remembered his youthful years as a Mountain Man as the happiest days of his life. In March 1834, he rejoined Fitzpatrick and Bridger in northwestern Colorado. Although he was a free trapper, he agreed to work with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. While out hunting alone late one afternoon, Kit shot an elk, but almost immediately was confronted by two grizzly bears who seemed to desire a twocourse dinner of both hunter and elk. With no time to reload, Kit ran for his life and climbed a tree. The bears could not climb the tree, but one remained a while to study Kit. “He finally concluded to leave,” Kit recalled, “of which I was heartily pleased, never having been so scared in my life.” Bears might well have been Kit’s most terrifying foe that trapping season, but the Blackfeet also made life miserable for the trappers. In February 1835, Kit was shot through the shoulder in a fight with the Blackfeet along present-day Idaho’s Snake River. He recovered well enough to join Bridger in a spring hunt before heading to the Green River Rendezvous.

“Kit Carson... told him if he wished to die, he would accept the challenge.”

Although that spring hunt was successful, it damaged the future of the Mountain Men by killing beaver mothers before they could nurture their kits (baby beavers who remained in the lodge for the first month of life).

A Grand Rendezvous The August 1835 Green River Rendezvous was to be one of the last of the great Mountain Men gatherings—and also its most notable. Lucien Fontenelle had departed from what would become Bellevue, Nebraska, in late June with six wagons, roughly 50 men and nearly 200 horses, and, on July 26, met up with Fitzpatrick at Fort William along the Laramie River (the future Fort Laramie). He had with him two Presbyterian missionaries—Dr. Marcus Whitman and the Rev. Samuel Parker—bound for Oregon Country. Under Fitzpatrick’s command, the party set out on August 1 and reached the Green River Rendezvous 11 days later. Roughly 200 Mountain Men came, along with bands of Arapahos, Shoshones, Nez Perces, Flatheads and Utes. All attention was quickly riveted on Dr. Whitman, who demonstrated his great surgical skill by removing a three-inch iron arrow point from Bridger’s back. The Blackfoot barb had been lodged in Bridger for three years. Whitman, the hero of the hour, was now much sought after by many an ailing trapper in the camp. Parker was delighted to find so many potential Indian converts at the Rendezvous, but he had no hope for the white heathens he found there: “They appear to have sought for a place where, as they would say, human nature is not oppressed by the tyranny of religion, and pleasure is not awed by the frown of virtue.” Kit distracted the good reverend in a dramatic display of Mountain Men anger. “A hunter, who goes technically by the

name of the great bully of the mountains, mounted his horse with a loaded rifle, and challenged any Frenchman, American, Spaniard, or Dutchman, to fight him in single combat,” the Reverend wrote. “Kit Carson, an American, told him if he wished to die, he would accept the challenge. Shunar [Chouinard] defied him—C. mounted his horse, and with a loaded pistol, rushed into close contact, and both almost at the same instant fired.” Kit, who was slightly wounded above the ear, put a ball through his opponent Joseph Chouinard’s wrist that went up his arm before exiting. The wounded French trapper who worked for Astor’s company begged Kit for his life. Parker did not know that Kit and Chouinard had previously quarreled over the affections of an Arapaho girl, Waanibe or Singing Grass, and that she had inspired their duel. In good time, Kit would ask her father for the girl’s hand, pay a substantial bride price and take her away into the mountains. With the Rendezvous winding down and most of the Indian bands departing, Fitzpatrick headed to Fort William with 120 beaver packs and 80 bundles of buffalo robes. More than 80 trappers accompanied him, for the beaver were playing out and trappers were quitting the business. Fitzpatrick was also joined by Dr. Whitman, returning east to recruit more missionaries. Bridger guided the Rev. Parker toward Oregon Country, until he and his men reached Jackson Hole in present-day Wyoming to trap; Flatheads and Nez Perces conducted the missionary westward. Parker explored Oregon country before he returned to the East coast by sailing ship via Hawaii and Cape Horn. His memoir of his adventures—Journal of an Exploring Tour Beyond the Rocky

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Kit Carson’s near-deadly encounter with grizzly bears may have left him desirous of a grizzly bear chair, like the one presented to President Andrew Johnson, crafted by fiddler Seth Kinman, who sits in the chair in the below photo. Based at Fort Humboldt in California, Kinman reportedly shot 800 grizzly bears in his lifetime. – COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS –

Mountains—published —published in New York in 1838, contained his account of Kit’s duel with Chouinard. This marked Kit’s first appearance in a book, but hardly the last.

Quitting the Mountains By mid-September 1835, Kit was trapping with Bridger along the Yellowstone and Big Horn Rivers on the fall hunt. Kit even worked briefly for the Hudson’s Bay Company. The trappers found themselves constantly harassed by Blackfeet until the spring of 1837, when a smallpox epidemic reduced the once mighty tribe by two-thirds. The Mandans were almost completely wiped out. Astor’s men had inadvertently carried the pestilence up the Missouri River. When Waanibe bore Kit a daughter, Adeline, they quit Blackfeet country and went south to Fort Davy Crockett at Brown’s Hole in presentday northwestern Colorado. Many of the Mountain Man marriages with Indian women were unions of economic convenience, but Kit and Waanibe were a real love match. Kit attempted to explain their devotion to each other to Jessie Benton Frémont, in simple Mountain Man terms: “But she was a good woman. I never came in from hunting but she had warm water for my feet.” Waanibe bore Kit another child, in 1840, but became ill with fever and died from the complications of childbirth. A devastated Kit, with two small children to care for, decided to leave the mountains. “Beaver was getting scarce, and, finding it was necessary to try our hand at something else,” he later declared, some of us “concluded to start for Bent’s Fort on the Arkansas.”




Kit was warmly greeted at the trading post in 1841. Ceran St. Vrain and the Bent brothers offered him employment as a contract hunter, at $1 a day. The buffalo hide trade was quickly supplanting the beaver trade as the money maker. In Europe, the silk hat had come into favor, while the beaver hat fell out of fashion. By 1840, the beaver had been all but wiped out by the trappers anyway. “Come, we are done with this life in the mountains—done with wading in beaver-dams, and freezing or starving alternately—done with Indian trading and Indian fighting,” Robert Newell told Joe Meek. “The fur trade is dead in the Rocky Mountains, and it is no place for us now, if ever it was.” One by one, the trappers quit the mountains. The great era of the Mountain Men had come to an end. Many of these men, including Kit and Fitzpatrick, found

work as guides for U.S. Army explorers and as Indian agents. Kit guided the famed “Pathfinder,” John C. Frémont, and that soldier’s report of their exploits made Kit the most famous frontiersman in America. Was Kit the king of the Mountain Men, as later writers heralded him? Not at all. While Kit certainly deserved his reputation as a scout, Indian agent and soldier, he was never a leader of the Mountain Men. He came to the mountains late. Young, Smith, Fitzpatrick, Sublette and Bridger were among the true leaders of that rare breed. Backing them, of course, were the men with the money—Astor, Ashley and the Hudson’s Bay Company. All of them contributed to a bold enterprise that had blazed a trail across the wilderness that would soon give rise to a continental nation. A Distinguished Professor of History at the University of New Mexico, Paul Andrew Hutton won the Western Writers of America Spur for his most recent book, The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History.

(Opposite page) Kit Carson earned his fame as a new type of frontiersman, the Mountain Man, charting out in unknown territories fraught with danger, just like these Mountain Men, portrayed in this detail of Frank McCarthy’s oil Crossing the Divide. –COURTESY TIM PETERSON FAMILY COLLECTION, SCOTTSDALE’S MUSEUM OF THE WEST –



“...a city of mud-boxes, dingy and dilapidated, cracked and baked into a composite of dust and filth; littered about with broken corrals, sheds, bake-ovens, carcasses of dead animals, and broken pottery; barren of verdure, parched, naked, and grimly desolate in the glare of a southern sun.”

wo American presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, began their lives as surveyors, a skill in short supply when the U.S. tried to draw its boundary with Mexico following the victory in 1848. The 1850 survey party that walked in their footsteps fully understood that the future of the U.S. and Mexico hung on them successfully mapping the nebulous border. Their service was marred by a poorly worded treaty that started the boundary from the village of El Paso in Texas, resulting in the American surveyors drawing wildly inaccurate maps. Showing El Paso eight miles north of its actual location, the maps led to confusion and conflict over the U.S.-Mexico border in this remote corner of the continent. The full story offers up backroom dealings, a growing conflict between free and slave states prior to the Civil War, the flawed man behind the name on the map and the bargain that finally ousted a dictator who had not been brought down by losing a war.

The Mexican-American War, like Vietnam more than a century later, was not uniformly popular in the United States. Northerners suspected the real aim of the war was to extend slavery to the west. Southerners welcomed Texas as a slave state and were ready to take on more territory, including Cuba and large parts of Mexico. In 1848, after the end of the war, the two countries negotiated the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in which Mexico ceded a vast territory to the United States. In exchange, the U.S. paid Mexico $15 million and assumed $3.25 million in claims against the Mexicans. This is the treaty that resulted in the inaccurate placement of El Paso and thus an illdefined border between the two nations.

The Man Behind the Name While the survey party worked on its mission, which would be completed in 1855, the newly inaugurated U.S. President Franklin Pierce appointed James Gadsden as ambassador to Mexico in 1853.

— John Ross Browne (shown) described the newly formed Arizona Territory town of Tucson, after visiting in 1864


Ratification of the Gadsden Purchase was celebrated in Mesilla, New Mexico Territory, in 1854 (above). Four years later, a map of the Gadsden Purchase was published, showing Sonora and portions of Chihuahua, New Mexico Territory and California (opposite page). – ILLUSTRATION COURTESY MUSEUM OF NEW MEXICO; MAP COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS –




A native of South Carolina, a Yale graduate and a soldier under Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812, Gadsden owned slaves on his Florida plantation. He opposed the admission of California as a free state and, with the help of his senator cousin Edward Holmes, attempted to divide California in half, making the southern section a slave state. After that effort failed, Gadsden led 1,200 petitioners to southern California to establish a slavefriendly colony with at least 2,000 slaves. When he was appointed Mexico’s ambassador, Gadsden had his best opportunity to advance slavery into the frontier. Gadsden left for Mexico City with the task of negotiating a new border. He reported to Washington, D.C., that Mexico was willing to sell territory: “This is a government of plunder and necessity.” Not long after his arrival, Gadsden was joined by Christopher Ward, who recited five options presented by the U.S., the largest of which was the purchase of Baja California and parts of northern Mexico for $50 million. On his own, Ward added that Gadsden should also address claims made by the Garay settlement, which Ward owned, along with other investors. Gadsden was infuriated when he later learned of Ward’s deception. In September, Gadsden met with Antonio López de Santa Anna, the

same Santa Anna of Alamo infamy and the president who had led his country to defeat in the Mexican-American War. The toehold of “His Most Serene Highness” on power was weak. He needed money to maintain the Mexican army and put down the opposition. Santa Anna, however, rejected the $50 million offer. After several meetings, Santa Anna and Gadsden agreed that the U.S. would purchase roughly 45,000 square miles for $15 million. Gadsden also agreed to assume the claims of the Garay settlement and to try to control the cross-border raids of American Indians into Mexico. From the American side, the most important gain from the treaty was the opening of a southern path for a railroad.

The Last Straw The Senate had to confirm Gadsden’s agreement. Northerners were suspicious of the motives to extend slavery, at a time when the conflict between free and slave forces was erupting in Kansas Territory. Some Southerners were disappointed by the limited scope of the treaty, as they had hoped the agreement would have included a port on the Gulf of California. During the Senate proceedings, a copy of the treaty was ordered privately printed for the members’ examination. Within days, however, a copy also appeared in a daily newspaper. An outraged Senate formed an investigative committee to “ascertain the manner and means” of the leak; the senators never found the culprit. T R U E



This surveyor, holding a map and sitting next to a transit tripod, represents the two surveyors—for the U.S., William Emory; for Mexico, José Salazar—who would complete their work with these words, “[T]hese maps and views...shall be evidence of the location of the true line, and shall be the record to which all disputes...shall be referred....” – CourtEsy LibrAry of CongrEss –

The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico James Gadsden, shown here in a detail of James Fraser’s oil portrait, did not live long after his monumental purchase on behalf of the United States. He died at the age of 70, on December 26, 1858, and was buried at St. Phillips Church Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina. – DEsCEnDED from thE EstAtE of mAry LouisE “Lou” KiDDEr gADsDEn, ChArLEston, south CAroLinA –

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As the public weighed in on both sides of the issue, the Senate took a first vote on April 17, defeating the proposal 27 to 18. After intense bargaining, the Senate amended the treaty, removing 9,000 square miles and reducing the price to $10 million; this was approved on a 33 to 28 vote. Opposed to these amendments, Gadsden expressed that talks could be delayed until Santa Anna was overthrown. Yet President Pierce told Gadsden the amended treaty was the best he could expect under the circ*mstances. Under pressure, Santa Anna agreed to the altered terms. The treaty he signed on May 31, 1854, was the last straw for the Mexican people. They overthrew Santa Anna, who escaped into exile. He was tried in absentia for treason. During a later period of exile, he ended up on Staten Island in New York where he came up with a product Americans soon would be chewing over quite a bit. He attempted to make artificial rubber out of a plant called chicle. His experiment failed, but someone noticed the material could be chewed. Santa Anna and other investors had developed the first chewing gum in America, including the gum still called Chiclets.

Arizona’s Entry With Santa Anna out of the picture and a defined U.S.Mexico border, American settlers in Arizona began asking for territorial status as early as 1856. One name unsuccessfully promoted for the region was Gadsonia. After Gadsden died in 1858, several hundreds of his slaves were sold to other masters. Southern interests turned toward Cuba, resulting in a failed attempt to force Spain to sell the territory for $100 million or lose it in a war. The southern transcontinental railroad route to the Pacific Ocean was not completed until the 1880s, well after the northern route was running. In the end, was the Gadsden Purchase of 33 cents per acre a bargain? Ask Tucson, a town occupied at that time by native tribes, descendants of Spanish explorers and Mexicans, which entered the nation as the largest Arizona city within the boundary. The U.S. had won big. Two-fifths of what was then Mexico is territory now comprising most of Arizona, New Mexico, California, Colorado, Utah and Nevada. Greg Bailey is a journalist, playwright and former attorney based in St. Louis, Missouri. His work has been published in The Economist, American Heritage and Time.

Following Antonio López de Santa Anna’s surrender in 1836, portrayed in William Henry Huddle’s painting above (Santa Anna wears white pants, hat in hand), the Mexican president (shown in the circa 1862 photo) found himself needing money to fund his army. He agreed, on December 30, 1853, to sell some 45,000 square miles of land to the U.S. for $15 million. – HUDDLE PAINTING FROM TEXAS CAPITOL IN AUSTIN COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS; SANTA ANNA PHOTO COURTESY HERITAGE AUCTIONS, SEPTEMBER 21, 2013 –

During the second U.S.-Mexico boundary survey in 1893, iron monuments, like the one at left, replaced the pile of stones that Maj. William Emory’s team had used to mark the boundary after the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The men had traveled some 2,000 miles of uncharted territory, and their work was commemorated in 1855 with the International Boundary Marker Number One, located on the west bank of the Rio Grande, outside El Paso, Texas. – EMORY PHOTO COURTESY HERITAGE AUCTIONS, JUNE 7, 2014; MONUMENT PHOTO TRUE WEST ARCHIVES –




By Meghan Saar

A B ozemAn C hristmAs Clashes over booze and a founder’s murder get swept under the rug 150 years ago to prove this montana territory town was keeping with the Christmas spirit.


n Christmas Day in 1867, three years after the founding of this fair Montana Territory city, Bozeman was elected by citizens as the county seat. This was a joyous occasion for a town that had experienced a tumultuous year. The frontiersman who helped blaze the Bozeman Trail through Wyoming Territory into the gold fields of Montana Territory, where he founded this town named after him, had been killed on April 20. His murder remains a mystery to this day. Thomas Cover, who was traveling with Bozeman to negotiate flour contracts with U.S. Army posts, claimed Blackfeet had attacked and killed the frontiersman, but historians have speculated that Bozeman was killed by Cover or by Bozeman’s richest man, cattle rancher Nelson Story. On that Christmas Day, nobody knew if Bozeman’s murderer was standing among them. To protect settlers living in Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley, the War Department established Fort Ellis on August 27. That Christmas, soldiers patrolled the fort surrounded by a wood stockade that within a year would be removed. The War Department decided wood stockades gave a bad impression that U.S. soldiers were cowards who hid from their enemies. Soldiers and settlers were already clashing by Christmas. The fort’s first commander, Robert S. LaMotte, had declared war on saloonkeepers. On December 11, soldiers tore down a log cabin near Bozeman where troops had

purchased liquor. Three days later, they were sent into town to destroy liquor at two businesses. Bozeman was flush with booze in 1867, having just gotten its first brewery, established by German immigrants Jacob Spieth and Charles Krug. Christmas prayers could be lifted to Heaven in Bozeman’s first frame structure, the Methodist Episcopal Church, completed that year. Christmas Day liturgy was held in the same place where litigants sought to prove their innocence. The church caretaker made a point of

this 19th-century santa Claus exemplifies how mr. horr likely looked when he handed out Christmas gifts to schoolchildren in bozeman, montana territory, in 1874. mr. horr could have referred to Joseph, stationed at fort ellis, or brother harry, who worked as a sutler at fort ellis. – Courtesy Library of Congress –


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throwing dirt and sawdust on the wood floors to protect it from the tobacco juice spit out by folks when the building served as the Territorial Supreme Court. Locals could get supplies and goods for their Christmas celebrations from the mercantile store owned by Tuller and Rich Willson, with a new partner who had arrived that year, their brother Lester. Montana State University Archivist Kim Allen Scott has said the 1866 photo of the mercantile, alongside the Empire Corral owned by brother Davis Willson, may be the oldest known photograph of Bozeman. Davis was also the town’s first schoolteacher and the reverend. He sought to prove to the world that Bozeman did indeed have a pleasant Christmas 150 years ago, when he sent this account of the community’s Christmas reverie to the Virginia City newspaper, The Montana Post, on January 4, 1868: A “Merry Christmas” and a “Happy New Year” to you and to all Montana. To the miner, the packer, the hunter, the merchant, the mechanic, and all! Aye! What a world of thought and a feeling of hopes and joys rest in those few little words! How often they have been repeated by dear and distant friends, and how, even now, through the “dark, backward, and abysm of time” their echo falls upon the enchanted ear like the rarest and the richest music. I sit by a blazing fireplace and listen to its murmuring song of comfort, and I see images in the fiery coals that add a sort of melancholy to the time. I look out from

When Christmas came to the soldiers stationed at the brand new Fort Ellis, outside Bozeman, Montana Territory, in 1867, some troops sought out a different kind of Christmas spirit—in the form of liquor. The fort’s commander was no Santa Claus willing to hand out such a present to his camp. – Published on the cover of Harper’s Weekly, January 3, 1863 –


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my window and the snow is falling— falling fast. From the misty atmosphere comes the memories of the New Year and the Christmas of times past, and what a change! But these little words are still whispering their sweet illusions, and neither time, nor circ*mstance, nor a suffering soul within could banish them from our hearts. A low howl comes from out of the mountains, and the dark storm clouds are hovering lower! God pity the helpless and the unclad. May we not forget, in our rejoicing, when we repeat the old-time greetings, there is another meaning in them that is half in prayer and half in doubt, when uttered for the poor and the unfortunate. But with these sober remarks by way of introduction—and in the effort of keeping my communication balanced, should I carry our rejoicings too far— let me here make it known to all the world (for, no doubt, all the world is interested) that we of Bozeman have not been behind them in observing the holidays. On the eventful Christmas Eve, all the Masons and all those who love the Masons met at the large and spacious Hall, 26 by 60, newly built


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in this place, for the purpose of having a grand entertainment in the way of dancing. Our company was honored by many friends from the West Gallatin, by our excellent Captain’s lady from Fort Ellis, and by the fort’s many gentlemanly offi cers—besides many of our fair and brilliant faces who

Photographed three years after the Rev. Davis Willson’s Christmas reverie account, these Fort Ellis officers may have been among those who tried to stamp out liquor during the 1867 holiday season in Bozeman, Montana Territory. – COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS –

This 1866 photograph of the Tuller and Rich store, next to Empire Corral, may just be the oldest known photograph of Bozeman, Montana Territory. – COURTESY MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY, SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, LESTER W. WILLSON FAMILY PAPERS –

Artist Edgar Samuel Paxson sure took on a controversial subject when he painted The Death of John Bozeman in 1898. To this day, historians are unsure who exactly murdered the founder of Bozeman, Montana Territory. – Courtesy MuseuM of the roCkies, robin MaCnab ColleCtion –

inhabit the homely dwellings of stirring, enterprising Bozeman. Who in the East shall henceforth say there is no society, no civilization here? To us, no rooms were ever decorated more gorgeously. Chandeliers never shone more brilliantly; hearts never beat more joyfully; music never thrilled more sweetly; refreshments never refreshed more refreshingly; social spirits never associated more socially; the “many twinkling feet” never twinkled to proportionate time or to dulcet airs more airily. Our friend Frazier is about to repeat the entertainment on New Year’s Eve, when we are expected to glide from the old year to the new in the right time. Bozeman’s boosters had won the day that Christmas. It is still the county seat of Montana’s third most-populous county, Gallatin County, and the Masonic Lodge

No. 6, where that Christmas celebration was held, remains active to this day. Interestingly, “our friend Frazier,” who provided the Christmas entertainment, was none other than George Frazier. The Georgia native and his wife, Elmira, owned the City Hotel and were the last to say goodbye to their lodger, Bozeman, before he left for his fateful journey with Cover. By 1874, Bozeman’s citizens were celebrating Christmas like many would back East, reports David Walter, author of Christmastime in Montana. He shares an account demonstrating such, published in Bozeman Times on December 29, 1874: One need not be very aged to remember his Presbyterian grandfather’s holy horror when the Episcopal church bells rang out Christmas, nor the time when Christmas trees were nothing less than Popish abominations. A Gothic window, or a

cross upon a steeple was enough to turn any deacon’s stomach in those days—and all the women in the congregation had the cramps at the mention of a Christmas tree. But those times have passed away, and Christmas has become a thing of joy to all in the land. In accordance with local custom, the Sunday School had its tree on Christmas Eve and, long before the hour, the Church was filled to overflowing. The tree was a very fine one and was loaded down with gifts. After a musical service by the school, the gifts were distributed, under the paternal supervision of Mr. Horr as Santa Claus—who was the exact counterpart of the old man we once imagined popped down the chimneys of our youth. Every thing passed off pleasantly, and great praise is due the ladies who had the arrangements in charge and who exerted themselves to the utmost to give success to the undertaking. The last Legislature prohibited the firing of guns or pistols within the town limits, or near any public gatherings. We commend the law to the attention of those who have been celebrating Christmas in Bozeman by the banging of firearms. Okay, perhaps Bozeman was still a bit uncivilized in how locals celebrated Christmas. Spreading Christmas cheer through gunplay would have been an unusual scene in the civilized East. Merry Christmas! Despite all attempts to portray Christmastime in Bozeman as just your average holy and joyous celebration, newspapers did admit that gunplay could be a problem. The “banging of firearms” by these cowboys apparently was a common sight on the snowcovered streets of frontier Bozeman. – by frederiC reMington, published in Harper’s Weekly, deCeMber 21, 1889 –

By Tim Dasso

The Other Bowie’s Epic Battle


December 1831, central Texas saw an epic gunfight—with more than 170 combatants! “Epic” and “Bowie” usually come together when describing the 13-day struggle for Texas independence at the Alamo that killed pretty much all of the defenders. For now, though, one of those men, Jim Bowie, was roughly five years away from that fate and was instead well known for his knife duels, fought with his trademark Bowie knife. Yet Jim was not the only belligerent Bowie brother. Rezin brought aggression and hostility full force during an expedition to find a rumored lost Spanish silver mine with younger brother Jim and their party, when they found themselves confronting more than 160 American Indian warriors, who were not happy to see strangers invading their homeland. Their raging, day-long battle would become a testament to the warriors’ tenacious determination to protect their territory and to the treasure hunters’ wherewithal to defend themselves against the overwhelming odds of 15 to one. The Bowie brothers never found the silver, but the legend of the Lost San Saba Mine fed the imagination of treasure hunters for years to come.

Courage Under Fire On December 2, 1831, Rezin, Jim and nine others left San Antonio. They received a warning on December 19; they were being followed by 124 Tehuacana and Waco warriors, and 40 Caddos. The Bowie party picked up the pace. The men hoped to reach the ruins of Presidio San Saba that night. But the rocky roads were wearing out the feet of their horses, and they had to stop about 12 miles from the Spanish fort. Seeking a location that could be well defended, they spotted a grove of about 40 live oak trees. To the north of the

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AgAinst overwhelming o d d s , t h e l e s s fA m o u s Bowie Bro ther risked life And limB during A f e r o c i o u s At tA c k .

trees was a thicket of live oak bushes about 10 feet high, 40 feet long and 20 feet wide. Inside the thicket, about 10 feet from the outer edge, the men cut a wide path, clearing any prickly pear cactus. Forty yards to the west was Calf Creek. Hobbling their horses and placing guards on watch, the party retired for the night. The next morning, while saddling up to depart, they noticed a war party about 200 yards to the east: 164 braves against 11 members of the Bowie group. Scrambling back to their defensive positions amongst the oak trees, the Bowie brothers and their men tied their horses. Rezin and David Buchanan decided they would negotiate, hoping to avoid a confrontation. About 40 yards from the war party, Rezin requested that the tribes send out their leader to talk. The warriors responded by discharging 12 shots, one of which broke Buchanan’s leg. Rezin returned fire with a double-barreled shotgun and a pistol. When he saw an opportunity, he ran to Buchanan, threw him over his shoulder and carried him back to the encampment. The Indians fired a volley that struck Buchanan again, this time in two other places. The bullets also pierced the hunting shirt of his savior, Rezin, but fortunately did not injure him. Seeing Rezin unharmed, eight warriors took after him on foot. Rezin’s comrades stepped in, shooting down four of the braves. The remaining four retreated. On a hill about 60 yards to the northeast, warriors yelled and then opened heavy fire on the defenders. A chief on horseback loudly urged his men to charge the thicket. Caiaphas Ham shot at the chief, which broke the chief’s leg and killed his horse. Four others in the Bowie group loaded and shot at the chief all at once, immediately killing him. Struck this deathly blow, the warriors surrounded their chief and carried his body away. Several fell dead as the Bowie crew continued shooting. The rest of the braves retreated over the hill and out of gunshot range. A surprise was coming.

After Jim Bowie (first inset) disemboweled a banker in Louisiana in 1827, his knife became famous as the Bowie. Yet his brother Rezin (second inset) was probably the one who actually designed the knife. Rezin made sure his brother did not overshadow him when he shared his account of their 1831 battle with Texas Indians; the shown 1883 woodcut illustrated Rezin’s tale. – WOODCUT PUBLISHED IN ATKINSON’S CASKET IN 1833; BOWIE BROTHERS PHOTOS COURTESY PRINTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS COLLECTION, TEXAS STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES COMMISSION –

The Telltale Thicket

The Bowie brothers and their crew of nine found themselves facing death by flames after Texas Indian warriors set fire to the prairie, like this warrior did in this detail from Prairie on Fire (The Escape), by Thomas Loraine McKenney. – COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI LIBRARIES DIGITAL COLLECTIONS –

Approximately 20 Caddos had found cover behind the bank of Calf Creek, about 40 yards to the rear of the defenders. The Caddos opened fire, shooting Matthew Doyle. The ball entered his left breast and exited out his back. Thomas McCaslin ran to the badly wounded Doyle, thunderously yelling, “Where is the one that shot Doyle?” His comrades told him to get out of there, but McCaslin raised his rifle and aimed it at a Caddo rifleman. Bam! McCaslin, not the Caddo, got shot through the center of his body. He died immediately. Robert Armstrong raised his gun at another Caddo. A rifle ball from the enemy




cut off a portion of the stock of his gun and lodged against the barrel. The defenders were completely surrounded. The war party had positioned themselves on high rocks and behind trees, firing on the men from all sides. Exposed to this heavy fire, the defenders scrambled from the oak trees into the brush thicket pathway they had cleared the night before. From this position, the brush hid them, and they had the advantage of being able to see their attackers. The defenders fired at the warriors through brush openings and then scurried farther inside the thicket to avoid return volleys. The only telltale sign of where the warriors should shoot into the thicket was the gunsmoke billowing out of the bushes.

A Fire Prison The ferocious battle continued for the next two hours. Every volley from the Bowie group was taking down about six warriors. They were gaining ground. The warriors shifted tactics. They set fire to the dry grasses primarily so they could dislodge the Bowie group, although the thick smoke also provided cover as the warriors carried off their dead and wounded. The Bowie party hastily scraped away the dry grass and leaves near their own wounded so that the fire would not burn there. They built a breastwork out of rocks. Seeing that the flames did not route the defenders, the warriors again took positions on high rocks and behind trees, and started firing upon the Bowie group with renewed vigor. The wind shifted and blew hard from the north. If the war party could set fire to the remaining small area of grass around the defenders, the wind would push the flames directly toward the thicket. One warrior crawled along the creek and succeeded in lighting that area of

grass. But he paid with his life when Armstrong shot him dead. Seeing that the 10-foot-high flames would soon reach the barricaded men, the attackers yelled encouragingly and increased their rate of fire to about 20 shots per minute. They watched as the flames reached the breastwork around the Bowie party. From the temporary fortification, the able-bodied men grabbed their buffalo robes, deerskins and blankets to smother the flames. A momentary success. The fire burned around them and passed by. With the thicket now burned and providing no cover, the men hunkered down inside the breastwork. The battle had raged since sunrise, and it was now sundown. The fighting paused. The warriors set up camp about 300 yards away, tending to their wounded and mourning their dead. Under cover of darkness, at the creek, the defenders filled their vessels and skins with water. They anticipated an attack in the morning.


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At daylight, the braves moved their dead to a mountain cave about a mile distant and then left the area. Two of the Bowie party stealthily left the fortification and went to the warrior camp. They counted 48 bloody spots in the grass versus one man killed and three wounded from their side. Around one p.m., 13 warriors arrived. Once they saw the men in the barricade, ready to fight, they turned around and left. Was the ferocious battle finally over? The Bowie brothers and their group remained in their fortification for several more days, taking care of the wounded. They eventually left at night, stopping along the way for two days to prepare for another attack and to apply a poultice to Buchanan’s badly infected leg. Ten days after leaving Calf Creek, they arrived in San Antonio, battered and without silver riches to boast, but feeling lucky to be alive. Rezin had survived the major battle he would fight in his life, although he lived only five more years after Mexican troops killed Jim at the Alamo. His San Saba heroics marked him braver than the average land speculator.

Tim Dasso is a freelance writer in central Texas, where he observes Texas historical sites and researches historical events. He is writing a historical fiction based on events that occurred in Texas’s early years.

Before the surprise attack at Calf Creek, James and Rezin Bowie headed toward these ruins of Presidio San Saba, just outside Menard, in the Texas Hill Country, in search of the Lost San Saba Mine. – True WesT Archives –

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Bloodied Grass

STORY BEHIND THE STORY Although details of the December 1831 battle were published starting in 1833, when an account by Jim Bowie’s brother Rezin was republished multiple times, not much has been heard of it ever since. Nearly 60 years after the battle, expedition member Caiaphas Ham, at age 84, told his account of the gunfight to former Texas Ranger John Salmon Ford. Ham recalled some events differently. And even in the versions of Rezin’s tale, some include the tribal names of the braves, while others don’t. This coverage is based on accounts by these two eyewitnesses.

The quest for lost Spanish bonanzas is an age-old tale in the American West in which scores of lives have been lost to grab at riches. Like the search party above, the Bowie brothers set off with their crew, in the hopes of finding Spanish silver treasure. They ended up in a battle for their lives. – JN MARCHAND ILLUSTRATION PUBLISHED IN MUNSEY’S MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 1901 –

The Bowie brothers were hoping to find a Spanish treasure like the one found by these cowboys, who discovered not only newfound wealth, but also a poor unfortunate soul who was murdered before he could enjoy the spoils. – ILLUSTRATED BY TAYLOR OUGHTON –

A confederate colonel and a Texas Ranger, John Salmon “Rip” Ford (above) recorded Caiaphas Ham’s account in his memoirs, housed at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas in Austin. The Alamo in San Antonio owns Ham’s collection, including a Bowie knife that Rezin Bowie gave him. – TRUE WEST ARCHIVES –




August 21, 1869



Customer William lake vs

Jacob killian “m y G o d , b o y s , i k i l l e d !”


A former clown goes down. – All IllustrAtIons by bob boze bell –

By BoB Boze BeLL Based on the research of Carrie Bowers and Linda A. Fisher

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ake’s Hippoolympiad and Mammoth Circus takes a swing through southwestern rural Missouri, landing in Granby. After the night’s performance, ushers begin clearing the tent of circusgoers who have not bought admission to the bonus feature, a minstrel show. When one confronts a ne’er-do-well hiding under a seat, the young man refuses to leave. Summoned by the usher, Bill Lake walks up to the miscreant and tells him to pay up or get out. Jacob Killian (also spelled as Killyou, Killyon and Killen) gets smart and tries to pull a revolver, but Bill—used to dealing with punks like this from his travels around the country—immediately disarms the young man, escorts him to the door by the scruff of his collar and throws him out. Bill keeps Killian’s pistol. Humiliated, Killian stays at the entrance, cursing and threatening to kill Bill. He finally leaves. As Bill gets ready for the minstrel show, Deputy Marshal Bailey shows up to interview the circus owner about the altercation. Bill tells the lawman he will relinquish the young man’s pistol in the morning. Meanwhile, Killian has returned. At the front entrance, he tells the doorkeeper he is “not a quarrelsome man” and that he is willing to “pay to go in.” The Sedalia Weekly Bazoo reports what happens next: “While they were talking, Marshal Bailey and a Mr. Thompson were standing facing Mr. Lake, not three feet from him. Killyon again approached from behind Thompson, and throwing his revolver over Thompson’s right shoulder, shot Mr. Lake, the ball entering about three inches above the right nipple, coursing, apparently downward towards the heart. “Mr. Lake staggered a few yards and then fell down on his hands

By 1869, William Lake Thatcher, known professionally as Bill Lake, has had a 35-year circus career, both as a performer and businessman. He looks tough enough, in this undated photograph, to handle most gate crashers. Unfortunately, he is foully assassinated by a cowardly miscreant. Will his killer escape justice for good? – All ImAges true West ArchIves –

and said, ‘My God, boys, I am killed; carry me home.’ “He was immediately carried to his room in the Southwestern Hotel, but expired almost as soon as it was reached.” In his panic to escape, Killian trips and falls, accidentally discharging his pistol a second time, but he manages to slip out of the tent and runs off into the night.

A Future Circus Queen May 1, 1846 Born on August 26, 1826, Mary Agnes Messmann grew up in Ohio after the six year old left her German homeland with her family. At age 19, Agnes runs off with a circus clown. On May 1, 1846, she and William Lake Thatcher apply for a marriage license in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, and get married in or near New Orleans. Thatcher is billed as a “Shakespearean Jester” with the Great Western Circus, among other traveling “mud shows” (so called because the wagons transporting these traveling shows invariably get stuck in the mud since the roads are so bad).

Young Agnes

April 26, 1847 Agnes Lake performs her circus debut on the “slack wire” with the Rockwell & Company’s New York Circus. The wire is not pulled taut, like on a tightrope, but instead hangs “like a shallow crescent.” Agnes performs stunts while the rope swings in great arcs.

March 25, 1848 In front of a hometown crowd in Cincinnati, Agnes performs her slack wire stunts. Her brother Joseph recalls that she “fell off 3 times, but on the whole she made a very favorable impression on the audience. She had presents thrown in the ring to the value of $40.” Oh, and she is also pregnant!

Newlyweds Bill and Agnes Lake

To draw customers to her husband’s circus, Agnes Lake walks up and down the Big Top on a slack wire. She also pushes a wheelbarrow carrying another performer up the slope and back. Crazy stunts like these are Agnes’s stock in trade. But her main claim to fame is her horse training.

A Clown of Renown Billed as “Master Thatcher” early in his career, East coast native William Lake Thatcher performs equestrian acts with multiple companies between 1834 and 1840. A bad accident during a dangerous horseback stunt forces him to switch roles and work as a circus clown. He has worked at multiple circuses by 1846, when he meets and marries Mary Agnes Messmann. For the next 20 years, the two travel the country, with Bill becoming “master of the arena” and “director.” The Lakes start their own circus in the spring of 1863, after getting tired of going unpaid whenever a show went out of business. Bill develops a reputation as a solid performer and a steady employer. Lake’s Hippoolympiad and Mammoth Circus is doing so well that Will and Agnes plan to buy a horse farm in Kentucky, right across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, at the end of the 1869 season.

A newspaper ad (opposite page) touts Bill Lake’s circus as the “best company in the country,” while the above ad, printed the day before Bill’s murder, highlights Agnes Lake’s dramatic act as Mazeppa on Apollo, the same horse she trained for her performances in Berlin, Germany. t r u e


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In 1865, Agnes tours Europe in her stage play Mazeppa and trains all of her horses to perform in it. She performs the act the same night her husband is killed. The talented widow takes over and runs the circus herself.

The Queen of the Circus Trained by her mother Agnes, Emma started her circus career with her parents around 1857 and also performs all over the world.




After her husband’s murder, the talented widow takes over the circus and ends up meeting “Wild Bill” Hickok when she brings her circus to Abilene, Kansas, on July 31, 1871. Hickok is the town marshal, and Agnes pays him the license fee for public entertainments and arranges security with him. Nothing romantic happens, but she is quite taken by the handsome lawdog.

Aftermath: Odds & Ends Agnes Lake offered a $1,000 cash reward for the capture of Jacob Killian, her husband’s murderer. Her desire to see justice will take a long time...with an unsatisfactory turn of events.

Agnes became the first female owner of a circus in the country’s history. She also trained her daughter Emma as a circus performer. Emma ended up a star who rivaled Annie Oakley in fame and fortune.

Bill Lake’s murderer, caught in September 1869, was finally brought to trial almost five years after the slaying. Convicted in February 1874, he got a paltry three years and seven month sentence. After his 1877 parole, Killian stalked William Norton, a Union soldier who had shot and blinded Killian in the eye during the Civil War. In Empire City, Kansas, he spread the news that he planned to kill Norton, but on March 28, 1878, Norton gunned him down first.

On March 5, 1876, only weeks before his assassination, “Wild Bill” Hickok married Agnes Lake in Cheyenne, Wyoming (re-enacted in the below photo). After their honeymoon back East, the former lawman met his fate.

Martha Canary Steals Mrs. Hickok’s Thunder Born in Missouri, in 1856, not far from where William Lake Thatcher is murdered, Martha Canary was orphaned at age 11 and ends up out West. She meets “Wild Bill” Hickok, by chance, while both are heading for the illegal mining mecca of Deadwood, Dakota Territory. A romance between the two is nothing but gossip, yet because of her legendary notoriety as Calamity Jane, she ends up buried next to the lawman. So how does she steal the limelight from the legitimate Mrs. Hickok? See next page.

Recommended: Agnes Lake Hickok: Queen of the Circus, Wife of a Legend by Linda A. Fisher and Carrie Bowers, published by University of Oklahoma Press.





By Carrie Bowers

The Other Woman

Why is the Real Mrs. “Wild Bill” Hickok Almost Totally Forgotten?


1) Scarce Biographical 2) Calamity Jane ontemporaneous newspaper Data on Agnes: Eclipsed Agnes After accounts of “Wild Bill” Hickok’s Like many celebrities Hickok’s Murder marriage to Agnes Lake in 1876 Martha “Calamity and performers of the reported a favorable view of Jane” Canary was part era, Agnes invented her their relationship. Accounts of of the lore of the Wild own past. Throughout the surprise marriage on March West—a laundress, her career, she claimed 5 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, describe Hickok waitress, dance hall girl that she was French (she as being “meek and gentle as a lamb,” and alcoholic prostitute was really German), seemingly conquered by love. who was most known fabricated details of her The few letters written between them as the buckskin-clad past and performed that remain display the genuine affection, camp follower of under a variety of respect and love between the pair. They Dakota Territory pseudonyms. had known each other for about five years Mrs. Agnes Hickok military expeditions in Her self-engineered before they married, so their union was 1875-76. past was perpetuated after not an impulsive decision. Yet following The pervasive nature of 19th-century her death by her son-in-law, Gil Robinson both of their deaths, historians in the popular literature immortalized living folk (married to Emma), and was continued in early 20th century developed a cynical heroes, especially Wild Bill and Calamity Hickok biographies, both in print and on and even disbelieving view of the couple. Jane, in the collective American memory. the screen. The varying accounts of her Because Agnes was about 11 years Calamity Jane’s presence in Deadwood, life perplexed historians, who, rather than older than Hickok when they wed, some Dakota Territory, when Wild Bill was delve deeper into her past, swept her historians suggested that she had been murdered on August 2, 1876, and her aside to focus on other areas of Hickok’s looking for a husband of “renown.” She efforts to insert herself into his narrative, life. The late Joseph G. Rosa, however, was depicted as a damsel in distress, a made her an instant choice as his did tell me he had hoped to learn more materialistic shrew and a circus paramour. The youthful, vivacious woman about this mysterious woman. performer who disguised her body in of 24 looked more appealing compared to Agnes’s true heritage was only layers of cakey makeup, unaware that she Agnes, a 50-year-old retired circus discovered by my writing and research was past her prime. performer who was about to become a partner, the late Linda A. The idea of this grandmother. Fisher, through the diary established woman, a Calamity Jane was a much more and naturalization papers of widow with fame, money exciting choice to sell stories. Dime Agnes’s older brother, and property in her name, novelists jumped to tell Calamity Jane’s Joseph J. Messmann, in the did not sit well with the various accounts of the sad day—whether early 2000s. idea of the rugged, heroic she was cradling Wild Bill’s head as he lay Yet nearly 150 years after gunfighter, who, at the time dying or chasing after his killer, Jack Agnes married “Wild Bill,” of the marriage, was —True West’s McCall, with a meat cleaver. historians, filmmakers and largely getting by on his Historical Consultant Calamity Jane’s sensationalist imagery journalists still minimize “celebrity.” Paul Andrew Hutton sharply contrasted Agnes’s experience. Agnes and oftentimes Outside the mocking of We don’t even know when or how Agnes remove her identity entirely Agnes’s physical learned of Wild Bill’s murder, but we do by calling her “Mrs. Hickok.” appearance, three factors know she wasn’t able to visit Deadwood played a big role in disconnecting Agnes and his grave until nearly a year later. and Hickok as an authentic couple. Between the two accounts, Calamity Jane’s version would and did more easily capture the public’s imagination.

“Myth beats reality every time.”

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3) The Perpetuation of the False Diary of Jean McCormick Jean McCormick claimed she was the love child of Calamity Jane and Wild Bill, and her false diary has plagued the historical record. First appearing in 1941, with more pages magically appearing later on, her diary was legitimized by some Hickok family descendants, the media and even Yellowstone County, Montana. The historical detriment this diary did to Agnes in Wild Bill’s narrative cannot adequately be measured. McCormick’s diary reminded the country of a charismatic female, in a masculine, rugged Wild West, who happened to be Calamity Jane. Though thoroughly debunked, perhaps the diary inspired the strong female characters in 1950s and 1960s Western films.

In the end, the perpetual dissemination of incorrect information about Agnes, from many sides, including herself, has resulted in her exclusion from Wild Bill’s historical narrative. With each new screenplay, television show, dime novel or nearly every Wild Bill biography (with the exception of Rosa’s manuscripts), the same wrong information is regurgitated. Consequently, Agnes remains eclipsed by Calamity Jane. Carrie Bowers is the author, along with Linda A. Fisher, of Agnes Lake Hickok: Queen of the Circus, Wife of a Legend Legend. Visit to purchase the book from the publisher, University of Oklahoma Press.

CALAMITY JANE STEALS THE LIMELIGHT FOR ETERNITY In 1876, Martha “Calamity Jane” Canary was a 24-year-old woman who often passed as a man. Because of her legendary notoriety—she is thought to be the most written-about Western American woman of the 19th century— Calamity Jane ended up as “Wild Bill” Hickok’s love interest in countless books and movies. She is seen above, posing in front of Hickok’s grave. She requested to be buried beside him, and the town fathers of Deadwood granted her wish—partially as a joke and partially because they knew the graves would attract tourists. That Calamity Jane has totally usurped Agnes Lake as Hickok’s paramour is nothing short of outrageous. T R U E





Jerked to Jesus Albuquerque’s first town marshal met his maker on an unusual gallows.

The lawman-turned-lawbreaker found himself “jerked to Jesus” on an atypical gallows that looks to be the same kind portrayed in this 1887 hanging photographed by R.M. Davis of Denver, Colorado. The death machine utilized a pulley system to drop a heavy weight that sent the man in the noose skyward. –COURTESY HERITAGE AUCTIONS, NOVEMBER 10, 2007 –


ollywood couldn’t write an Old West character better than Milton J. Yarberry, the first town marshal for Albuquerque, New Mexico Territory. Trigger-happy Yarberry met his demise at the end of a hangman’s noose, where, in 1883, he uttered his final words, “Gentlemen, you are hanging an innocent man.” Yarberry, who started life under another name (John Armstrong) in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, in 1849, went bad at an early age. Before sauntering into the new town of Albuquerque in 1880, he had killed at least five men, owned three saloons and a brothel, played the violin, ridden with the Texas Rangers and run off with his partner’s wife.

After befriending Bernalillo County Sheriff Perfecto Armijo, Yarberry got appointed Albuquerque’s first town marshal, a position paid by the merchants. Folks described Yarberry as illiterate, not bright, a drunken loudmouth and a bully, making him an overall poor fit for the job. Yarberry proved so, when he killed two men. In 1881, Harry Brown drifted into town, where he gained a reputation as a heavy drinker, with a temper and a habit of pulling his gun with little provocation. That March, Yarberry discovered Brown with his paramour Sadie at a restaurant. Sadie was the estranged wife of Tony Preston, who Yarberry partnered with in a saloon in Canon City, Colorado, around 1878, before he skipped town with Tony’s wife. Brown punched Yarberry in the face, then shot the marshal in the hand. Yarberry drew his pistol and killed Brown. The marshal was acquitted of murder. Three months later, Yarberry, known to be a drinker, was sitting on a friend’s front porch when he heard gunshots. He ran to the spot and found a bystander pointing to a man walking down the street. Yarberry fired numerous shots, killing him. Turned out the victim was an unarmed railroad carpenter who did not even own a gun. The self-defense plea didn’t work this time.

The trial in Santa Fe lasted three days, after which the jury convicted Yarberry, who was sentenced to hang. All appeals were overturned. After the last disappointing news, Yarberry, told he looked pale, replied, “Maybe. But I ain’t sick, and I ain’t scared either.” On February 9, 1883, under a guard of New Mexico militia, Yarberry was marched to the gallows at the courthouse. More than 1,500 people watched, many paying $1 for the privilege. Yarberry was hanged by means of an innovative contraption that jerked the condemned upward instead of dropping him through a trapdoor. The Las Vegas Optic coined the term “Jerked to Jesus” to describe this style of hanging in its February 8, 1880, edition. Much controversy surrounded the marshal’s death—as he jerked up, his head hit a crossbeam. Was his cause of death blunt force trauma or hanging? Nevertheless, this method was never used again in New Mexico. When Yarberry’s body was buried in Albuquerque’s Santa Barbara Cemetery, the noose still hung around his neck. His tombstone—with his last name misspelled— is now missing. Hollywood, anyone? Born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Melody Groves is the author of nonfiction and fiction books. Her latest novel is She Was Sheriff, and her fifth novel in her “Colton Brothers Saga” is due out in spring 2018.

Photo War! Full Disclosure: This photograph is identified as Milton J. Yarberry by the Albuquerque Police Department Museum, author Ed Bartholomew and other sources. But New Mexico Highlands University identifies the man as John Joshua Webb. Albuquerque Police Sgt. Paul A. Judd has reached out to Highlands to try to resolve this issue, with no success. We wish we could travel via time machine to solve this mystery, but perhaps one of our smart readers will be able to figure this out!

Albuquerque’s first town marshal, Milton J. Yarberry, was photographed shortly before his hanging, while shackled to his chair at the prison in Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory. – CourTeSY Albuquerque PoliCe DePArTMeNT MuSeuM –

R e n e ga d e Roa d S BY BY J o h n n Y D. B o g g s

Hanco*ck’s War History reveals its tragic past—from Sand Creek to Medicine Lodge.

Frederic Remington’s Battle of Beecher Island illustrates the violent and deadly encounter between Roman Nose’s Cheyenne, Sioux and Arapaho warriors and U.S. Army troops from Fort Wallace on September 17-19, 1868, an incident that typified the skirmishes and battles of Hanco*ck’s War in Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado.


econd Lieutenant Lyman S. Kidder, 7th Cavalry, was unlucky. I knew that before beginning this road trip, but as I step out of my Jeep in a remote section of Western Kansas, I’m struck by just how far Kidder’s bad luck reached. In the summer of 1867, Kidder was ordered to take dispatches to Lt. Col. George Custer. Instead of finding Custer, Kidder and his men—ten troopers and a Lakota scout— ran into a party of Lakotas and Cheyennes. The soldiers and the scout were killed on or near July 2. Some of the soldiers had

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– True WesT Archives –

been tortured. All had been mutilated. The scout, Red Bead, had been killed, but only scalped. That’s what Custer discovered at what became known as the Kidder Massacre site. Yes, bad luck for Kidder’s command. But consider this: The dead were first discovered by Custer’s scout, Medicine Bill Comstock. And what happened to Medicine Bill? Well, he was killed by Cheyennes near the Solomon River in August 1868. Because of the condition of the corpses, Custer ordered the bodies buried

in a common grave. Kidder’s father, a Dakota Territory judge, wanted his son’s body given a fitting burial for an officer, so he sent a swath of fabric that Kidder’s mother had used to make her son an undershirt. Custer recognized the cloth. So soldiers returned to the site to disinter the dead on March 1, 1868. Kidder’s body was identified from his undershirt, and he was reinterred in the family plot in St. Paul, Minnesota. The others were reburied at Fort Wallace and later reinterred at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.


Fights remembered, slightly

unrest and retaliation. Chivington, deservedly, got the blame. But Gen. Winfield Scott Hanco*ck did not help matters. The storied hero of Gettysburg, LT. COL. GEORGE CUSTER Hanco*ck came to Kansas in 1867 and thought the best way to bring peace to Kansas was to threaten the Indians. On April 12, he told Cheyenne leaders who had agreed to meet him at Fort Larned: “I have a great many chiefs with me that have commanded more men than you ever saw, and they have fought 2ND LT. LYMAN S. KIDDER more great battles than you have fought fights….” Not satisfied, Hanco*ck then decided to give other Indian leaders a show of force, which he led west to an encampment of The beginnings of unrest Lakotas and Cheyennes. To understand the bloodshed GEN. WINFIELD S. HANco*ck Seeing bluecoats and of 1867 in Kansas and elsewhere, remembering Sand Creek, start this road trip at Sand Creek Massacre the Indians fled. Hanco*ck decided National Historic Site in southeastern that the abandoned village had been “a nest of conspirators.” He ordered Colorado. The slaughter of Cheyenne and the village burned. Arapaho Indians, mostly women and children, on November 29, 1864, fueled Hanco*ck’s War was on.

That set off a summer of violence—battles and skirmishes near Fort Dodge (June 12) and Fort Wallace (June 21-22). The New York Herald published a gruesome article about an attack near Cimarron, Kansas. Cheyennes had attacked a Santa Fe-bound wagon train commanded by Francisco Baca, and the Indians had killed Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy and ten other priests. The Indians also kidnapped six nuns. The problem? It was “fake news.” William Y. Chalfant notes that the article was “based on a dispatch of suspect origins from Leavenworth, Kansas.” Cheyennes had attacked a caravan at Cimarron Crossing



The officer leading that detail was none other than Lt. Fred Beecher. His fate? The next year, Beecher was killed by Cheyennes in a battle in Colorado at a place that became known as Beecher’s Island. Need I tell you what happened to George Custer in 1876? But, wait, there’s more. In 1877 Indians reportedly killed three buffalo hunters not far from where Kidder and his men died. Tell me that’s not bad luck for anyone who came close to Kidder. Of course, the Kidder Massacre and those subsequent deaths might not have even happened if not for a zealous, bloodthirsty militia commander named John Chivington.








Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

Wallace Sharon Springs


Ellsworth Kanopolis

Cheyenne leader Black Kettle (third from left) was a promoter of peace, but despite his perseverance, he and his wife were shot in the back while retreating at the Battle of Wash*ta River on November 27, 1858. – TRUE WEST ARCHIVES –

Great Bend Kansas Colorado


Pawnee Rock


Dodge City

Area of Detail

map by

Medicine Lodge 0 10 20



Scale in Miles



You don’t find the Kidder “Massacre ” historical marker by accident. Erec ted in 1969 by Citizens of Tri State Area , the marker is located near Sherman Coun ty Road 28 and Road 77, both unpa ved roads, outside of Goodland, Kans as. For the even more adventurous, a stone monument, dedicated by the Frien ds of the Library of Goodland in 1969, lies north of the state marker.




The Southern Plains tribes fought the U.S. Army in the Hanco*ck War to retain traditional Plains hunting grounds such as the Cimarron National Grassland in the southeastern corner of Kansas, bordered by Texas to the south and the Comanche National Grassland in Colorado to the west. – ANDREA LARAYNE ETZEL, COURTESY KANSAS TOURISM –

that summer, but withdrew after seven hours. According to some reports, the Indians took 50 mules, but no nuns. Lamy escaped unharmed to go on to Santa Fe and eventually earn literary immortality in Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop. The Cheyennes also came up with an attack straight out of a B-Western. A roundhouse




was being set up in Brookville, and the Indians decided to destroy it,the crews and all the engines. An eastbound train out of Fort Harker saw the war party and warned the railroad men in Brookville, so the workers and families gathered inside the building. The Indians decided to burn the building to the ground. The workers realized what lay in

store, but, luckily, one of the locomotives remained under steam. Refugees boarded the train, the fireman got the boiler ready, the engineer hit full throttle, and the engine blasted through the door and steamed toward Salina. The Indians became unnerved and fled. Now, if I were a screenwriter in Hollywood around 1954, I would have sold that one to Columbia. George Montgomery as the heroic railroad detective. Yvonne De Carlo as the girl heading west. And James Griffith, that wonderful character actor, as the drunken engineer who saves the day. It would’ve been mediocre— because Columbia would have given it to

In 2017, Buffalo Soldiers re-enactment groups celebrated the 150th anniversary of the highly decorated black troops who served in the West, including the U.S. Army’s 10th Cavalry at Fort Larned National Historic Site. – COURTESY NPS.GOV –

William Castle to direct—but fun to watch after a six-pack of Old Style.

Fights forgotten, mostly But the problem with Hanco*ck’s War is that few people remember the fights: Pond Creek Station…Black Butte Creek…Saline River…Prairie Dog Creek…Davis’s Fight. Brookville lost its roundhouse to Junction City. Pond Creek Station was moved to Wallace. A few historical markers might be

found, but the actual sites are remote and/ or on private property. Even Fort Wallace is little more than a memory. But history is alive, if you know where to look. Like the greatly improved and expanded Fort Wallace Museum. The Pond Creek Station sits just west of the museum’s main building, and while the fort is gone,

the post cemetery is well worth a visit, too. Soldiers erected a monument to honor their comrades who fell during Hanco*ck’s War. Fort Hays once boasted 45 major buildings. Only four remain, but Fort Hays State Historic Site offers a good look at frontier military history. The fort remained active until 1889.




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U.S. Army troops stationed at Fort Wallace, established in the fall of 1865, were at the forefront of the action of the Hanco*ck War. While the fort is gone, visitors can tour the old Fort Wallace Cemetery and the Fort Wallace Museum. – COURTESY KANSAS TOURISM –

There’s not much left of Fort Harker, either, but the Fort Harker Guardhouse Museum, near Ellsworth, is worth seeing, just to hear the stories of interpretive guide Greg Heller. “You name all the famous frontier figures from this period,” Heller says, “and they were here—even if just for overnight.” More can be found at Fort Larned, a national historic site that strives, superintendent George Elmore says, “to keep you in the feeling of the 1860s. You won’t find many modern signs in your face.” Larned benefitted because the property became part of a working ranch in the early 1900s before the National Park system took it over in the early 1960s. Fort Dodge, which became the Kansas State Soldiers Home in 1890, has some original buildings, too, and the post museum is small but informative. Also on the grounds is the Custer House, and, yes, Custer was briefly at Dodge. The soldiers home’s superintendent lives in the Custer House now. Custer never did. But the best story is saved for Medicine Lodge, where peace came to Western Kansas with the signing of the Medicine Lodge treaty in October of ’67. A peace

Generations of Plains tribes and travelers on the Santa Fe Trail encamped near, and fought over, the natural landmark Pawnee Rock, a key water stop, camp site and high point on the plains adjacent to the Arkansas River in central Kansas. – COURTESY KANSAS TOURISM –

commission met first with a few tribal leaders at Fort Larned. Indians insisted that the talks be moved to the Medicine Lodge River. After deliberations, Indian and U.S. leaders, who agreed that Hanco*ck had acted foolishly, signed treaties. In a town known for a whiskeykeg-bashing crusader named Carrie Nation and a gunman-turned-lawman who became a bank robber and was gunned down trying to escape a lynch mob named Henry Brown, the treaty is honored

Travelers on the trail of the Hanco*ck War should visit the magnificent statue of Buffalo Bill and tour the adjacent Buffalo Bill Cultural Center in Oakley, Kansas. – STUART ROSEBROOK –

PLACES TO VISIT, CELEBRATIONS & EVENTS Since 1927, at the 60th anniversary of the the Medicine Lodge Indian Treaty, the community has presented a pageant to celebrate the history and heritage of the peace treaty. Today, the Peace Treaty Pageant is held every three years and is scheduled for September 2018. – COURTESY KANSAS TOURISM –

The Custer House (right) is currently the home of the superintendent of the Fort Dodge Kansas Soldiers Home. George A. Custer never lived in the house, but he was stationed with the 7th Cavalry at the key outpost on the Santa Fe Trail.

GOOD EATS & SLEEPS BEST GRUB: Stephen’s Restaurant, Sharon Springs, KS; Ellsworth Steakhouse, Ellsworth, KS; Scraps, Larned, KS; Casey’s Cowtown Club, Dodge City, KS; Raykies, Medicine Lodge, KS


Visitors can tour the grounds of the Fort Dodge Kansas Soliders Home during daylight hours, and a small museum (left) in the library every day between 1-4 p.m. – JOHNNY D. BOGGS –

with Peace Treaty Summer Days held every September, and the Peace Treaty Pageant Reenactment every third year. Sadly, that peace did not last. Consider the fates of some Indian signers of the treaty: Black Kettle, a Cheyenne “peace” chief who had survived Sand Creek, was among the slain during Custer’s attack at the Wash*ta River the following year. Kiowa

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, Eads, CO; Buffalo Bill Cultural Center, Oakley, KS; Peace Treaty Pageant, September 28-30, 2018, Medicine Lodge, KS; High Plains Museum, Goodland, KS; Pawnee Rock State Historic Site, Pawnee Rock, KS; Fort Larned National Historic Site, Larned, KS; Santa Fe Trail Center, Larned, KS; Boot Hill Distillery, Dodge City, KS; Boot Hill Museum, Dodge City, KS; Medicine Lodge Stockade Museum, Medicine Lodge, KS; Sagebrush Gallery of Western Art, Medicine Lodge, KS; Gun Room at The Grand, Medicine Lodge, KS

Satank was shot dead by soldiers in Fort Sill in 1871. Kiowa Satanta committed suicide in the state prison in Huntsville, Texas, in 1878. As far as we know, none of those ever had anything to do with Lt. Kidder’s dead body. Johnny D. Boggs can’t pick which he enjoys more: history lessons from Ellsworth’s “Cowboy,” Jim Gray, or from Dodge City’s “Marshal,” Brent Harris. So he recommends both.

BEST LODGING: Mt. Sunflower B&B, Sharon Springs, KS; Best Western Butterfield Inn, Hays, KS; Midland Railroad Hotel, Wilson, KS; Comfort Suites, Dodge City, KS; Gyp Hills Guest Ranch, Medicine Lodge, KS

GOOD BOOKS, FILM & TV BEST READS: The Treaty of Medicine Lodge: The Story of the Great Treaty Council as Told by Eyewitnesses by Douglas C. Jones; Hanco*ck’s War: Conflict on the Southern Plains by William Y. Chalfant; The Fighting Cheyennes by George Bird Grinnell BEST FILM, MUSIC AND TV: The Iron Horse (20th Century-Fox, 1924); Little Big Man (CCF, 1970); Centennial (NBC, 1978-79); Windwalker (Windwalker Productions/Pacific International, 1980)





True West

Surviving a Meal in Dodge City Diners didn’t always know if they would live by the end of supper.

James Kelley (left) earned his nickname “Dog” from his hunting greyhounds that Gen. George Custer gave him in appreciation for his service as lieutenant colonel. After his discharge from the Army in 1872, he settled in Dodge City, Kansas, where he opened Beatty & Kelley’s restaurant (above, toward far right). – KELLEY PHOTO COURTESY BOOT HILL MUSEUM, INC., DODGE CITY, KANSAS; DODGE CITY PHOTO TRUE WEST ARCHIVES –


nce the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway reached the cowtown of Dodge City, Kansas, in 1872, restaurants and hotels sprang up, between 1872 and 1880, to cater to visitors and residents alike. Meals could be had at hotels that included the Dodge House, Wright House, Great Western and the City, or at restaurants that included one owned by James H. Kelley and Peter L. Beatty, both former mayors of Dodge City, and William Robbins’s place. One hotel restaurant had a deadly beginning. In November 1872, the cook shot and killed the drunken hotel owner, J.M. Essington. George B. Cox and F.W. Boyd took over the hotel, renamed it the Dodge House and reopened in 1873. The death count continued, which explains why Capt. James Biddle, his wife, Ellen, and their sons were greeted with such a hardy hostess when they stayed at the hotel in 1873. The hostess was a hard-faced, six-foot woman dressed in “full blue trousers drawn




in at the ankle, and a long blue sacque reaching nearly to the knee; a knife and pistol were in her belt,” Ellen wrote, adding that, while she looked tough, she offered the boys cake and milk upon their arrival. At the Dodge House, guests ate buffalo meat for supper, a new delicacy for Ellen. Beatty and Kelley’s restaurant building had many homes before arriving in Dodge City. The building was erected in Leavenworth, then moved to Junction City, to Ellsworth, to Hays City and finally to Dodge City. The restaurant offered “fresh oysters constantly on hand” and served meals at all hours. Another restaurant owner built himself up after a scandal. After part owner Charles Heinz was acquitted of stealing $500 from the Lone Star saloon and restaurant in 1884, he opened the Delmonico. His staff faced a tough time in those early years. In 1887, his waiters had to “wade through water” during the supper hour, because a pipe overflowed, filling the basem*nt with three feet of water.

By 1889, though, the restaurant was appealing to respectable crowds, most notably the State Soldiers’ Home Committee on Legislation. Along with entertainment by the Cowboy Band, the restaurant gave these diners a lavish dinner. The meal included blue point oysters and Saratoga chips for appetizers, French fritters with pineapple sauce and young pig with apple sauce for entrées, and wine sap apples and mince, green apple and gooseberry pies for dessert. By 1891, the Delmonico had become one of the most popular places in town. The Cowboy Band, which often played at the Delmonico, was uniquely Dodge City’s and created a sensation wherever they played. In the mid-1880s, The Dodge City Times raved about the band, reporting, “Their appearance is unique and peculiarly dressy. The fashionable and latest style of cowboy suits, sombrero hats, buckskin suits, clanking spurs, immense tooth picks, Bowie pattern, in the belt, and shooting irons on their hips a foot long or two feet.” Imagine a cowboy sitting down to a fancy dinner at the Delmonico, listening to tunes played by the Cowboy Band and eating potato chips! Try your hand at this popular vegetable snack. Sherry Monahan has penned The Cowboy’s Cookbook, Mrs. Earp: Wives & Lovers of the Earp Brothers; California Vines, Wines & Pioneers; Taste of Tombstone and The Wicked West. She has appeared on Fox News, History Channel and AHC.

SARATOGA CHIPS 4 white potatoes Lard or oil for frying Salt Slice the potatoes thinly and soak in water overnight. The next day, drain and completely dry them. Any water will cause the grease to explode and pop. Place enough lard or oil in a Dutch oven to come halfway up and heat to medium-high. Gently add the potatoes in small batches and fry until golden. Place on towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt while still hot.

Recipe adapted from the Hoxie Sentinel, Kenneth, Kansas, August 10, 1893 T R U E



S K O O B n r e t s e W


Spirit of the West

The most ambitious history of the West published in 2017, and a new biography of a legendary lawman, the Chinese in Montana, Colter’s Yellowstone adventure and a Lakota Western.


“History is important. When there is no knowledge of the past, there cannot be a vision of the future.”

istorian Dr. Larry Len Peterson’s tenth book, American Trinity: Jefferson, Custer, and the Spirit of the West (Sweetgrass Books, $34.95), is his most comprehensive—and inspired—to date. Dr. Peterson, who is also an awardwinning physician and scientist of dermatology, has spent more than a decade researching and writing what must be considered his magnum opus on the American West. A son of the West, Peterson grew up on the family wheat farm in Plentywood, Montana, near the banks of the Missouri and adjacent to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, home to six bands of Assiniboine and four bands of Sioux people. His experiences growing up in the racially divided Plains community of the Upper Missouri River Valley in northeastern Montana had a profound effect on the young Montanan, who has spent a lifetime studying, researching, writing and reflecting about his beloved West. The end result of Peterson’s introspective journey as an author, scientist and Westerner is his publication of the most reflective philosophical history of American history published in the past 50 years. Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, Victor Frankl’s Man Search for Meaning, Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain and Vine In American Trinity: Jefferson, Custer, and the Spirit of the West Dr. Larry Len Peterson details how President Thomas Jefferson was influenced in his attitude toward American Indians, and how he applied the Doctrine of Discovery to his goals of building a continental nation. – COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS –




The holiday season is here and there is no shortage of great Western books to give or receive as gifts this December. Here is a selection of new books or classics reissued in 2017 that should inspire adventure, passion and reflection. As illustrated by Charles M. Russell’s Little Big Horn, the ignominious role and hubris of George Armstrong Custer—and the iconic legacy of his overwhelming defeat—in the U.S. Army’s war against the Native peoples in the West, is at the center of Peterson’s conclusions about prejudice in American Trinity: Jefferson, Custer, and the Spirit of the West.



The Desperado: A Noose for the Desperado by Clifton Adams (Stark House, $19.95)

DeLoria’s Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto are just four of the works I am reminded of when reading Peterson’s prose. Readers will quickly discover that the strength of Peterson’s American Trinity’s is in the depth of his research and personal introspection throughout his 725-page book. As Peterson states in his Preface & Acknowledgments: “The American Trinity is older and bigger than the American West. It is the story of the grand sweep of human experiences and their eventual influence on white racist attitudes toward Native Americans. History is important. When there is no knowledge of the past, there cannot be a vision of the future.” American Trinity also reminds me of Columbian historian Germán Arciniegas’s most comprehensive work, American in Europe: A History of the New World in Reverse. His one-volume synthesis blends his knowledge and research of multiple disciplines from ancient texts to the present in science, literature, philosophy, history and religion. His conclusions, including on the effects of PTSD on Indian society, provide an interpretation of Western culture and history, and the roles of race, religion and the empirical Western nation-builders in the conquest and destruction of Indian peoples and civilizations—and the subsequent settlement and construction of the United States—that still challenge our moral understanding of race relations in America today. But beyond the strength of Peterson’s conclusions is his Socratic dialogue with the

reader: “To fully understand what is happening to the American Indian today, we should not minimize the trauma that Native Americans have experienced since first contact with the white man. … Only when whites accept that Indians have the full emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and psychological spectrum as whites will we begin to appreciate the pain and hopelessness that is the Indians’ experience.” Each of American Trinity’s four sections: “The Searchers: Finding Each Other,” “The Mystery: Clash of Spirits,” “Thomas Jefferson: Winning the West” and “The Golden Rule, or the Golden Ruled? Custer: The Son of the American West,” offers the reader an opportunity to pause and reflect on the morals and ethics of our Western culture, the role of religion and racism, prejudice and injustice imposed, institutionalized and endured by successive generations of Native peoples in North America. Historians, ethicists, scholars and students will discover American Trinity has a remarkable bibliography and detailed endnotes, which serve as an excellent resource for further study. Beyond Peterson’s expansive research and thought-provoking prose, the most important question the Montana farm boy has never stopped asking as a Western American adult is, “Why should I care so much about Native American history, their stories?” American Trinity might not have all the answers, but it will lead the reader to keep asking the question, “Why?” —Stuart Rosebrook

The Badlands: A Novel by Oakley Hall (University of Chicago Press, $18)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance by Dorothy M. Johnson (Riverbend Publishing, $19.95) THREE WESTERNERS’ JOURNALS, ESSAYS AND STORIES OF LAND, LIFE AND LOVE Cowboy Up! Life Lessons from the Lazy B by H. Alan Day with Lynn Wiese Sneyd (Morgan James Publishing, $17) Gathering from the Grassland: A Plains Journal by Linda M. Hasselstrom (High Plains Press, $29.95) Ordinary Skin: Essays from Willow Springs by Amy Hale Auker (Texas Tech University Press, $24.95) THREE CHRISTMAS TALES SURE TO INSPIRE A Cowboy Christmas: An American Tale by Tom Van Dyke (Page Branch Publishing, $19.95) An Arizona Christmas by William W. Johnstone with J.A. Johnstone (Pinnacle Western, $7.99) Stubby Pringle’s Christmas by Jack Schaefer with illustrations by Lorence Bjorklund (University of New Mexico Press, $16.95) BONUS BOOK Thalia: A Texas Trilogy by Larry McMurtry (Liveright Publishing, $29.95). This beautiful single volume, just in time for the holidays, includes McMurtry’s early classics—Horseman, Pass By, Leaving Cheyenne and The Last Picture Show—and is a must for any fan of one of America’s greatest living authors. —Stuart Rosebrook




David Weston Marshall’s Mountain Man: John Colter, The Lewis & Clark Expedition, and the Call of the American West details the trials and trails of the indestructible adventurer Colter across the wild, unexplored Yellowstone country. – COURTESY NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY –

Mountain Man Extraordinaire David Weston Marshall’s Mountain Man: John Colter, The Lewis & Clark Expedition, and the Call of the American West (Countryman Press, $24.95) is an engaging account of John Colter’s life and times. Although literate, Colter left no diary, nor maps of his explorations. Marshall’s book is not so much a biography, as a historical geography of what Colter might have encountered more than two




hundred years ago as the very first white American to make contact with different western Indian groups, and the first to prospect a great many different rivers and streams for beaver. The book retraces Colter’s steps throughout the Yellowstone and Grand Teton region, fleshing out an important chapter of our history mostly blank until now. Marshall’s outstanding new study should be the very first book in the “Mountain Man” section of any library devoted to the American West. —Brian Dervin Dillon, Ph.D., an archaeologist who has published on fieldwork throughout California, Guatemala, and three other countries for more than 40 years

Texas Desperado Graham Barnett (1890-1931) was a Texas lawman, a gunfighter, a drunk and a dangerous man. His story is entwined in the Mexican Revolution along the Texas border, Prohibition and the early-day oil boom. It is a tale of violence, sadness and human weaknesses, but, above all, it is a story of the waning years of the American frontier. In Graham Barnett: A Dangerous Man (University of North Texas Press, $29.95), my old friend Jim Coffey and his colleagues, Russell M. Drake and John T. Barnett, tell Barnett’s story in an interesting, informative, even-handed manner. I can assure you that Barnett’s stories are still

told around the campfires and cafes of this Texas country that is west of the Pecos. —Jim Wilson, a retired Texas peace officer, a former Texas sheriff and a lifelong student of Western history

Montana Frontier Chinese Culture

In 1915, Graham Barnett was assigned to Texas Ranger Company B, which, according to the authors of Graham Barnett: A Dangerous Man, gained a notorious reputation in the border town while serving in support of the U.S. Army (above) during the Mexican Revolution. – COURTE SY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS –

The Coming Man from Canton: Chinese Experience in Montana, 1862-1943, by Christopher W. Merritt (University of Nebraska Press, $65) is a meticulously researched and carefully written study that reads like a dissertation. It is loaded with graphs, charts, lists and pictures of archaeological sites and artifacts that tell the story of the Chinese miners, laundry and agricultural workers, cooks and restaurant owners. The human side of

Chinese immigrant labor played a critical role in the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad, including the Mullan Tunnel (above) in 1882-’83, according to Christopher W. Merritt in The Coming Man from Canton: Chinese Experience in Montana, 1862-1943. – COURTESY CHRISTOPHER W. MERRITT –

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Tom Van Dyke, born in Detroit, Michigan, received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Filled with creative expression, his sculptures, paintings and photography have been exhibited or are in the permanent collections of America’s finest art museums. Pursuing a career in motion picture production, Van Dyke wrote and directed Are You Talking to Me?, a docudrama considered for nomination of an Academy Award. He created and produced the American Revolution Bicentennial television PSA announcements, which featured John Denver. Moving to Cave Creek, Arizona, with his wife, Mary, Van Dyke was inspired to write A Cowboy Christmas An American Tale. Praised by Elmore Leonard, the historical novel set in 1873 is a best seller. A magical story embracing cowboys’ flavorful soup of words and expressions, it crisscrosses the expansion of the far West and collides with destiny. It’s a story about cowboys who burned themselves like candles for experiences worth living and values that created strength and revealed character. Van Dyke feels: “A writer discovers their voice through persistent investigation, fully mining the essence of their existence—a storyteller who opens the door through inspired thought—a wonderment of imagination, the alloy of the mind’s eye, with a galaxy of perception and endless vault of words forging exploration of the best kind to form a communal bond of writer and reader.” A work authentically rendered is truly a gift full-circle, he believes, and recommends the following books as inspired and worth exploring.

1 Wolfville Nights (Alfred Henry Lewis, Frederick A. Stokes Company): Lewis lifts his narrative above the common herd with unique degenerates and faulted players with smart, hilarious dialogue. A talent for heady thoughts and pure observation go beyond the picturesque and romantic—a harbinger of today’s graphic novels. 2 The Dark Tower, The Gunslinger (Stephen King, Scribner): NEW YORK CITY! It’s a wonderment of unwinding metaphors in a metaphysical arc of terror, a saga of reverberating tones of deadly violence reminiscent of surreal moments punctuated by the shrill stingers of spaghetti Westerns: dark…myth…legend.

3 Thirteen Moons: A Novel (Charles Frazier, Random House): A stoic life—full circle, feeling the machinery of the 20th century in the winter season of Will’s life, he is: “Practicing for the Nightland.” The prose of a brilliant

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gifted writer of depth and insight splay a forging work of transition and spiritual discovery along the Mississippi on the farthest edge of the United States of America.

4 The Art of Howard Terpning (Elmer Kelton, The Greenwich Workshop): This is storytelling at its finest. The mind of an artist focused and fused with composition and paint, portrays life’s finest moments, merging emotion and the essence of life reflected in the eyes of American Indians, revealing their very souls. Narrative painter Howard Terpning has merged pallet with soul. 5 Cimarron (Edna Ferber, Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc.): As Ferber points out in the Foreword, “Only the more fantastic and improbable events contained in the book are true.” A sage fiction of engaging events and provocative characters, Cimarron sits on the highest shelf of my Western library.

the Chinese experience is largely missing from the narrative because there are few residents in the state at the time of this writing that trace their ancestry to the Chinese pioneers, so the story of Montana Chinese must be told largely from historical and archaeological sources. This is an essential source on the Montana Chinese experience. —Harlan Hague, author of If I Should Die

Lakota West Native is the first book in Mike J. Sparrow’s projected “Manifest Destiny” series portraying the westward migration across the Great Plains. In 1864 the newly minted concept of Manifest Destiny is the over-arching reality connecting migrants, fur trappers, buffalo hunters, soldiers and railroad magnates. All of them threaten the survival of the peaceful Lakotas, but one Congressman in particular is determined to exterminate the buffalo herds that sustain them. The story follows Takoda, a young Lakota warrior, as he struggles to survive the brutality of fur trappers and buffalo hunters. A chance encounter with a wagon train of immigrants saves his life. With the daughter of migrant Ukranian farmers, he exposes the Congressman’s plot to steal four hundred million dollars in gold, imperiling the Lakotas’ existence in the process. —Lucia St. Clair Robson, author of Ride the Wind

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The Kinder, Gentler Sam Peckinpah Ride the High Country and Ballad of Cable Hogue are warm, genuine and, arguably, his best Westerns.

Director Sam Peckinpah, all smiles, as he talks to seated actor Jason Robards on the set of 1970’s The Ballad of Cable Hogue. The director told Playboy magazine in 1972: “I’ve never picked any of my films. Except one, The Ballad of Cable Hogue. That’s the only movie I ever picked to do.” – COURTESY WARNER BROS., EAVES MOVIE RANCH –


ollywood’s famous Chinese theatre celebrated L.Q. Jones’s 90th birthday with a screening of the controversial masterpiece that saddled Sam Peckinpah with the moniker “Bloody Sam,” 1969’s The Wild Bunch. Jones roared with laughter when I told him the theme of my article for True West. “Peckinpah’s kinder, gentler side? Did he have one?” Then he quickly clarified, “It was a privilege to work with him. In spite of the stories I tell, I adored the man.” Peckinpah had written nearly 50 Western TV episodes and directed over a dozen when MGM greenlit 1962’s Ride the High Country. The story of two aging, threadbare




lawmen-gunfighters transporting gold from a mining camp, and inadvertently transporting a naïve would-be bride, would be the career capper for two great Western stars, Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott. Jones had first met Peckinpah as Don Siegel’s dialogue coach on 1955’s An Annapolis Story. “Sam said, ‘Listen, kid, we’re going to be working together, because I’m going to be a director, and I’ll remember you.’ True to his word, once he got a little foothold, here came the calls, and we ended up doing, I think, 17 projects together,” Jones says. For the role of runaway bride Elsa Knudsen, Peckinpah cast stage actress

Mariette Hartley. “The very first thing I did was that wonderful movie,” she recalls fondly. Hartley wore a blue checkered dress to the audition, “And walking up those MGM steps, I felt like I was Alice in Wonderland. There he was, behind the desk, with his cowboy hat on and his feet on the desk with his cowboy boots on. They don’t do that in Connecticut. Sam read with me, that beautiful scene with Heck when I’m doing the dishes. He looked at me, and he said, ‘I think I’m in love with you.’ And Alice said to the Cheshire cat, ‘Thank you, I think.’” For her screen test, Hartley says, “I wore a dress that was stuffed with a lot of stuff for breasts and Deborah Kerr’s wig from Quo Vadis. My hair was very short because I’d just finished doing Joan of Arc in Chicago. Two days after that [Producer] Phil Feldman called and told me I got the movie, and I about died.” James Drury, who would soon gain fame as TV’s The Virginian, was wanna-be groom Billy Hammond, whose brothers figured Elsa would be bride to all of them. “Originally, Sam wanted Robert Culp for my part, and

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This year, Warner Archive released Ride the High Country on DVD and Blu-ray, featuring an interview with the director’s sister, Fern Lea Peter. She calls the 1962 Western the director’s most autobiographical movie; Sam Peckinpah grew up on a mountain ranch outside Fresno, California. This film still shows (from left) Hartley, Starr, McCrea and Scott riding into Coarsegold. – LOBBY CARD COURTESY MGM –

Stella Stevens characterizes The Ballad of Cable Hogue as a love story. She is shown here, sitting on the deathbed of the title character who made his way into the soiled dove’s heart, portrayed by Jason Robards. – COURTESY WARNER BROS., EAVES MOVIE RANCH –

Culp’s agent said, ‘No, we don’t want Robert playing a bad guy,’ so he got me. I was able to play the part with great gusto, and I surely did enjoy that,” Drury remembers. “We had John Davis Chandler, Warren Oates, L.Q. Jones, and John Anderson all playing my brothers,” he adds. “My God, you put that bunch of actors together—we were electric! It was truly a worthy group of bad guys to oppose Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott.” Hartley agrees, saying, “Sam hired people the way John Ford hired people. He saw me as that girl—I was not a typical Hollywood beauty. I think he knew that I could be her, not play her.” Eight years later, Peckinpah, who was finishing The Wild Bunch, called Jones about a script called The Ballad of Cable Hogue. “Sam was absolutely in love with it, but he had no money,” Jones says. “So he borrowed $17,000—all my money! Sam bought the project, sold it to Warner Bros. for a fortune, and never paid me back.”

For that 1970 Western, Jason Robards starred as Cable Hogue, a desert rat left to die by rivals who take his water. But instead of dying, he miraculously “found water where it wasn’t,” as he says in the movie, then builds a stagecoach stop and woos Hildy (Stella Stevens), the gorgeous soiled dove who must choose between love and wealth in San Francisco, California. Hogue’s spiritual advisor is a libidinous preacher played by David Warner. “Hate that son-of-a-bitch!” says Jones, with a laugh. “I was supposed to be the preacher. But Sam was right; he did such a better job than I could have ever done.” A newcomer in Peckinpah’s cast was Western novelist Max Evans. They had become friends after Peckinpah lost out on filming Evans’s The Rounders. For years, they tried to find a mutual project. In the film that finally joined them together, the stagecoach is prominent in the story,

“Peckinpah’s kinder, gentler side? Did he have one?”




and Evans rode shotgun beside his close friend, driver Slim Pickens. The Ballad of Cable Hogue was plagued with weather problems. “It rained 15 days, and we were jammed up in that hotel,” Evans recalls. “Then it turned hotter than Hell. It was 107 to 110 degrees where we were shooting.” A quirky mix of slapstick and sentiment, the Western was viewed by Peckinpah as a comedy, but Stevens insists it is a love story. It’s also her best work, and maybe Robards’ as well. At the time the film was made, “Jason Robards was down; he was a drunk. Had a bad reputation,” Evans recalls. “Sam took him, got him to quit drinking and made a great actor out of him. Jason went on to win two Oscars and an Emmy after Sam got him straightened out.” Neither of these Peckinpah films were nominated for any major awards, but their reputations grow with each passing year.

When Heck complimented Elsa (above) on her hair in 1962’s Ride the High Country, Elsa replied that her widowed father had made her cut it short. Actually, actress Mariette Hartley had that hairdo because of her role as Joan of Arc. Director Sam Peckinpah hated it when she wore a wig in her screen test and decided to keep the cropped hairstyle. – COURTESY MGM –

DVD REVIEW GUN THE MAN DOWN (Olive Films; $18.99) When a wounded bank robber’s partners and girl abandon him, he leaves prison looking for revenge. This suspenseful 1956 B-Western is an unexpected powerhouse—the robber is James Arness in his only feature lead, the girl is Angie Dickinson in her first leading role, the first-time director is soon-to-be-legendary Andrew McLaglen and the script is by “beginner” Burt Kennedy! This John Wayne-produced film sows the seeds of Rio Bravo and the Randolph Scott-Budd Boetticher films, and it provides an unofficial backstory for Gunsmoke’s Matt Dillon. Henry C. Parke is a screenwriter based in Los Angeles, California, who blogs about Western movies, TV, radio and print news:





The Bayou City The Old West is celebrated throughout the year in Houston, Texas.

Founded in 1931, the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show is the Bayou City’s biggest annual event, with over 2.6 million attending in 2017. In 2018, the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que, with dozens of vendors selling everything Western, including hats (above), will kick off the three-week event on February 27. – ALL PHOTOS COURTESY VISIT HOUSTON UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED –


n August of 1836, brothers Augustus and John Allen created a new town they hoped would be the “great interior commercial emporium of Texas.” They named it after Sam Houston, who had won independence from Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto six months earlier. Nothing guaranteed the town’s success, certainly not Houston’s location. It sat on barren, muddy, coastal prairie with the




Gulf of Mexico 50 miles away along Buffalo Bayou. But its residents possessed a strong entrepreneurial drive, and the settlement that started with one log cabin and 12 residents grew quickly. Today, America’s fourth-largest city has become a business mecca with an impressive list of cultural attractions, to boot. Houston’s museum district boasts 19 institutions, including the Buffalo Soldiers

National Museum. Opened in 2001 with artifacts collected over decades by founder Paul Matthews, the site displays more than 2,500 pieces, from rifles and bayonets to flags, saddles and historic photos. One exhibit tells of Cathay Williams, who disguised herself as a man and enlisted as a Buffalo Soldier in 1866. The museum displays a uniform of the kind Pvt. William Cathay wore and shows a short video on her.

The Colonel paddlewheel at Moody Gardens, Galveston Island, survived Hurricane Harvey, and is a great way for visitors to enjoy a cruise and meal on Galveston Bay.

The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum has exhibits on the role of black soldiers in the American military from the 1700s to the present, with excellent exhibits on the postCivil War Western campaigns.

Visitors learn that 20 percent of cavalry troopers on the Western frontier were black, and at least 18 were awarded the Medal of Honor. “The Buffalo Soldiers built railroad camps, delivered mail, strung telegraph wires, charted land and chased outlaws, Comancheros and Mexican revolutionaries,” says Matthews. “Without them, our westward movement would’ve been delayed 50 years.” Sam Houston Park serves as a living history oasis in the middle of the city. The Heritage Society manages ten historic buildings within park boundaries, including a log cabin built in 1823 and appointed with items from the period The 1847 Kellum-Noble House, the oldest surviving building constructed in Houston, retains its original brick walls made with mud from Buffalo Bayou. Visitors step into the past at Duncan General Store, a replica of a mercantile built in Egypt, Texas, in 1878, and filled mostly with original inventory. The store served as a social center where folks gathered to play dominoes and cards, and it sold everything a frontier resident could


want, including meat, fabrics and lumber. “If you needed a coffin, you could buy one at the store,” says Deborah Duty, the Heritage Society’s communications director. By far, the year’s biggest attraction occurs in March with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the world’s largest. It began in 1932 and draws more than 2.4 million people. Last year, almost 250,000 people attended the barbecue contest alone. The eats are unbelievable! Attend two American Quarter Horse Association World Championship shows or see live acts by top performers. To relive the Battle of San Jacinto, drive 25 miles to the San Jacinto Museum of History. The site details how revengeminded Texans, remembering the Alamo, killed 650 Mexicans under Gen. Santa Anna, in about 18 minutes. Before the fight, Houston told his troops not to expect aid, for none was coming: “We must act now or abandon all hope! Rally to the standard and be no longer the scoff of mercenary tongues! Be men, be free men, that your children may bless their father’s name!”

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The San Jacinto Battle Monument and Museum of History annually hosts the San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Re-enactment (below), which in 2018, will be held April 21.

The museum sits at the base of an impressive 570-foot Art Deco monument. Ride an elevator to the top to view the battleground and the Houston Ship Channel. Don’t forget nearby Galveston, where visitors can see the 1894 Grand Opera House and the Bishop’s Place, completed in 1892 and named one of the 100 most important buildings in America. The new and

impressive Bryan Museum, opened in 2015, offers a huge collection on Southwestern history and art. Amaze friends with this fact: The man who first laid out Houston’s streets in the

1830s was Gail Borden, who patented and developed condensed milk. Leo W. Banks is an award-winning writer based in Tucson. His mystery novel, Double Wide, was published last month.

Escape to the

Wild West . . . and discover the great diversity of experience that forged the American West and the compelling stories told there.

Visit our restored 1933 Depot, Headquarters of the Gulf Colorado & Santa Fe. Explore our five acre rail yard. See our new model train layout and visit our new railroad china displays. Ride aboard our GE 80 Tonner or our MOPAC caboose! Train rides most Saturdays: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Museum open daily: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Bryan Museum The West as it will never be seen again




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WHERE HISTORY MEETS THE HIGHWAY AMERICAN COWBOY MUSEUM A third of cowboys in the West were AfricanAmerican. The museum tells their story through fine art, historical letters, newspapers, clothing and oral histories. See the slave papers of museum President Mollie Taylor-Stevenson, Jr.’s great grandmother, who was sold into slavery in Texas in 1856. BUFFALO SOLDIERS NATIONAL MUSEUM

The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau Center

GREATER HOUSTON CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU Start your trip at the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, at 701 Avenida de las Americas.

Tour the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, one of Houston’s unique sites. The museum is dedicated to promoting and preserving the stories and soldiers’ contribution to American history from the Revolutionary War to the present.

CANDLELIGHT TOUR On the Candlelight Tour of Sam Houston Park, visitors can see the historic buildings decorated for the Christmas season, listen to carolers and browse an art market while re-enactors portray life in early Houston. GEORGE RANCH HISTORICAL PARK

“Everybody loves listening to Christmas music on the nickelodeon outside the general store,” says Deborah Duty of the Heritage Society.

Visit a 23,000-acre working ranch that began in 1823 when Texas was part of Mexico. It’s also a living history site with a log cabin from the 1830s and a beautiful Victorian home from the 1890s. Costumed re-enactors describe life on the Texas frontier.

The Buffalo SoldierS NaTioNal MuSeuM What to See:

Step into America’s only Museum that solely chronicles the African American Military experiences from the Revolutionary War to the present times. Observe artifacts from the Civil War, WWI and WWII.

Did You Know?

The men in blue were Black: The Buffalo Soldiers were the peacekeepers of the Western Frontier. They encountered warring Indians, bandits, cattle thieves, murderous gunmen, bootleggers, trespassers, and Mexican revolutionaries.

For more information please visit: or call (713) 942-8920

Exhibit Hours:

M-F: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

readY aNd forWard • We CaN We Will The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum 3816 Caroline Street / Houston, Texas 77004 T R U E



TRUE WEST’S ULTIMATE Custer State Park’s Buffalo Roundup of the park’s herd has been a public event for over 50 years and is held the last Friday of every September. – Chad Coppess, Courtesy South Dakota Tourism –





DISCOVER WHERE HISTORY HAPPENED AND EXPERIENCE AN OLD WEST ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME. “Ocian in view! Oh! The Joy!” William Clark wrote in his journal on November 7, 1805, viewing what he believed was the Pacific Ocean as the Corps of Discovery reached the broad estuary of the Columbia River, 20 miles from the coast. Clark’s exhilaration at reaching the destination the Corps had dreamed of for thousands of treacherous miles is the pure emotion of joy that the editors of True West believe our readers— whether first-time visitors or seasoned Western adventurers—discover, and rediscover, when they travel across the American West. True West’s “Ultimate Historic Travel Guide” encourages treks to the West’s greatest heritage sites, where you can actually stand and experience where history happened. The editorial staff at True West invites you to “saddle up” and travel with us to discover the West together—in the hope we’ll inspire your own ultimate Western adventure—and make some history of your own.




El Alisal Famed author and Western preservationist Charles F. Lummis hand-built his famed cobblestone home in northeast Los Angeles in the late 1890s and early 1900s. Follow up a Lummis house tour with a visit to the Autry Museum of the American West in nearby Griffith Park and, on Saturdays only, Lummis’s Historic Southwest Museum in Mt. Washington. 200 E Ave 43, Los Angeles, CA 90031 323-661-9465 • /

Fort Humboldt State Historic Park Founded in 1853, the outpost was once led by Capt. U.S. Grant, who found it so isolating he left the Army after his posting at Humboldt. Shuttered in 1870, the fort today is open to visitors who can walk the grounds, including the last surviving building—the hospital, now a museum dedicated to Army life and local tribal history. 3431 Fort Ave, Eureka, CA 95503 707-445-6547 •

Lava Beds National Monument Near the Oregon border east of Yreka, California, and south of Klamath Falls, Oregon, Lava Beds National Monument protects the battle sites of the Modoc War, including Captain Jack’s Stronghold. 1 Indian Well Campground Trail Indian Well Hqts, CA 96134 • 530-667-8100 •

Lone Pine President Theodore Roosevelt, Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, California – COURTESY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS –

The Pacific Coast

California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington From the Sierra Nevada to the San Juan Islands, from the Columbia River Gorge to Death Valley, the Pacific Coast Region is a land of endless horizons, deep, lush valleys and long snowcapped mountain ranges. The natural beauty, vast distances and diversity of the geology and history of the five states inspire wonderment and admiration for those who lived, explored and settled the region in the centuries before trains, automobiles and airplanes. The heritage of the area is defined by the Pacific Ocean, seemingly endless mountain ranges and the continent’s most arid deserts. The Pacific Coast Region is home to dozens of the nation’s most recognizable parks, monuments and historic sites, and travelers to the five states find themselves following the trails of explorers, adventurers and pioneers, while walking in the footsteps of missionaries, mountain men and miners.




California Bodie State Historic Park Visitors who walk the silent streets of Bodie State Historic Park, set amidst the sagebrush of the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of Yosemite, will discover the real West in the 170 buildings that remain preserved in one of California’s most notorious mining camps. Northeast of Yosemite, 13 miles east of Highway 395 on Bodie Road (Hwy 270), seven miles south of Bridgeport 760-647-6445 •

Death Valley National Park Founded as a monument in 1933, Death Valley National Park’s 3.33 million acres in California and Nevada make it the largest park outside of Alaska. Start your tour at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center to visit the nearby Harmony Borax Works and learn about the mineral bonanza that inspired the iconic 20-mule team borax wagons. Highway 190, Death Valley, CA 92328 760-786-3200 •

Donner Memorial State Park Honoring the tragic emigrant party, Donner Memorial State Park in Donner Pass includes a museum in the visitors center, and a monument dedicated to all the pioneers who traveled to the Golden State on the California Trail. 9 miles west of Truckee, CA • 530-582-7892

Situated along the Eastern Sierra’s “Main Street,” U.S. Highway 395, Lone Pine is a historic community first settled in the 1860s. In 1920, Hollywood producers filmed the Western The Last Roundup in Lone Pine, and since then over 400 movies and 100 television programs have been produced in and around the distinctive Alabama Hills. 120 South Main St, Lone Pine, CA 93545 760-876-4444 •

Marshall Gold Discovery State Park In the heart of “Mother Lode Country,” Marshall Gold Discovery State Park near Caloma preserves the site where James W. Marshall found gold in the tailings of Sutter’s Mill in January 1848. A living history center, the park includes Marshall’s cabin and a replica of the original mill. Rangers and docents provide daily programs at the park. Visitors can even pan for gold. 310 Back St, Coloma, CA 95613 530-622-3470 •

Old Sacramento A national historic landmark district and state historic park, Old Sacramento is a living history center on the banks of the Sacramento River. Visitors can tour the California State Railroad Museum, The Delta King Riverboat, Huntington & Hopkins Hardware, Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum, Sacramento History Museum and the Wells Fargo History Museum. Passenger train rides can be enjoyed on the California State Railroad Museum’s Sacramento Southern Railroad, which departs from the reconstructed Central Pacific Freight Depot. 2nd St & Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA 95814 916-808-7059 •

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Sonoma Barracks

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park celebrates and preserves the Spanish, Mexican and early American heritage of the city. Five original adobe buildings survive in the living history center. Don’t miss an opportunity to stay and dine at the historic Cosmopolitan Hotel.

The California Bear Flag Revolt began in June 1846 at the Sonoma Barracks. The restored barracks, across the street from Sonoma’s Mission San Francisco Solano, are a part of a park complex that includes General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo’s home, the Toscano Hotel, the Servants’ Quarters and the Blue Wing Inn.

4002 Wallace St, San Diego, CA 92110 619-220-5422 •

Spain Street & First Street East, Sonoma, CA 95476 707-935-6832 •

Presidio of San Francisco

Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park

For 218 years, Spain, Mexico and then the United States garrisoned troops at the Presidio of San Francisco. An active military post until 1994, the Presidio is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Artillery and military architecture buffs will want to tour one of the nation’s finest collections of field armaments and historic buildings. California Hwy 1, San Francisco, CA 94123 415-561-4700 •

San Gabriel Mission Padre Junipero Serra’s fourth mission, San Gabriel, was founded strategically between San Diego and San Carlos Borromeo in Carmel on September 8, 1771, and has been an active parish for more than 245 years. Visitors should tour the museum and follow the self-guided tours of the historic church and grounds—the same oasis that mountain man Jedediah Smith arrived at in 1826 after crossing the Mojave Desert from the east. 254 S Santa Anita St, San Gabriel, CA 91776 626-282-3181 •

In 1839, Swiss pioneer John Sutter received a land grant from Mexico to build a community he called New Helvetia near the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers. Today, visitors can tour Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, a living history center that includes one of the most significant historic structures in the state, the fully restored Sutter’s Fort. 2701 L St, Sacramento, CA 95816 916-445-4422 •

William S. Hart Ranch and Museum Silent movie star William S. Hart’s Spanish Colonial Revival-style mansion, built on his ranch in 1910 in Newhall, north of Los Angeles, is dedicated to Hart’s life in the movies. Hart is famous for saying: “When I was making pictures, the people gave me their nickels, dimes and quarters. When I am gone, I want them to have my home.” 24151 Newhall Ave, Newhall, CA 91321 661-254-4584 •

Yosemite National Park On June 30, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant, protecting Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove. A national park since 1890, Yosemite was a favorite of naturalist John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt, and was originally patrolled by the U.S. Cavalry. PO Box 577, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389 209-372-0200 •


Idaho Fort Hall Replica New England entrepreneur Nathaniel Wyeth built Fort Hall in 1832 to support his fur trade business. The fort evolved to become a key crossroads and supply center on the Oregon Trail. Today, Fort Hall Replica, “the gateway to the Pacific,” is a living history center dedicated to Indian, fur trade and Oregon Trail history. 3000 Avenue of the Chiefs, Pocatello, ID 83204 208-234-1795 •

Idaho City In Boise Basin, Idaho City was the “Queen of the Gold Camps,” the center of the richest gold strikes in the history of the American Northwest in the 1860s. Today, visitors to the village can walk the boardwalks of the boomtown and visit numerous historic buildings, including the Boise Basin Historical Museum housed in the original post office built in 1867. 208-392-4159 •

Nez Perce National Historical Park A multi-state national park, Nez Perce National Historical Park has six sites in Idaho, as well. The Spalding Site, near Lapwai, is the headquarters of the park, and has a visitors center and museum. 39063 U.S. 95, Lapwai, ID 83540 208-843-7009 •

Old Fort Boise


Originally a Hudson Bay outpost at the confluence of the Boise and Snake rivers, a small monument marks the site of the Old Fort Boise in the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area. A replica of the old fort was built as a living history center in Parma, and includes a museum and a pioneer cabin. Parma, ID 83660 • 208-722-5210 •

Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission State Park Built by Catholic Jesuit missionaries and local Coeur d’Alene Indians between 1850 and 1853, the Mission of the Sacred Heart at Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission State Park is the oldest building in Idaho. Tour the mission, a restored parish house and the historic cemetery. Exhibits interpret the history of Catholic missionary efforts in the Rocky Mountains. 3715 E 3200 N, Hansen, ID 83334 208-432-4000 • – STATE MAPS BY REBECCA EDWARDS – T R U E



to find your bonanza of gold in California? The California Trail Interpretive Center near Elko will answer all your questions with outstanding exhibitions and regular living history events. 1 Interpretive Center Way, Elko, NV 89801 775-738-1849 •

Carson City Historic District


Rock Creek Station An Idaho Historical Society living history center, Rock Creek Station and the Stricker Home were built in 1865. An important transportation hub along the Oregon Trail south of Hansen, the historic trail stop also includes a pioneer cemetery and interpretive center. 3715 E 3200 N, Hansen, ID 83334 208-432-4000 •

Salmon Salmon is a jewel in the valley near the confluence of the Salmon and Lehmi rivers along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail on U.S. 93. A traditional home of the Shoshone tribe, the City of Salmon is home to the Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural and Educational Center is dedicated to the heritage and history of the region. 208-756-2100 •

Wallace Located in the richest silver district in American history, Wallace is in the Silver Valley of Shoshone County in Idaho’s northern panhandle. Start your walking tour of the Wallace Historic District at the Wallace District Mining Museum, and continue on to the Oasis Bordello Museum and the Northern Pacific Depot Museum. Don’t leave town without taking the Sierra Silver Mine Tour. 208-753-7151 •

Land of Yankee Fork State Park One of Idaho’s premier historic state parks, Land of Yankee Fork State Park in Round Valley has several historic sites, including three ghost towns—Bayhorse, Bonanza and Custer—and the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge; plus the Shoshone Indian mid-1800s Challis Bison Kill site. Visitors should start in Challis at the interpretive center before touring the park.

Named after famed Westerner Kit Carson by the city’s founder Abraham V.Z. Curry in 1858, Carson City quickly became a crossroads of emigrants, prospectors, soldiers and entrepreneurs following the California Trail. Chosen as the Territorial capital city in 1861, Carson City has an extensive historic district, including the Capitol grounds, Nevada State Railroad Museum and Nevada State Museum in the former U.S. Mint, and a neighborhood of the Silver State’s 19th-century homes, which visitors can enjoy by taking the self-guided Blue Line Trail. Day trips from Carson City should include visits to Nevada’s oldest settlement, Genoa, and the historic town of Dayton.


Ely, NV 89315 • 775-289-1693 •

The Dalles

When settlement expanded in Nevada in the late 1850s, the Army built a series of forts across the Central Overland Route in the territory to protect settlers, mail carriers, freight trains and emigrants traveling the new central route across the Great Basin. Fort Churchill State Historic Park has an excellent walking tour of the ruins of the fort, where troops were posted from 1860 to 1869. Silver Springs, NV 89429 • 775-577-2345 •

Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park In the shadow of the neon lights and towering casinos of the Las Vegas Strip stands Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park, an Old West living history center dedicated to the Mormon missionaries’ community built in 1855. While the first American settlement at Vegas Springs only lasted until 1857, the settlement left behind became the humble beginnings of the internationally famous desert city. 500 E Washington Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89101 • 702-486-3511 •

Tonapah Historic Mining Park Interested in Old West mining history? Take a slow drive from Las Vegas to the Tonapah Historic Mining Park on U.S. 95 and plan on stops at the ghost towns of Rhyolite near Beatty, Gold Point near Lida, and Goldfield and Belmont outside of Tonapah. In addition to the mining park, Tonapah has a walking tour of its historic buildings.

Virginia City


After visiting the historic mining community of Ely, Nevada, located on U.S. 50 (“the loneliest road in America”), including an excursion on the historic passenger trains of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, travel southeast to a unique site from Nevada’s storied mining history—the Ward Charcoal Ovens. The thirty-foot-high kilns were built to support the smelting operations of lead in the long-gone mining town of Ward.

Fort Churchill State Historic Park



Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park


110 Burro Ave, Tonopah, NV 89049 775-482-9274 •

Ever wondered what it was like to cross the nation in a Conestoga wagon? Or to walk across the continent

775-847-1114 •

775-577-2345 •

Junction of U.S. 93 and State Highway 75, Challis, ID 208-879-5244 •

California Trail Interpretive Center

Victorian-era heritage center, with historic sites, museums and buildings. Don’t miss the Storey County Courthouse, Piper Opera House, Virginia & Truckee Railroad, the Comstock Mill, Ponderosa Mine Tour, Mark Twain Museum and the Comstock Fire Museum. A great way to see the historic mining camp is aboard the Virginia City Trolley tour.

In the desert hills between Reno and Carson City, one of the richest silver strikes in U.S. history, the Comstock Lode, rocketed Nevada from territory to statehood. Today, Virginia City is a virtual

A tribal fishing center and crossroads of the Columbia River history for centuries, The Dalles developed as an American community at the terminus of the Oregon Trail and launching point for emigrant rafting parties down the river to the Willamette River Valley. While an alternate overland route was built over the Blue Mountains and around Mt. Hood to Oregon City, The Dalles remained an important economic and transportation hub. Today, visitors should begin their visit at Fort Dalles and then tour the world-class Columbia River Gorge Discovery Center. 404 W 2nd St, The Dalles, OR 97058 • 541-296-2231 /

Fort Clatsop National Memorial Lewis and Clark National Historical Park has sites on both sides of the Columbia River, in Oregon and Washington, as it nears the Pacific Ocean, including Fort Clatsop National Memorial, the winter encampment of the Corps of Discovery. The centerpiece of Fort Clatsop, just south of the historic port city Astoria, is the replica of the fort that is supported by a very active ranger program with period-costumed presentations throughout the summer and a visitors center. 92343 Fort Clatsop Rd, Astoria, OR 97103 503-861-2471 •






Fort Stevens State Park

Great Reads: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812–1848 by Will Bagley California: A History by Kevin Starr Roughing It by Mark Twain

Classic Films & TV Bend of the River Bonanza Death Valley Days I Will Fight No More Forever

At the mouth of the Columbia River, a visitor to Fort Stevens State Park can watch the modern ships ply the Columbia River Bar, a treacherous navigation that has claimed over 2,000 ships, earning it the moniker “graveyard of the Pacific.” Because it was an active fort from the Civil War through World War II, a tour of the park’s historic sites reveals Fort Stevens’ nearly 90 years of history. After a tour of the park, visit Astoria’s Columbia River Maritime Museum to learn about the dramatic history of sailing and shipping on the Columbia River. 100 Peter Iredale Rd, Hammond, OR 97121 503-861-3170 • /

Historic Oregon City Oregon City welcomes visitors to its historic park, educational history center and museum, like it welcomed the trail-weary Oregon Trail travelers who survived the transcontinental trip and the final leg—the descent over the Cascade Range past Mt. Hood into the Willamette Valley. Tour the Visitor Center, End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, the Country Store and the Heritage Garden. While in Oregon City, plan on extra time to visit the historic Barclay, McLoughlin and Holmes Houses, and tour downtown. 1726 Washington St, Oregon City, OR 97405 503-657-9336 • /

Oregon Trail National Trail Center Near Baker City, the Bureau of Land Management’s Oregon Trail National Trail Center is dedicated to

interpreting history through exhibits and ranger-led programs, many in period costume, explaining the history and experiences of the thousands of emigrants who made the overland journey across the country on the Oregon Trail. 22267 OR-86, Baker City, OR 97814 541-523-1843 •

Pendleton Pendleton is world famous for the Pendleton Round-Up, a rodeo equally known for its action in the arena as well as its dedication to the local Indian cultures and American settlement history of the Umatilla River Valley. Visitors will enjoy touring the Pendleton Woolen Mills, Round-Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame Museum, Heritage Station Museum and Tamástslikt Cultural Institute. Before leaving town, don’t miss Hamley’s & Co., a famous saddle and Western wear shop downtown, in business since 1883. 501 S Main, Pendleton, OR 97801 541-276-7411 •

Pioneer Courthouse The oldest federal building in the Pacific Northwest and second-oldest west of the Mississippi, the Pioneer Courthouse in Pioneer Square in Portland opened in 1869. Just down the street is the Oregon Historical Society Museum, with comprehensive exhibits on the heritage, history and diverse cultures that have defined Oregon history. 700 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97204 • 503-833-5300 /

Cave Creek, Arizona Where the Wild West Lives

Ride into Cave Creek, a true western hideout where diverse and colorful cultures and characters converge. Take in spectacular open space scenery while enjoying Arizona’s most popular honkytonks, superb restaurants, shopping, and cultural events—all with style and a little twist of outlaw. 480.488.1400




Washington Cape Disappointment State Park On Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula at the mouth of the Columbia River across from Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon, Cape Disappointment State Park is a beautiful place to walk in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery. Take a tour of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and learn about their expedition and local Native culture. Also, don’t miss a hike out to the North Head Lighthouse, built in 1897-’98, that is still aiding ships navigating the Columbia River Bar. 244 Robert Gray Dr, Ilwaco, WA 98624 360-642-3078 •

Fort Columbia Historical State Park East of Cape Disappointment and part of the national and state park consortium of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Columbia State Historical Park at the Chinook Point Historical Landmark was a U.S. Army Coastal Artillery fort from 1896 to 1947. Visitors will enjoy touring the historic officer’s house, the observation station and an interpretive center. U.S. Highway 101, Chinook, WA 98614 360-816-6230 •

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Washington, is a significant British and American outpost in the Northwest. The English Hudson Bay

Company built the fort in 1824 and until the 1840s it was the largest European community on the West Coast. The U.S. Army occupied the fort in 1849 and until 2011 maintained an Army Reserve and Washington National Guard unit at the base. Visitors will enjoy the museum and living history programs, which tell the fascinating story of the fur trade and settlement of the Northwest.


612 E Reserve St Vancouver, WA 98661 360-816-6230 •

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park The Seattle unit of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park complements the park’s sites in Skagway, Alaska, in interpreting the 1898 gold rush that was the greatest mineral bonanza on the West Coast since the California Gold Rush of 1849. The park’s visitors center, located within the Pioneer Square National Historic District in downtown Seattle, offers walking tours and living history programs, as well as a series of permanent and temporary exhibitions interpreting the history of the stampede to the Klondike. 319 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104 206-220-4240 •

San Juan Island National Historical Park Located in Puget Sound, San Juan Island National Historical Park interprets the conflict that almost drew Great Britain and the United States into war over the death of a pig in 1859. The American Camp Visitor Center and the English Camp Visitor Center provide historical interpretation of the history of the island and the international dispute over the San Juan Islands. 4668 Cattle Point Rd, Friday Harbor, WA 98250 360-378-2240 •

A SAcred TruST for All AmericAnS “We, the surviving Nez Perces...want to thank all who visit these sacred trails…. because their journey makes this an important time for the present, past and future.” – Frank B. Andrews, Nez Perce descendant

The Nez Perce (Nee~Me~Poo) National Historic Trail


find Your Trail, find Your Way:

The USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.




Tourist, Grand Canyon, Arizona Territory, circa 1903 – Courtesy Library of Congress –


Copyright © Free Vector

Battle of Big Dry Wash Site In July 1882, the last bloody battle between Army regulars and the Apache tribe took place north of Payson and is commemorated by a marker built in the 1930s by the U.S. Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps. To visit the battle site from Payson, drive north on Highway 87 through Pine and Strawberry to the Rim Road, Forest Road 300. Turn right and drive east to the Battle of Big Dry Wash Historical Marker near General Springs. Battle of Big Dry Wash Site, Payson, AZ 928-472-5110 •

Camp Verde State Historic Park Founded in 1865, Camp Verde State Historic Park is a living history center that commemorates and honors the history of the Army and the conflict with the Yavapai and Western Apaches during the American settlement of Central Arizona. 125 E Hollamon St, Camp Verde, AZ 86322 928-567-3275 •

Canyon de Chelly National Monument Located in the heart of the Navajo Reservation, Canyon de Chelly National Monument is home to the traditional clans who have lived in the specatacular canyon for generations. Tour the national monument, above and below the canyon, with special guided tours of the park, and learn about the canyon’s importance to Navajo culture, and the tragic years of the tribe’s incarceration at Bosque Redondo in New Mexico. PO Box 588, Chinle, AZ 86503 • 928-674-5500 •

Steptoe Battlefield State Park The Steptoe Battlefield State Park commemorates a May 1858 battle between Col. Edward Steptoe’s U.S. troops and a combined force of Spokane, Palouse, Coeur d’Alene and Yakama tribes. The 160 soldiers, on a march from Fort Walla Walla to Fort Colville, were surprised by the Indians and forced to retreat through a series of skirmishes, barely escaping. The four-acre park near Rosalia has a monument to the battle and interpretive signs telling the story of the conflict. South Summit Loop, Rosalia, WA 99170 509-337-6457 •

Whitman Mission National Historic Site The Whitman Mission National Historic Site preserves and interprets the location of a significant settlement and event in U.S. Western history. Among the first emigrants from the Eastern United States were Methodist missionaries Dr. Marcus and Mrs. Narcissa Prentiss Whitman, who arrived in 1836. The Whitmans’ mission was the site of the Whitman Massacre in 1847, a controversial event that dramatically changed the course of history in the American Northwest between settlers and local tribes. After touring the mission grounds, take a short drive to Walla Walla and tour Fort Walla Walla Museum for interactive exhibits and living history programs on the fort and region’s history. 328 Whitman Mission Rd, Walla Walla, WA 99362 509-522-6360 • /

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The Desert Southwest

Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas From the Grand Canyon to the Texas Gulf Coast, from the Rio Grande River Valley to Oklahoma’s endless grasslands, the Desert Southwest Region is a land of sky islands, spectacular canyon lands, plains and prairies, unforgiving deserts and rugged mountains. The natural beauty, vast distances, and diversity of cultures in the regions will inspire the visitor to gain a greater understanding of how the aridity of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts has influenced the Indian, Hispanic and American settlement of the region. The Desert Southwest Region is home to many of the nation’s most recognizable geologic landmarks, ancient pueblos, monuments and historic sites, but also some of its oldest Indian and Hispanic communities. Visitors to the four states will quickly find themselves on the trails of conquistadores and explorers, cowboys and cavalry, and walking in the footsteps of ancient peoples, Indian nations, homesteaders and prospectors.

Fort Apache Historic Park A key outpost during the U.S. Army’s conflict with the Apaches from the 1860s to the 1880s, Fort Apache today is part of the Theodore Roosevelt National Historic Landmark, maintained by the Apache Tribe with assistance from the Fort Apache Heritage Foundation. The park offers exhibits on tribal history plus a museum shop. The Nohwike’ Bágowa (House of Our Footprints) Museum is open six days a week, and on Sundays May through September. 127 Scout St, Fort Apache, AZ 85926 928-338-1392 •

Fort Bowie National Historic Site Located at Apache Springs near the national stageroad in the heart of Chiricahua territory, Fort Bowie National Historic Site can be reached by a short hike across the Butterfield Trail, past the spring and through the desert hills to well-maintained ruins of the fort and historic cemetery. 3500 S Apache Pass Rd, Bowie, AZ 85605 520-847-2500 •

Fort Whipple Founded in 1863, Fort Whipple was one of the Army’s earliest outposts in central and Northern Arizona during the American post-Civil War settlement of the Grand Canyon state. Gen. George Crook built the Crook Trail from Whipple to Fort Apache during the Yavapai War. Today, a historic museum is maintained in a 1909 officer’s home on the post’s grounds, which today is a V.A. Hospital for Northern Arizona. AZ-89, Prescott, AZ 86303 • 928-445-3122 •

Grand Canyon National Park The Grand Canyon is the traditional home and a sacred site to the Havasupai, Hualapai, Navajo, Hopi and Paiute Indians of northern Arizona. Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim visitors center receives 5 million visitors annually. Don’t miss the exhibition on John Wesley Powell’s exploration of the Grand Canyon and his epic 1869 river run on the Green-Colorado. PO Box 129 Grand Canyon, AZ 86023 928-638-7888 •

Holbrook Founded in 1881 by the Santa Fe Railway, Holbrook quickly gained a reputation as one of the toughest towns in the Southwest. As the headquarters of the infamous Aztec Land & Cattle Company, aka the Hashknife Outfit, a walking/driving tour of the historic town once patrolled by legendary lawman Sheriff Commodore Perry Owens starts at the Historic Navajo County Courthouse. 928-524-6558 •

Picacho Peak State Historic Park Just off Interstate 10, west of Casa Grande, the picturesque Picacho Peak can be seen for miles in every direction, a landmark for generations of travelers and the site of the Westernmost battle of the Civil War on April 15, 1862. Every March re-enactors gather and entertain thousands with a re-enactment of three battles: Picacho Peak, Glorieta and Val Verde, the latter two fought in New Mexico. I-10, Exit 219, Eloy, AZ 85141 • 520-466-3183

Prescott The historic and picturesque Territorial capital of Arizona, Prescott is the perfect town in which to take a walk through state history. Start at Sharlot Hall Museum, the living history center with several historic buildings, including the Territorial Governor’s Home, and walk down Gurley Street to Prescott’s historic Courthouse Square, where Solon Borglum’s Rough Rider bronze greets visitors to the park. Across the

street take a walk down Montezuma Avenue, known as Whiskey Row, and visit the historic Palace Saloon. 928-445-2000 •

Queen Mine The centerpiece historical site in downtown Bisbee is Phelps Dodge’s Queen Mine, one of the richest mineral bonanzas in state history. Retired miners lead the underground tours that take visitors on trams deep into the copper mine. After touring the mine, don’t miss an opportunity to walk through Bisbee’s historic district, including a tour of the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, and the legendary Copper Queen Hotel. 478 N Dart Rd, Bisbee, AZ 85603 • 520-432-2071 /

Slaughter Ranch Texas John Slaughter was a legendary lawman and rancher in southeastern Arizona during and after the Apache Wars and Earp-Cowboy feuds in Cochise County in the late 19th century. Today his San Bernardino Ranch is home to the Johnson Historical Museum of Southern Arizona and adjacent to the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge. 6153 Geronimo Trail, Douglas, AZ 85607 520-678-7596 •

Tombstone “The town to tough to die,” Tombstone is Arizona’s most infamous Territorial mining camp and is known internationally for the Earp-Clanton gunfight behind the O.K. Corral. Tour the Tombstone County Courthouse State Historic Park, take a walk through Boothill Graveyard, and park at one end of Allen Street and walk into history. In the National Historic District don’t miss visiting Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, the Crystal Palace, C.S. Fly’s, O.K. Corral, the Bird Cage Saloon, Rose Tree Museum, Good Enough Mine Underground Tour and the Tombstone Epitaph Museum. 888-457-3929 •

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park


Tubac Presidio was the first Spanish fort in present-day Arizona. In 1752, following a revolt by local native peoples, Spain placed a fortress, the San Ignacio de Tubac, in the Santa Cruz River Valley. Tubac is famous for being the launch point of the Anza Expedition to San Francisco in 1775. By 1787, the fort was manned by the same native peoples who had revolted, now enlisted as a Spanish infantry company at Tubac. The Tubac Presidio would later become headquarters for Charles Poston’s mining

New Mexico company when the Americans came in 1856. The museum showcases every culture, with artifacts and displays that bring 2,000 years of history to life. The state park is also a trailhead for the Juan Bautista De Anza Trail that leads to Tumacacori National Historical Park. 1 Burruel St, Tubac, AZ 85646 • 520-398-2252 / /

Warren Earp’s Grave Warren Earp, the youngest brother of Virgil, Wyatt and Morgan, is buried in the Willcox Cemetery not too far from where he was gun downed by Johnny Boyette in Brown’s Saloon in 1900. After paying your respects at Warren’s monument, enjoy a visit to a museum dedicated to Cochise County’s very own, Rex Allen, at the Rex Allen “Arizona Cowboy” Museum & Willcox Cowboy Hall of Fame. 454 N 3rd St, Willcox, AZ •

Yuma Near the confluence of the Gila and Colorado rivers, the U.S. Army built a post at the strategic crossing of the Colorado. Today the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park provides a window into early Territorial settlement, steamboat military, railroad and mining history. Across the highway from the depot is the notorious Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, once one of the most feared prisons in the Old West. 201 N 4th Ave, Yuma, AZ 85364 928-783-0071 • •

New Mexico Battle of Glorieta Pass, Pecos National Historical Park A separate unit from the main visitor center of Pecos National Historical Park, the Glorieta Battlefield commemorates the key battle between New Mexico forces and the Confederate Army that had been attempting to secure Southern control over the Southwest. To walk the park’s 2.35-mile Glorieta Battlefield hiking trail, ask the rangers at the Pecos National Historical Park visitor center to provide you the gate code and a map. NM-63, Pecos, NM 87552 • 505-757-7241 •




El Morro National Monument For centuries travelers across New Mexico would cite El Morro as a key landmark on their trail north and south from the Pueblo communities along the Rio Grande and New Spain’s settlements in Mexico. Many who paused and rested at the butte’s watering hole carved their name into its sandstone face. With over 2,000 inscriptions, El Morro’s importance from ancient times to the present is documented at the monument’s visitor center and along the Inscription Trail to Inscription Rock, and the Headland Trail to Atsinna, the 875-room pueblo ruin atop El Morro. Ice Caves Rd, Grants, NM 87020 • 505-783-4226 •

Fort Bayard National Historic Landmark Built in the territory of New Mexico east of Silver City in 1866, Fort Bayard was an army camp until 1900 when it became a military hospital. Adjacent to the former hospital (closed in 2010) is the Fort Bayard National Cemetery, opened in 1866, and operated by the Veteran’s Administration. The museum is open every Monday, April through September and by appointment only, October through March. 3rd St & D Ave, Fort Bayard, NM • 575-956-3294 /

Fort Selden Historic Site Built in 1865 along the Rio Grande River in the Mesilla Valley, Fort Selden was an important Army

post in the Southwestern Apache wars until its closure in 1891. Just ten miles north of Las Cruces, Fort Selden Historic Site offers a visitors center, adobe ruins visitors can walk through and on weekends during summer months, living history events with re-enactors in period dress. 1233 Fort Selden Rd, Las Cruces, NM 88007 575-647-9585 •

Fort Stanton Historic Site Built in 1855, Fort Stanton was a key Territorial outpost in the Army’s war with the Mescalero Apache tribe until its closure in 1896. The fort’s soldiers were also called into service during local conflicts, including the Lincoln County War between Billy the Kid and his Regulators fighting for the Tunstall-McSween faction and the Murphy-Dolan faction. Just ten miles from Lincoln, visitors should start their tour at the Fort Stanton Museum before taking a walking tour of the 240-acre site, which has 88 historic buildings.

negotiate a peace settlement that allowed them to return with sovereignty to their traditional lands in the Four Corners region. Over 500 Mescalero Apaches who had also been incarcerated at Bosque Redondo fled the reservation in 1865. Visitors should tour the museum and walk the Old Fort Site and River Walk trails. The outlaw Billy the Kid was killed in the town of Fort Sumner on July 14, 1881, and is buried in the village cemetery. 707 N 4th St, Fort Sumner, NM 88119 575-355-7705 •

Fort Union National Monument One of the most significant U.S. Army posts in eastern New Mexico, Fort Union was built at the crossroads of the Santa Fe Trail’s Mountain and Cimarron Cut-off trails. Re-enactors hold regular events at the monument and visitors will enjoy the many tours of the grounds and the fort’s well-preserved ruins. NM 161, Ocate, NM 87734 • 505-425-8025 •

104 Kit Carson Rd, Fort Stanton, NM 88323 575-354-0341 •

Kit Carson Home and Museum

Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo Memorial

Located in the center of Taos, Kit Carson’s family adobe has been preserved as a museum that interprets his dramatic—and controversial—life as a mountain man, explorer, trailblazer, soldier and family man.

During the Civil War, the U.S. fought a war with the Navajo people that led to the tribe’s defeat and long walk to incarceration adjacent to Fort Sumner at the Bosque Redondo Reservation. The miserable location for the 8,500 Navajos led the tribe to

113 Kit Carson Rd, Taos, NM 87571 575-758-4945 •

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Lincoln In the annals of Western U.S. history, the humble town of Lincoln’s notorious past is synonymous with the violence that plagued the West, and especially the New Mexico Territory after the Civil War. The historic buildings in the center of town are managed and preserved as a New Mexico Historic Site. Visitors can walk the streets of Lincoln and stride in the footsteps of the Regulators, Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, John Tunstall, Alexander McSween, Lawrence G. Murphy and James J. Dolan. Stay the weekend at the Dolan House, Ellis Store or Wortley Hotel. Tour the 17 historic structures (call ahead for scheduled openings), including the Old Lincoln County Courthouse, the Tunstall Store, Montaño store, the 1850s stone Torreon, San Juan Mission Church and the Anderson-Freeman Museum. Old Lincoln Days are held every August and re-enactors entertain tourists with some of the most infamous moments of the Lincoln County War, including Billy’s dramatic escape from the Lincoln County Jail. Highway 380 Mile Marker 97.5, Lincoln, NM 88338 575-653-4025 •

Mesilla Founded in 1848, Mesilla is one of the oldest settlements in the southern Rio Grande River Valley in New Mexico and was an important crossroads for territorial trade and travel on the El Camino Real and Southern Overland Route of the Butterfield

Stage Line. Mesilla’s historic plaza is where U.S. troops from Fort Fillmore raised the American flag after the conclusion of the Gadsden Purchase in 1853. The town served as the short-lived capital of the Confederacy in New Mexico during the Civil War. In the 1870s and 1880s Mesilla’s popular saloons and dance halls attracted law-abiding citizens and outlaws, including Billy the Kid. Visitors should tour the historic plaza (the Kid was tried and sentenced to die in the historic building that is home to today’s Billy the Kid Giftshop), the local Gadsden Museum and the New Mexico Ranch & Farm Museum in nearby Las Cruces.

Pat Garrett Murder Site Historical Marker

2231 Avenida de Mesilla, Mesilla, NM 88046 575-524-3262 •

In Cimarron, the historic St. James Hotel bears the bullet holes in its ceiling as evidence of its Wild West past as a Lambert’s Saloon before the proprietors expanded it into a popular hotel. Many well-known Westerners traveling along the Santa Fe Railway stopped for the night, including Buffalo Bill Cody, who was a friend of the owners—French chef Henri Lambert and his wife, Mary. Today, the historic hotel welcomes guests to enjoy the vintage, wellappointed rooms and a meal and drink at the restaurant and saloon. 617 S. Collison, Cimarron, NM 87714 575-376-2664 •

Palace of the Governors Built of adobe in the early 1600s as New Spain’s seat of government in New Mexico, today it is the state’s preeminent museum and archives of the city, state and region’s history. A Registered National Historic Landmark and American Treasure, the Palace of the Governors is the oldest occupied public building in the United States. The New Mexico History Museum opened next door to the Palace on Santa Fe’s Historic Plaza in 2009 and is dedicated to the ancient multi-cultural history of the Land of Enchantment state. 105 W Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501 505-476-5100 • /

Sheriff Pat Garrett became famous for his killing of Billy the Kid, but along the way the notorious and controversial lawman made many enemies in many powerful moneyed circles in the territory of New Mexico. One morning, violence ended Garret’s life, much like he lived it, and a marker commemorates his assassination in Dona Ana County. Jornada Rd & I-70 Service Rd, Las Cruces, NM

St. James Hotel

Village of Columbus/Camp Furlong On March 9, 1916, Mexican revolutionary Gen. Francisco “Pancho” Villa led a raid into the United

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States across the border into the Village of Columbus and past the troops stationed at Camp Furlong. With nearly 500 Villistas riding hard wantonly through the town, the revolutionaries set fire to downtown before suffering dozens of losses. Today, the only attack on U.S. soil by foreign invaders until 9/11 is remembered at Pancho Villa State Park, the former Camp Furlong from which Gen. Jack Pershing led 10,000 soldiers into Mexico in search of Villa. 224 Lima Ave, Columbus, NM 88029 575-531-0046 •

Oklahoma 101 Ranch Memorial The internationally renowned Miller Brothers’ 101 Ranch Wild West Show, billed as “The Greatest Show of the West,” toured the world from 1905 to 1939. During the Miller Brothers heyday, the Oklahoma family empire included vast land holdings, oil wells and international fame. The 101 Ranch Old Timers Association owns 72 acres of the original ranch site and in 1996 opened the public picnic area. Visit the E.W. Marland’s Grand Home Museum in Ponca City to see the official 101 Ranch Collection and 101 Ranch Old Timers Association Museum. Visit Ponca City in June to experience the annual celebration since 1960 of the great 101 Ranch Wild West Show at the 101 Ranch Rodeo. On State Highway 156, 13 miles SW of Ponca City / /

Chisholm Trail Heritage Center In Duncan, Oklahoma, The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center is located north of the Red River along the historic Chisholm Trail. An interactive museum with regularly scheduled events inside the exhibit hall and outside on the museum’s grounds, the centerpiece of the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center is the Garis Gallery of the American West. In addition to the museum’s extraordinary Western art collection, visitors will enjoy both permanent and temporary exhibitions that celebrate the history and culture of the Chisholm Trail, American cowboy and the West. When walking the museum grounds, don’t miss Paul Moore’s On the Chisholm Trail bronze that greets visitors at the entrance to the Heritage Center. 1000 Chisholm Trail Pkwy, Duncan, OK 73533 580-252-6692 •

Fort Gibson Historic Site A national historic landmark, Fort Gibson dates to 1824 when the U.S. Army began exploring the region. A key post during the Indian Removal era, it was closed in 1857. After the Civil War started the fort was reoccupied and became a key military outpost until 1890. Tours should begin at the Commissary Visitor Center on Garrison Hill and proceed through the reconstructed log fort, and historic buildings constructed between the 1840s and 1870s. Visitors also enjoy re-enactors leading living history programs and events during the year. 110 E Ash Ave, Fort Gibson, OK 74434 918-478-4088 •

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Fort Sill National Historic Landmark & Museum One of the most significant historical military museums in Old West history, the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum is dedicated to the interpretation of nearly a century of American and Indian history in the region, including the post-Civil War engagements with the Southern Plains tribes. Fort Sill was enlarged in 1894 when the Chiricahua Indians, imprisoned for nearly a decade in Florida and Alabama, were moved permanently to a reservation at the military base. The interactive history facility boasts 38 buildings and curates over 235,000 objects at the 142-acre Historic Landmark. The museum is completely dedicated to its historic era, while the US Army Field Artillery Museum has been a separate institution since 2008. 437 Quanah Rd, Fort Sill, OK 73503 580-442-5123 •

Fort Supply Historic Site Founded out of necessity during the winter of 1868 to support the Army’s war with the Southern Plains tribes in Western Oklahoma, Fort Supply was a key outpost in the Indian Territory for 25 years until its closure in 1894. Today, five original buildings, including the 1875 ordance sergeant’s quarters and a replica of the 1868 stockade, can be toured at the site. Visitors should start at the restored and furnished 1892 brick guardhouse, which houses Fort Supply’s exhibitions. 1 William S Key Blvd, Fort Supply, OK 73841 580-256-6136 •

Fort Towson Historic Site Built in 1824 to protect early settler in the Arkansas Territory, Fort Towson was a key border outpost between Mexico and the United States prior to the Texas Revolution. The Choctaw and Chickasaw encamped at the fort before settlement in the Indian Territory. U.S. forces prepared for war against Mexico at the fort in 1846 before it was closed in 1856. The Confederate Army had its headquarters at the abandoned fort and in 1865 the final Southern surrender, by Gen. Stand Watie, occurred at Fort Towson. Visitors can tour the Suttler’s Store, 18 interpretive sites on a walking tour, and enjoy regularly scheduled living history demonstrations throughout the year. 896 N 4375 Rd, Fort Towson, OK 74735 580-873-2634 •

Honey Springs Battlefield Historic Site North of Checotah and adjacent to Rentiesville, the Honey Springs Battlefield Historic Site commemorates and honors the largest of 107 engagements in the Indian Territory during the Civil War. Visitors can walk six different trails across the 1,100-acre park and

learn about the July 17, 1863 Battle of Honey Springs at 55 interpretive sites. The Union’s decisive defeat of the Confederate forces has earned the battle the nickname “Gettysburg of the Indian Territory.” A new visitor center is under construction in Rentiesville. 101601 S 4232 Rd, Checotah, OK 74426 918-473-5572 •

National Cowboy Western & Heritage Museum Founded in 1955 in Oklahoma’s capital city, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the preeminent museums in the United States dedicated to the cultural history and heritage of the American West. Annually more than 10 million visitors tour its Western art galleries, Old West and American Indian history galleries, and its three halls of fame: the Hall of Great Westerners, Hall of Great Western Performers and Rodeo Hall of Fame. 1700 NE 63rd St, Oklahoma City, OK 73111 405-478-2250 •

Oklahoma Territorial Museum In Guthrie, the Oklahoma Territorial Museum and Carnegie Library is the centerpiece of the historic downtown district that honors and celebrates the Oklahoma’s transformation from Indian Territory to statehood that began with the 1889 land run. The downtown district is on the Register of Historic Places and is the largest contiguous urban historic district in the country. Begin your tour of the Guthrie Museum Complex in the museum at the Territorial and first state capital building before taking a walking tour of the historic city. 406 E Oklahoma Ave, Guthrie, OK 73044 405-282-1889 •

Wash*ta Battlefield National Historic Site The Lt. Col. George A. Custer-led U.S. 7th Cavalry surprise attack at dawn on the Southern Cheyenne village of Peace Chief Black Kettle on November 27, 1868, is commemorated at the Wash*ta Battlefield National Historic Site. Follow the 1.5-mile trail from the overlook to the site of Black Kettle’s village and learn about the tragic conflict between the U.S. and the Southern Plains Indian tribes. 426 E Broadway, Cheyenne, OK 73628 580-497-2742 •

Texas The Alamo Internationally the most recognized historical site in the state of Texas, the Alamo is a Shrine of Texas Liberty and those who visit should revere it as hallowed ground. Built originally by Spanish pioneers

in 1718, the Mission San Antonio de Valero was abandoned in the 1790s. By 1836 and the Texas War of Independence, the mission was known best by its nickname “El Alamo” renamed by Spanish soldiers in the early 1800s. Visitors to the Alamo will enjoy the various tour opportunities of the mission and battlefield site, history talks, audio tours, regularly scheduled special events and the unique Phil Collins Collection of Alamo and Texas history. 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205 210-225-1391 •

Concordia Cemetery Take a walk back into time in El Paso’s historic Concordia Cemetery, the eternal resting place for the famous and infamous, valiant and brave, humble and unknown. El Pasoans have buried their dead in the graveyard since the first soul was interred in the 1840s. The historic cemetery is managed by the Concordia Heritage Association to protect, preserve and maintain the graveyard. Visitors can walk its grounds and see outlaw John Wesley Hardin’s grave as well as the grave of John Selman, the lawman who put Hardin in Concordia. Don’t miss the special section dedicated to Buffalo Soldiers, the graves of Texas Rangers, Civil War veterans and the innumerable headstones of El Paso’s citizenry forgotten with time. 3700 E Yandell Dr, El Paso, TX 79903 915-842-8200 •

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area An ancient dome of granite in Texas’s Hill Country, Enchanted Rock has been a landmark to the peoples of the region for thousands of years. Protected in a state natural area, the landmark 425-fott pink granite outcropping, has over 400 archeological sites, and is considered sacred by many tribes. Enchanted Rock was the site of a famous shootout between Texas Ranger Capt. Jack Hays and a band of Comanches in 1841. Today, visitors can hike its trails, explore the granite dome and star-gaze, all the while considering why the local Tonkawa believed the granite dome was the “Glowing, singing rock.” 16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624 830-685-3636 •

tribes, Fort Concho served its purpose effectively until it was closed in 1889. The City of San Angelo operates the historic landmark, museumand handles the preservation of 23 fort buildings. Walk in the footsteps of soldiers and their families who lived at the fort and tour Officers Row and Quarters, the Enlisted Men’s Barracks, Post Headquarters, Hospital, School House and Chapel. Fort Concho is also the site of numerous annual living history events, including Buffalo Soldier Heritage Day in February and Fort Concho Frontier Day in April. 630 S Oakes St, San Angelo, TX 76903 325-481-2646 •

across Oklahoma to the rail heads in Kansas. After the railroad arrived in 1876, Fort Worth became a shipping station and the first stockyards were built. For the next seven decades, Fort Worth developed into the nation’s largest stockyard and livestock exchange in the nation. In the 1970s, with the steady decline in the cattle business and packing houses in the city, the Fort Worth Historical Society was created to preserve the historic district. Today, the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the state (don’t miss the twice-a-day longhorn cattle drives), and cattle are still sold at the Livestock Exchange Building every week—via satellite.

Fort Davis National Historic Site

131 E. Exchange Ave, Suite 110, Fort Worth, TX 76164 817-625-5082 •

From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis played a strategic military role in the settlement of West Texas and the protection of travelers on the San Antonio-El Paso Road. Today, Fort Davis National Historic Site is one of the best examples of frontier posts involved with the Indian Wars with the Comanche, Apache and Kiowa people in the American Southwest. Visitors can tour the fort’s restored and refurnished buildings on a self-guided tour, and enjoy regular scheduled living history events with re-enactors in period and military dress, including an annual Independence Day celebration. 101 Lt. Henry Flipper Dr, Fort Davis, TX 79734 432-426-3224 •

Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District From 1866 to 1890, Texas cowboys drove the cattle north to market, and in the early days, Fort Worth was a last stop before the trail boss headed his outfit and herd north across the Red River,

Goliad State Park & Goliad Historic Site When visitors arrive at Goliad State Park they should be prepared to take a walk into Spanish Colonial, Mexican and Texan history. Tour a 1930s refurnished restoration of the Spanish Colonial Era Mission of Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zuñiga, the reconstructed birthplace of Mexican Cinco de Mayo hero General Ignacio Zaragoza, the Fannin Memorial Monument and the 1749 Presidio La Bahia, where Fannin and his men were executed under the orders of Mexican Gen. Santa Ana in 1836. The Fannin Battleground State Historic Site is ten miles east of Goliad, and well worth a tour, as is a walk through Goliad’s historic downtown. 108 Park Rd 6, Goliad, TX 77963 361-645-3405 •

Historic Fort Stockton First constructed in 1856 near present-day Pecos, Camp Stockton was abandoned in 1861 at the


First Battle of Adobe Walls Site Historic Marker and Second Battle of Adobe Walls-Battle Ground Marker Southern Plains pioneer and proprietor William Bent built an adobe trading post on Bent Creek north of the Canadian River in 1843. Five years after his initial log cabin was expanded into an adobe fort he closed and blew up his 80-square-foot outpost because of Indian attacks. In November 1864 and then in June 1874, the ruins of Bent’s adobe fort became ingrained in Western history as the site of the First and Second Battle of Adobe Walls, respectively. Visit the Hutchison County Historical Museum in Borger to learn more about the local history, culture and the two Battles of Adobe Walls. 613 N Main, Borger, TX 79008 806-274-2211 •

Fort Concho National Historic Landmark Built in 1867 as a strategic U.S. Army outpost during the post-Civil War conflict with the Southern Plains




outbreak of the Civil War. In 1867, Fort Stockton was re-established at its current location and garrisoned with the 9th Cavalry, a newly created Black regiment. The fort was used to the tactical advantage of the Army in its fight with Southern Plains Indian tribes until it was closed in 1886. Historic Fort Stockton consists today of the parade ground, the guard house, two reconstructed enlisted men’s barracks and kitchens, and three structures from the original Officers’ Row, two of which are open to the public.

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

301 E. 3rd St, Fort Stockton, TX 79735 432-336-2400 •

San Elizario Historic District

Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site

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Home to ancient peoples long before the Spanish entrada into the region, modern Indian tribes found refuge, water and shelter amidst the tanks, as did succeeding generations of explorers, travelers, settlers, and even the Butterfield Overland Mail had a station there in the late 1850s. A working ranch from the 1890s to the 1940s, the rancher’s adobe home is the park’s interpretive center today.

Old Fort Parker Historic Site

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C. Gywnn Fighting for Uncle Sam: Buffalo Soldiers in the Frontier Army by John Langellier Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History by Paul Andrew Hutton The Spanish Frontier in North America by David Weber The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900 by Mike Cox To Hell on a Fast Horse: The Untold Story of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett by Mark Lee Gardner Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend by Casey Tefertiller

Fort Parker bears the name of the family who suffered an Indian raid on May 19, 1836, that led to the kidnapping of nine-year-old Cynthia Parker. She would be raised as a Comanche and married to Chief Peta Nocona. Their son grew up to be the legendary Chief Quanah Parker, the last to lead the Comanches in war on the Southern Plains. Tour the restored fort, built in 1936 in honor of the Texas Centennial, adjacent to Fort Parker State Park.

On May 8, 1846, the Mexican American War started on on the prairie of Palo Alto near the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors to the Palo Alto Battlefield Historic Monument should begin their tour at the visitor center’s museum before walking interpretive trails to the battlefield site. 7200 Paredes Line Rd, Brownsville, TX 78526 956-541-2785 •

Palo Duro Canyon State Park In the Panhandle of Texas, Paul Duro Canyon State Park, known as “The Grand Canyon of Texas,” protects a unique natural and culturally important site in the Lone Star state. Home to Native peoples for over 12,000 years, the Comanche and Kiowa tribes occupied the canyon lands prior to their wars with the U.S. in the 19th century. In 1874, the tribes suffered a major defeat in a battle at Palo Duro, and two years later, famous cattle baron Charles Goodnight established his JA Ranch in the canyon. Events are held at the park every month, but for five decades Texas! Outdoor Musical held in the Pioneer Amphitheatre in the Canyon, June to Mid-August, is the highlight of the year. 11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5, Canyon, TX 79015 806-488-2227 • W E ST

Just east of El Paso, the San Elizario Historic District is a living history center that provides visitors with a window into 18th and 19th century life along the Rio Grande River in southwestern Texas. Founded in 1789, the town of San Elizario grew up in support of the Presidio San Elcear. Visit the city’s historic sites on a walking tour that

Great Reads

Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Monument


6701 San Jose Dr, San Antonio, TX 78214 210-534-1540 •

6900 Hueco Ranks Rd No. 1, El Paso, TX 79938 915-857-1135 •

866 Park Rd 35, Groesbeck, TX 76642 254-729-5253 •


A World Heritage Site since 2015 that includes the Alamo, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park protects, preserves and interprets Missions Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada four of the most important 18th century Spanish Mission complexes in North America.

Classic Films & TV Life & Legend of Wyatt Earp Lonesome Dove Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid Red River The Searchers The Wild Bunch Tombstone

Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

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Colorado Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site Entrepreneurism and courage were the touchstones of William and Charles Bent who in 1833 built their trading post with their partner, Ceran St. Vrain, along the Santa Fe Trail on the north banks of the Arkansas River in the middle of Indian country. For 16 years, Bent’s Fort was the “castle of the plains,” and was the most important economic center between Kansas City and Santa Fe until it was abandoned in 1849. The fort was reconstructed for America’s bicentennial, and serves as an active living history center. 35110 Colorado Hwy 194 East, La Junta, CO 81050 719-383-5010 •

Buffalo Bill’s Grave and Museum

includes the Presidio, Old City Jail, Memorial Placita and Los Portales, home to the city’s museum and visitor center. 12710 Church St, San Elizario, TX 79849 915-974-7037 •

San Jacinto Battle Monument General Sam Houston’s decisive victory over Mexican leader General Santa Ana’s army on April 21, 1836, is honored and enshrined at the San Jacinto Battle Monument and Museum just 20 minutes outside of Houston. The 567.31-foot obelisk towers over the battlefield site with an observation tower at the top and the San Jacinto Museum in the base. Tour the museum’s exhibits and watch the film Texas Forever!! 1 Monument Cir, La Porte, TX 77571 281-479-2421 •

Waco Suspension Bridge Driving the longhorn herds north from southern Texas to Kansas, the range bosses and cowboy crews faced innumerable daily dangers, but pushing thousands of steers across rivers on the Chisholm trail led to many drownings of men and animals. The Brazos River in Waco was unpredictable, and the ferry crossing cumbersome for cattle drives. The city recognized an opportunity for the future and built a 475-foot suspension bridge, the first ever in Texas. Today, the Waco Suspension Bridge is for pedestrians only, but Waco still holds its Independence Day celebration at the bridge and Indian Springs Park, the original townsite. Waco Visitor Information Center 106 Texas Ranger Trail, Waco, TX 76706 800-922-6386 •

Great Basin and Rocky Mountains Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming

When William F. Cody died in Denver, Colorado, in 1917, they say he requested to be buried high on Lookout Mountain, west of the city, so that he could eternally see both the plains and mountains he loved. From Montana’s snow-covered peaks to the labyrinth of canyons in Southern Utah, from Wyoming’s Yellowstone country to Colorado’s Continental Divide, the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains region was home to many Indian tribes before Europeans arrived in search of furs. The abundant natural resources of the region drove the conquest and settlement of the four states through the 19th century—and even continues today. Travelers in search of the Old West in the region will discover why distance is relative to the time needed to cross over high mountain passes and sagebrush deserts on foot, horseback or wagon, by transcontinental train, or in a car on ribbons of historic highways under a seemingly endless blue sky.

In Golden, Colorado, high on Lookout Mountain is William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s final resting place. The Western showman died while visiting his sister in Denver in 1917. His wife, Louisa, was buried next to him four years later and that same year Cody’s friend, Johnny Baker, started the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum. Today the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave is one of the most visited historic sites in Colorado, a true testament to the lasting importance of the beloved Western showman. 987½ Lookout Mountain Rd, Golden, CO 80401 303-526-0744 •

Durango Located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains on the banks of the Animas River in Southwest Colorado, Durango is home to the world-famous DurangoSilverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Visitors who love Victorian inns will enjoy staying at the Historic Strater Hotel in the downtown district before taking a round-trip ride into history on the narrow-gauge railroad to Silverton and back. The train runs year ’round, with special excursions in the heart of winter. 802 Main St, Durango, CO 81302 800-463-8726 •

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Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center

Leadville/Lake County Chamber: 809 Harrison Ave, Leadville, CO 80461 • 719-486-3900 •

Built in Colorado’s San Luis Valley in 1858, Fort Garland was an early outpost in the heart of the state when settlers began expanding their communities into the rich interior valleys. A key military outpost until 1883, the fort was under the command of Kit Carson in 1866-’67 because of his knowledge of the region and relationship with the local Utes. Today’s visitors will enjoy the rich heritage preserved at the fort, including regularly scheduled re-enactments and living history events.

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

29477 Colorado Hwy 159, Fort Garland, CO 81133 719-379-3512 /

Fort Vasquez Museum

CELEBRATING 200 YEARS Relive history inside of America’s original gateway to The Wild West during 2018’s yearlong Fort Smith Bicentennial Celebration!

In 1835, fur traders Louis Vasquez and Andrew Sublette built Fort Vasquez about 35 miles north of modern Denver. The adobe outpost was a busy site with many famous mountain men working for the frontier entrepreneurs. Near Platteville, the museum inside the re-created fort rebuilt in the 1930s, has displays and exhibits on the fur trade, mountain men, Plains Indians and frontier life. 13412 U.S. Hwy 85, Platteville, CO 80651 970-785-2832 •

Georgetown Loop Railroad and Mining Tours Historic Georgetown’s business district is an enjoyable and informative place to begin a tour of the mining town known as the Silver Queen of the Rockies, built on the silver boom of the 1880s. The Georgetown Loop Railroad & Mining Tours is an engineering marvel and provides today’s passengers views of the Clear Creek Canyon and the Rocky Mountains. For an additional fee, passengers may take a guided tour of one of three mines. 646 Loop Dr, Georgetown, CO 80444 888-456-6777 • /





At 10,430 feet, historic Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the United States, is a mining boomtown built near the headwaters of the Arkansas River. Abe Lee discovered gold in 1860, which was followed by a silver boom in the 1870s. Start your tour at the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum, then take the historic walking tour before boarding the popular vintage Leadville Train. Stay at the 1886 Delaware Hotel in Leadville’s historic district.

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is a solemn site. The park is dedicated to remembering the tragic and unforgivable attack on Chiefs Black Kettle, White Antelope and Left Hand’s peaceful villages on November 29, 1864. Led by Col. John Chivington, 675 cavalrymen attacked at dawn, slaughtering 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho women, children, warriors and elderly. Visitors should plan to attend an interpretive program and take the short walk out to the monument and overlook. County Rd 54 & County Rd W (Near Eads), CO 81036-0249 719-438-5916 •

Silverton Gold and silver were found in 1860, but miners didn’t return to the Animas River Canyon to seek their fortunes until after the Civil War. In 1874, the town of Silverton was laid out and the boom was on. In 1882, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad reached Silverton. At its height, over 2,000 called Silverton home, with more than 400 buildings, including 29 saloons. Today, historic Silverton is a popular tourist destination and the terminus of the internationally acclaimed Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. 414 Greene St, Silverton, CO 81433 800-752-4494 •

Montana Bannack State Park When prospector John White found gold on Grasshopper Creek in 1862, the news of the discovery created a rush to Bannack, which in 1864 became the first Territorial capital of Montana. Mining remained an important industry in Bannack until the 1930s, and in the 1950s, Montana made the historic community a state park. Today visitors step back in time and can walk through most of the 60 historic structures. Don’t miss Bannack Days, held the third weekend of every July, which celebrates the early decades of the Montana Territory. 4200 Bannack Rd, Dillon, MT 59725 406-834-3413 •

Bear Paw Battlefield Commemorating the final battle of the Nez Perce War of 1877, Bear Paw Battlefield is the site of Chief Joseph’s famous statement, “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.” Begin your tour at the Blaine County Museum in Chinook,

15 miles south of the battlefield. Call for hours of operation. Bear Paw Battlefield’s self-guided 1¼-mile moderately difficult interpretive trail is open to the public every day during daylight hours. 15 miles south of Chinook, MT, on Highway 240 406-357-3130 •

Big Hole National Battlefield Near Wisdom, Big Hole National Battlefield is a unit of the Nez Perce National Historical Park and one of the most significant sites of the Nez Perce War of 1877. An extensive museum in the visitor center displays rare artifacts and detailed exhibitions on the tragic results of the battle. Three self-guided trails take visitors onto the battlefield, to the village site and up onto the ridgeline where Col. John Gibbon’s soldiers retreated and held out under duress from a Nez Perce siege while the tribe buried its dead and escaped. 16425 Hwy 43 W, Wisdom, MT 59761 406-689-3155 •

Fort Benton Fort Benton on the Missouri River is a crossroads of history. Visitors should stay a while in the national historic landmark, the terminus of three major trails and a key stop on the Lewis and Clark and Nez Perce National Historic trails. Museum lovers will enjoy Historic Old Fort Benton, the Museum of the Upper Missouri, Museum of the Northern Great Plains, the Missouri River Breaks Interpretive Center, the Historic District and Levee Walk, the Shep Memorial and the State of Montana’s Lewis and Clark Memorial.

Living History:

U.S. Hwy 87, 40 miles northeast of Great Falls or 72 miles south of Havre, MT 406-622-3864 •

1860s Style

Great Falls Upriver from Fort Benton, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail leads to Great Falls, a key stop for heritage travelers to view and tour the site of the Corps of Discovery’s portage of the five waterfalls on the Missouri River. Travelers should visit the C.M. Russell Museum, Giant Springs State Park and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and enjoy a short or long walk, run or bike ride on the 48-mile River’s Edge Trail.


1106 9th St South, Great Falls, MT 59405 406-771-1180 •

Glacier National Park Known as the Crown of the Continent, Glacier National Park was a traditional homeland to Native Blackfeet, Kootnei, Pend d’Oreillie and Salish tribes. With the Blackfeet controlling the region into the 1870s, American settlers were slow to homestead the area, but with the arrival of the Great Northern Railroad in 1891, homesteading and prospecting increased pressure on the natural beauty of the area. Tourism became a source of income, and with the rise of the national park movement, President William H. Taft made Glacier the 10th national park in 1910. 64 Grinnell Dr, West Glacier, MT 59936 406-888-7800 • • 913-971-5111 t r u e


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Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument Little Bighorn remains one of most significant battles in American history. Located on the Crow Agency, the June 25-26, 1876, battle between Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse’s Sioux and Cheyenne allies and Lt. Col. George A. Custer’s 7th Cavalry, led to the death of 263 soldiers, including Custer. Visitors will discover a solemnity that imbues the park, whether one is touring the national cemetery, the visitor center museum, the walkways, the 1881 7th Cavalry Memorial or the 2003 Indian Memorial. Ranger-led programs provide expert analysis on the battle, while a drive out to the Benteen-Reno Battlefield provides a great view of the Little Bighorn River Valley. After touring the monument, don’t miss an opportunity to visit the Custer Battlefield Museum, in Garryowen, Montana, or a chance to stay the night at the fully restored, historic Sheridan Inn in Sheridan, Wyoming. 756 Battlefield Tour Rd, Crow Agency, MT 59022 406-638-3224 • /

Virginia City In 1863, prospectors looking for the next bonanza discovered gold in Alder Gulch. Soon Virginia City was the latest Western boomtown that brought settlers deep into the Northern Plains. Within a




year, 8,000 to 10,000 miners were living in the wild town. Soon thereafter Virginia City was made the Territorial capital. Today, visitors can walk the historic streets of the Victorian mining town, tour several historic structures, be entertained by re-enactors, take a ride on a train and learn how Virginia City, Montana, changed the course of history in the West.


800-829-2969 •

Utah Bluff Fort In 1879-’80 Mormon pioneers built a 250-mile trail from Parowan to Bluff that remains symbolic of the determination of the missionaries and their loyalty to themselves and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Soon after the pioneers settled along the San Juan River they built Bluff Fort and moved the community members into cabins inside the fort to protect them from Indian attacks. Visitors can tour a replica of the fort, an original cabin, and replicas of other buildings, including the Co-op Store, which now serves as the visitors center and gift shop.

Fort Douglas Military Museum

550 Black Locust Ave, Bluff, UT 84512 435-672-9995 • /

32 Potter St, Salt Lake City, UT 84113 801-581-1251 •

The Army post was built in 1862 just east of Salt Lake City to guard the Central Overland Route. In the early years, soldiers at Camp Douglas played an important peacekeeping role in the region and served to protect the construction of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. The fort served the regular Army until 1991, although the Army Reserve still maintains a 51-acre site. Today, visitors can enjoy the Fort Douglas Military Museum on the campus of the University of Utah.

Golden Spike National Historic Site

trading post, and enjoy the spectacular views of Monument Valley known worldwide.

On May 10, 1869, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads completed the engineering feat of the first transcontinental railroad in North America at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory. Today, the Golden Spike National Historic Site protects, interprets and promotes the memorable moment with visitor center exhibitions and film, interpretive hiking and walking trails, and living history re-enactments, including a regular re-enactment of the meeting of the two steam locomotives Jupiter and No. 119 nose-to-nose, and the driving of the Golden Spike.

1000 Main St, Monument Valley, UT 84536 435-727-3231

6450 N 22000 W, Corinne, UT 84307 435-471-2209 •

Goulding’s Trading Post In the early 1920s, sheep trader Harry Goulding and his wife, Leone, known to all as “Mike,” came to Monument Valley and started a trading post. During the Depression, Harry and “Mike” went to Hollywood with photographs of their beautiful valley to drum up business for the impoverished area, and John Ford agreed it was perfect for his upcoming film, Stagecoach. Ever since, Monument Valley has been a favorite location for movie companies, and Goulding’s quickly became Ford’s headquarters in the picturesque valley. Today, visitors can stay in the lodge, tour the museum in the original

Moab The earliest Mormon settlers of Moab in the 1850s were driven out by Indian attacks. In 1878, a new wave of settlers restarted the community. The isolated, rural river town attracted its share of miscreants, including Harvey Alexander Logan, aka Kid Curry, who on May 26, 1900, went on a killing spree of revenge in Moab, killing Grand County Sheriff Jesse Tyler and Deputy Sam Jenkins. Tyler had killed his friend George “Flatnose” Curry (Logan’s adopted last name) and his brother, Larry Logan. Visitors should start their tour at the Museum of Moab before venturing out to drive three scenic byways and visit Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and Dead Horse Point State Park. 217 Center St, Moab, UT 84532 435-259-5121 •

Meadow Mountains Massacre Site The site commemorates an attack on an Arkansas emigrant wagon train by Mormon settlers with local Paiute Indians. The local Latter-day Saints pioneers

were suspicious of the federal government’s anti-Mormon policies, and on September 11, 1857, the Mormon militia attacked and killed 120 men, women and children of the Baker-Fancher wagon train. Seventeen children survived. The National Historic Landmark is 40 minutes north of present-day St. George on State Highway 18.

Monument Valley Monument Valley became known internationally after Harry and Leone “Mike” Goulding convinced John Ford to make his movie Stagecoach amidst the valley’s beautiful buttes in 1938. Today, nearly 80 years later, Monument Valley is one of the most iconic sites in the American West. Visitors can stay at the Navajo Nation’s recently built View Lodge, in which every room has a balcony view of the sunrise over Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Tourists can take a 3.2-mile self-guided walking tour, a 17-mile scenic loop drive or hire a Navajo guide for a personal tour through the park. Navajo Nation Reservation accessible from U.S. Highway 163. • 928-871-6647 •

Robbers Roost Butch Cassidy’s gang found refuge in Utah Territory’s rugged Capitol Reef Country. North of Hanksville, visitors





archive, the most significant Western history museum center in the United States. Schedule a couple of days to tour the Buffalo Bill History Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, Plains Indian Museum, Draper Museum of Natural History and the Whitney Gallery of Western Art. 836 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414 307-587-2297 •

Fort Bridger State Historic Site

escape from the law. The site is accessible only by primitive roads and a 2.5-mile cross-country hike. Always check with the field office for current conditions, a map and directions. Interstate 25 south from Kaycee to the TTT Road exit. At TTT Road exit, drive south about 14 miles to Willow Creek Road (County Road 111). Take this road west for about 18 miles to a primitive two-track road which bears north. This is County Road 105, which has a number of livestock gates. •


drive north on State Highway 24 and follow the Robber’s Roost Trail, a 28-mile dirt road for ATV and ORV and four-wheel-drive vehicles only. From the parking area, trails lead into historic sites in the back country, including Butch Cassidy’s cabin and camping area.

In 1843, mountain men Jim Bridger and Louis Vasquez opened a trading post along the Oregon Trail. In the early 1850s, it became a Mormon outpost and then an Army camp in 1858. Visitors can walk along the Oregon Trail at the site, tour restored and reconstructed historical buildings and the museum in the 1888 stone barracks. Every Labor Day Weekend, the annual Fort Bridger Rendezvous brings the park alive with an encampment of re-enactors.

Hanksville, UT • 800-858-7951 /

37000 I-80 Business Loop, Fort Bridger, WY 82933 307-782-3842 •

1517 E 5th St Sheridan, WY 82801 307-673-7121 •

This is the Place Heritage Park

Fort Caspar Museum

South Pass City

A living history village dedicated to the Mormon settlement in Utah, This is the Place Heritage Park commemorates where Brigham Young and his Church of Latter-day Saints pioneers viewed the Salt Lake Valley from the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains at the mouth of Emigrant Canyon. Young declared “this is the place,” and today the location is an interactive history center, where visitors can tour a Pioneer Village of restored and replicated 19th-century homes, buildings and businesses, an Indian Village and ride around the park on two miniature trains.

Originally built in 1865 as Platte Bridge Station, the city of Casper manages the reconstructed fort as a living history museum. Adjacent to the North Platte River and the national emigrant trails, Fort Caspar was an Army camp for just two years before the post was closed and the troops transferred to Fort Fetterman. Rebuilt by the WPA in the 1930s, visitors to the Fort should tour the museum and the fort’s well-furnished complex of historic army facilities and barracks.

2601 Sunnyside Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84108 801-582-1847 •

Wyoming Buffalo Visitors who walk the downtown district of Buffalo, Wyoming, should consider spending the night and dining at the Occidental Hotel, where Owen Wister may have written part of his famous novel, The Virginian. The Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum’s exhibits chronicle local history, including the Johnson County War. Just outside town is the TA Ranch, a historic guest ranch that was the site of a major conflict during the cattle war. Don’t miss Longmire Days every July in celebration of writer Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire mystery novels and television series set in Big Horn Country. 55 N. Main St, Buffalo, WY 82834 800-227-5122 •

Cody Cody, Wyoming, is one of the preeminent Western destinations. Founded as a land venture to attract the railroad near the east entrance of Yellowstone, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody lent his name to the town. Begin your tour by checking into Cody’s Historic Irma Hotel (don’t miss the cherry wood bar given to Cody by Queen Victoria), named after his daughter, and then visiting the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s complex of five museums, library and




200 N David, Casper, WY 82601 307-234-3260 •

Fort Laramie National Historic Site Established in 1834 to serve the transcontinental fur trade, Fort Laramie’s location on the North Platte River and the overland trail assured its role as a military fort, trading post and key stopping point for hundreds of thousands of emigrants traveling to the West. A strategic post during the Plains Indian Wars, Fort Laramie also was a station stop for the Pony Express and Overland Stage. Visitors to the who take the self-guided or guided tour will learn the importance of Fort Laramie to U.S. history until its closure in 1890. 965 Gray Rocks Rd, Fort Laramie, WY 82212 307-837-2221 •

Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site In the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains, the Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site commemorates the ill-fated 1866 fort built on the Bozeman Trail during the Red Cloud War. The fort was burned after the Army abandoned it in 1868. Today, visitors can tour a replica of the fort and take a walking tour of interpretive sites about Red Cloud’s Indian who wiped out Capt. William Fetterman’s entire command of 80 soldiers. 528 Wagon Box Rd, Banner, WY 82832 307-684-7629 •

Hole-in-the-Wall Forty miles southwest from Kaycee in the Big Horn Mountains, the legendary Hole-in-the-Wall outlaw hideaway is managed by the BLM. Outlaws Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch Gang were known to ride through the “hole” in the sandstone wall to

In 1882 John D. Loucks founded Sheridan, which he named in honor of his commanding officer in the Civil War. The gateway city to the Big Horn Mountains and Little Big Horn country of Montana, Sheridan became an economic center for the bi-state region after the railroad arrived in 1892. Today, visitors can stay at the fully restored Sheridan Inn, stroll historic downtown and tour the Brinton, Sheridan County and Bozeman Trail museums.

South Pass City is one of the best preserved mining towns in the state. Gold Rush Days are held every July in the boomtown adjacent to the famous pass through the Rocky Mountains. The town is open to tour, with a small admission fee, May 14 through September 30. Prior to the 1867 gold rush, South Pass was best known as the key crossing point of

Great Reads Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas by Mari Sandoz Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America by T.J. Stiles Give Your Heart to the Hawks by Win Blevins Ride the Wind by Lucia St. Clair Robson The Bloody Bozeman: The Perilous Trail to Montana’s Gold by Dorothy M. Johnson The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Thom Hatch

Classic Films & TV Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Centennial Monte Walsh Shane

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota – LIBRARY OF CONGRESS –


Copyright © Free Vector

Buffalo Bill Museum The Mississippi River town of LeClaire has a rich Western heritage, including being the birthplace of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody on February 26, 1846. The Buffalo Bill Museum has a broad collection that celebrates the region’s history, and the LeClaire’s Famous Sons exhibit. After visiting LeClaire, take a short drive to tour the Buffalo Bill Cody Homestead in Scott County. 200 N Cody Rd, Le Claire, IA 52753 • 563-289-5580 ScottCountyIowa.Com

The Fort Museum & Frontier Village In May 1850, a U.S. soldiers were sent from Minnesota to build a fort on the Des Moines River in Iowa. Fort Dodge was named in honor of Wisconsin Senator Col. Henry Dodge, who in 1833 had founded the 1st U.S. Dragoons. The fort was sold to the post sutler William Williams in 1853, who then platted out the town of Fort Dodge. The Fort Museum & Frontier Village is an interactive history center that honors the town’s role in the settlement of Iowa. 614 9th St, Fort Madison, IA 52627 515-573-4231 •

the Continental Divide for emigrants and travelers on the Overland Trail. Fremont County, WY. T27N/R102W. The Buttes are visible from the BLM interpretive overlook for South Pass located about 47 miles southwest of Lander on State Route 28. •

Yellowstone National Park The nation’s—and world’s—first national park, Yellowstone National Park was created on March 1, 1872, when President Ulysses S. Grant signed it into law. Yellowstone is also one of the largest national parks, at 2,291,791 acres. The first rangers to patrol the park were members of a U.S. Cavalry troop, which in 1877 was called out to protect tourists from Chief Joseph’s Nez Perce warriors. Visit the Albright Visitor Center to learn about the role of the U.S. Cavalry at Yellowstone. Mammoth St, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190 307-344-7381•

Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site Built in 1872, the Wyoming Territorial Prison held the West’s most violent and desperate outlaws (including the notorious Butch Cassidy) during the dramatic time of Wyoming’s federal Territorial days and early statehood. The Wyoming Prison is now a museum, and includes a new exhibit on Butch Cassidy. Visitors can tour the warden’s quarters, the horse barn, prison industries broom factory, visitor center, historic buildings, as well as picnic and enjoy a nature trail. 975 Snowy Range Rd, Laramie, WY 82070 307-745-3733 •

Northern Prairie and Plains Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota

The Northern Prairies and Plains of the West are awe-inspiring in their natural beauty, endless vistas, rolling hills, dense forests and long, winding river valleys. Today, millions of acres of land are planted with grains that feed a world, where tens of millions of bison once roamed and nomadic Indian tribes followed with the seasons. From the legendary shores of Minnesota’s Lake Superior to the mystical Black Hills of South Dakota, from the banks of the Mississippi where William F. Cody was born in the Iowa Territory to the historic earthen lodge Indian villages of North Dakota, visitors to the Northern Prairie and Plains will discover a region rich in history, culture and heritage.

John Wayne Birthplace & Museum On May 27, 1907, Marion Robert Morrison was born in Winterset, the son of Clyde and Mary Brown Morrison. The Iowan from Madison County would grow up to be film star John Wayne. Today, the John Wayne Birthplace & Museum is a destination for the iconic Westerner’s fans worldwide. Tour the museum just off Winterset’s historic town square which was dedicated in 2015, his humble childhood home, and plan on attending the museum’s biggest annual event—the two-day John Wayne Birthday Celebration held every May. 205 John Wayne Dr, Winterset, IA 50273 877-462-1044 •

Golden Spike Monument In 1862 Congress determined that the Union Pacific Railroad Company would start construction on the eastern shore of the Missouri River in Council Bluffs. In 1939, as a promotion for the film Union Pacific, the 56-foot Golden Spike Monument was dedicated in Council Bluffs at Mile Marker Zero of the rail line. When in Council Bluffs, don’t miss the Historic General Dodge House, the Lincoln Monument, the Union Pacific Railroad Museum and the Western Historic Trails Center. 2073-2099 9th Ave, Council Bluffs, IA 51501 712-256-257 •






Minnesota Fort Ridgely State Park Built in 1855 adjacent to the Dakota Sioux Reservation in the Minnesota River Valley, Fort Ridgely played a key role in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Ten years after the war the fort was shuttered and sold. In 1896 a war memorial was built on the site, and in 1911 the state bought the property for a park. Start at the visitors center and tour the interpretive exhibit, which requires a small entrance fee. 72158 County Rd 30, Fairfax, MN 55332 507-426-7840 •

Explore Art & Artifacts of the West at the Petrified Wood Gallery Boot Hill Cowboy Cemetery (Self-Guided Walking Tour)

Lake McConaughy ••• Open Year Round ••• Call 800-658-4390 for a free Visitors Packet. Sponsored by the Keith County Visitors Committee

Old Fort Madison Fort Madison was built along the Mississippi River in 1808, 38 years before Iowa was a state. An outpost until 1813, it is the oldest American fort on the Upper Mississippi, and was attacked by the British during the War of 1812. Old Fort Madison provides an extraordinary historical interpretation of the earliest decades of American transAppalachian history, including annual re-enactment events. 614 9th St, Fort Madison, IA 52627 319-372-6318 •

Sergeant Floyd Monument

Knight Museum and Sandhills Center On the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills. Ne A Railroad town. A Cow-town. An Ag town. A Where history W runs deep. Largest Genealogy Center in Western Nebraska

Building i the h Best B Hometown H in i America T R U E



Sgt. Charles Floyd was the only member of the Corps of Discovery to die on the Lewis and Clark expedition. He died of appendicitis on August 20, 1804, and was buried on a bluff near the river. The Sergeant Floyd Monument, a 100-foot Egyptian-style obelisk above the Missouri River, was dedicated in his honor in 1901. 2601 S Lewis Blvd, Sioux City, IA 51103 800-593-222 • /

Wyatt Earp Home

Grand Portage National Monument Grand Portage National Monument is co-managed with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe-Grand Portage Band, and is the most important national park living history center dedicated to the Old Northwest Euro-American fur trade network. Tours should begin at the visitors center and proceed to the re-created fort on the shore of Lake Superior. Grand Portage’s signature annual event is the Rendezvous Days and Powwow staged the second week of every August. Grand Portage, MN 55605 • 218-475-0123 •

James J. Hill House The James J. Hill House in St. Paul was the largest and most expensive ever built in Minnesota when it was completed in 1891. The Gilded Age mansion remained the railroad baron’s family home until 1925 when his heirs donated it to the Catholic Diocese. The Minnesota Historical Society has owned and managed it as a museum since 1978 and it’s now a National Historic Landmark. 240 Summit Ave, St. Paul, MN 55102 651-297-2555 •

Historic Fort Snelling

The Wyatt Earp Home-Van Spanckeren House is home to the Pella Historical Museum Village, dedicated to the history of the 800 Dutch settlers who founded Pella in 1846. The house’s first-floor apartment was also the childhood home of Wyatt Earp in the early 1860s. Visitors to the museum will learn what life was like for the Earps, who twice lived in Pella between 1849 and 1864.

Historic Fort Snelling brings history to life at the Army outpost first built in 1825. Located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, the U.S. built the outpost to keep the peace in the rich fur trading region of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. Visitors today enjoy touring the exhibits, attending special history programs and walking the grounds of the fort that served the Army until 1946. 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111 612-726-1171 •

507 Franklin St, Pella, IA 50219 • 641-628-2409

Madelia Following the failed robbery of the First National Bank in Northfield on September 7, 1876, the JamesYounger Gang fled southwest and then split up in an

North Dakota



attempt to escape being brought to justice. Two weeks and a 100 miles later, on September 21, 1876, Charlie Pitts and Cole, Jim and Bob Younger were cornered in Hanska Slough outside of Madelia. Each year during the third week of September, the town of Madelia holds a re-enactment of the Younger Brothers’ Capture that celebrates the townspeople’s role in the enthralling saga of the failed Northfield Bank Robbery. 127 W Main St, Madelia, MN 50602 507-642-8822 •

North West Company Fur Post


Four hundred years of infamous outlaws, Spanish exploration and Mexican heritage.

Near Pine City, the Minnesota Historical Society’s North West Company Fur Post brings history alive at the reconstructed 1804 trading center. A museum dedicated to the French voyageur and British fur trade era presents extraordinary exhibits while rangers dressed in period costume conduct educational history programs. A heritage trail on the Snake River is open throughout the year for recreation. 12551 Voyageur Ln, Pine City, MN 55063 320-629-6356 •

Northfield Historic District Founded in 1855, Northfield entered the history books permanently as the legendary site of the James-Younger Gang’s failed robbery of the First National Bank on September 7, 1876. Visitors to Northfield should tour the historic downtown after touring Northfield’s Historical Society and Museum, in the restored original bank building. The annual Defeat of Jesse James Days is held every Labor Day Weekend and is one of the premiere Old West re-enactment events in the region.

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Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce 205 Third St West, Suite B, Northfield, MN 55057 507-645-5604 • /

Pipestone National Monument For 3,000 years, the American Indian stone quarry at Pipestone National Monument has been actively used for making pipes. A monument since 1937, the quarry was saved by the Yankton Sioux tribe of South Dakota and can be used by members of federally recognized American Indian tribes. Tour the visitors center, watch Native pipestone carving demonstrations and walk the Circle Trail to see the most important features of the park. 36 Reservation Ave, Pipestone, MN 56164 507-825-5464 •

North Dakota Camp Hanco*ck State Historic Site Visitors to North Dakota’s state capital, Bismarck, should visit Camp Hanco*ck State Historic Site, dedicated to interpreting local history at the military encampment built to protect the construction crews of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1872. 101 E Main Ave, Bismarck, ND 58501 701-328-2666 •

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South Dakota

South Dakota Badlands National Park

Fort Ambercrombie State Historic Site

Gingras Trading Post State Historic Site

Nicknamed “the Gateway to the Dakotas,” Fort Ambercrombie was the first American fort built in the Dakota Territory in 1858. During the U.S.Dakota War of 1862, the post was under siege for six weeks. Abandoned in 1877, the fort was reconstructed in the 1930s to be an interactive history center, with programs held throughout the year, with most taking place during the summer months.

Near Walhalla in northeastern North Dakota near the Manitoba border, Gingras Trading Post State Historic Site interprets and preserves Antoine Blanc Gingras’s 1840s trading post and home. A Métis fur trader, his restored two-story post and separate home are rare examples of early settlements in the state. Visitors will enjoy the museum in the finely appointed home, and souvenirs of the fur trade can be purchased in the Gingras store.

935 Broadway, Abercrombie, ND 58001 701-553-8513•

12882 129th Ave NE, Walhalla, ND 58282 701-549-2775 •

Fort Buford State Historic Site

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

Near the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers, Fort Buford was constructed in 1866 as a key Army supply depot to support the Northern Plains campaigns. In service for 29 years, Fort Buford is best known as the 1881 surrender site of Sitting Bull. Across the Missouri River from Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Fort Buford offers visitors an opportunity to walk into the past of frontier North Dakota. 15349 39th Ln NW, Williston, ND 58801 701-572-9034 •

For 500 years, the Knife River Indian Villages were the traditional home of the Hidatsa people, and later the Mandan and Arikira. They were a major Native tribal trading center on the Missouri River for centuries before the arrival of Europeans. In the 1750s a fur trading center was established. Tour the visitors center to learn about the role of the Upper Missouri tribes in North American history. Trails lead from the headquarters to culturally important and fragile village sites preserved in the park.

Fort Totten State Historic Site

564 County Rd 37, Stanton, ND 58571 701-745-3300 •

On the banks of Devils Lake, Fort Totten State Historic Site stands as a testament to frontier, military and Indian life in the Dakota Territory after the Civil War. Built in 1868-’73 as a key outpost adjacent to the Devils Lake Sioux Reservation, the fort was converted to an Indian school in 1890. Visitors can tour many of the original buildings, including the commissary storehouse, which houses the Fort Totten Interpretive Center.

Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park

A major living history center along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, Fort Union Trading Post was built in 1826 at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. An international trading center, Fort Union was a crossroads of history for four decades, serving most of the famed mountain men and Indian tribes of the era. Every summer the park hosts events with re-enactors in period dress, including the Fort Union Rendezvous.

Among the most beautiful—and entertaining— places in North Dakota are the inexorably connected restored historic village of Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Every summer the town of Medora comes alive as the community celebrates the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt at the Medora Musical. Frenchman Marquis de Mores founded the town in 1883 and named it for his wife. The Marquis’s settlement also attracted another New Yorker, Teddy Roosevelt, who built a cattle ranch nearby in 1883. Roosevelt’s experiences in the Dakota Territory would forever shape his life and political career, and the adjacent national park encompasses the land he so loved. There are three units to the park: North (near Watford City), Elkhorn Ranch (Roosevelt’s ranch), and South (adjacent to Medora). The south unit’s scenic drive, many pullouts and trails provide visitors a beautiful overview of the park and opportunities to see wildlife, including bison.

15550 Hwy 1804, Williston, ND 58801 701-572-9083 •

330 Pacific Ave, Medora 58645 701-623-4830 • /

SE edge of Fort Totten, ND, 13 miles SE of Devils Lake • 701-328-2666 •

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site

The wild, windswept Badlands National Park is 244,000 acres of buttes and ridgelines that have eroded over millions of years. Enjoy the Badlands Loop Road, with its pullouts, interpretive signs, endless vistas and wildlife. Stop at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center to learn the story of the Badlands and stay at the Cedar Pass Lodge. Want to visit the neighboring Pine Ridge Reservation? Stop at the White River Visitor Center, which is staffed by the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority. 25214 Ben Reifel Pl, Interior, SD 57750 605-433-5361 •

Black Hills Legendary and sacred, the Black Hills of western South Dakota remain as magnificent as they are mysterious, a premier Old West destination with thousands of years of history, innumerable trails to follow deep into its wild mountains and home to four of the most significant sites in the West: Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, Mt. Rushmore National Memorial and Wind Cave National Park. Whether you camp, stay at a historic lodge, guest ranch or inn, a visit to the Black Hills will inspire the Western traveler to come back many times to see the bison herd in Custer State Park, gaze upon the visages carved in granite at Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse, and walk deep in the sacred earth at Wind River Cave. 1851 Discovery Cir, Rapid City, SD 57701 605-355-3700 •

Great Reads Hugh Glass: Grizzly Survivor by James D. McLaird James J. Hill: Empire Builder of the Northwest by Michael P. Malone The Female Frontier: A Comparative View of Women on the Prairie and the Plains by Glenda Riley The Life and Times of an American Patriot: Sitting Bull by Robert M. Utley They Called Him Wild Bill: The Life and Adventures of James Butler Hickok by Joseph G. Rosa

Classic Films & TV Deadwood Little House on the Prairie Man in the Wilderness




The Revenant

Homesteaders and Sod House, Custer County, Nebraska – PHOTO BY SOLOMON BUTCHER, COURTESY OF LIBRARY OF CONGRESS –

Southern Prairie and Plains Copyright © Free Vector

Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska

Deadwood and Lead The epicenter of the Gold Rush of 1874-’76 that transformed the Black Hills, Deadwood was founded to supply the rush of miners everything they needed to survive: supplies, saloons and soiled doves. Visitors who walk the streets of Deadwood today should start at the visitors center in the restored railroad station for a map of the city, directions to local museums, daily events, historic sites and the Mt. Moriah Cemetery, where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried side by side. After touring Deadwood, drive up the mountain to tour the historic gold mining town of Lead. 501 Main St, Deadwood, SD 57732 • 800-344-8826 160 W Main St, Lead, SD 57754 • 605-584-1100 /

Devil’s Gulch Park On September 7, 1876, the James-Younger Gang was thwarted in their attempt to rob the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota. With multiple posses chasing them west out of Minnesota, the gang split up. Legend has it that soon after crossing into South Dakota, near Garretson, Jesse was separated from Frank, and while pursued, he avoided capture by leaping the 20-foot chasm of Devil’s Gulch. 5th St & North Central Ave, Garretson, SD 57030

Fort Pierre Chouteau Site In the 1830s, the American Fur Company had Frenchman Pierre Chouteau build a fort to serve the region, quickly becoming one of the most important trading posts on the Upper Missouri. After visiting the Fort Pierre Choteau Site, tour the Vérendrye Museum and the Vérendrye Site, where French explorer Pierre Gaultier De La Vérendrye placed a lead plate in 1743 claiming the Mississippi River drainage for France. After

Fort Pierre, cross the Missouri River to Pierre and tour the State Capitol complex and the South Dakota Museum/Cultural Center. About one mile north of Fort Pierre off SD Hwy 1806 on Fort Chouteau Rd • South Dakota Historical Society 605-773-3458 • /

Ingalls Homestead The Charles and Caroline Ingalls Homestead near DeSmet was started in 1880 after Laura Ingalls’s family moved temporarily to the town in 1879. Readers of Wilder’s books will recognize it from her book By the Shores of Silver Lake. Laura married Almanzo Wilder in 1885. Today, visitors can tour a one-room schoolhouse, take a covered wagon ride, participate in hands-on crafts and pony-cart rides. Camping at the homestead can even be enjoyed in a covered wagon. 20812 Homestead Rd, De Smet, SD 57231 800-776-3594 •

Wounded Knee Massacre Memorial The Wounded Knee Massacre Memorial Site on the Pine Ridge Reservation is a very solemn place. Visitors to the memorial should start at the Oglala Lakota College Historical Center (open June-August, Monday-Saturday). Proceed to the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce in Kyle for information on visiting Wounded Knee (inquire about a guided tours). Afterwards, tour the Journey Museum & Learning Center in Rapid City, home to the Sioux Indian Museum, the SD Archeological Research Center and the Minnilusa Pioneer Museum to experience a broader understanding of culture and history in the region and state. Wounded Knee, SD 57794 • 605-867-2228 / / / JourneyMuseum

The Southern Prairie and Plains states should be considered the gateway states to the West. From the lesser-known trails to Texas and Oklahoma from Louisiana and Arkansas to the great epicenters of national trail history in St. Louis, Independence and St. Joseph, Missouri, the trails offer heritage travelers historic routes for transcontinental trips from Missouri on National Historic Trails as far away as Santa Fe, New Mexico, Sacramento, California, and Astoria, Oregon. In Kansas and Nebraska respectively, the vistas of the Great Plains inspire visitors to follow the famous Santa Fe and Oregon Trails westward, while inviting tourists to stop and explore the historic sites associated with the great cattle drives and military Indian War campaigns. Travel in the Southern Prairie and Plains region ties together the national story of the Trans-Appalachian West with the Trans-Mississippi West and how the competing empires of Spain, France, Great Britain and the United States vied to wrestle control of North America from the indigenous American Indian tribes.

Arkansas Fort Smith Belle Grove Historic District Belle Grove, one of the most significant historic districts in Arkansas, is a 22-block area of homes dating back 130 years adjacent to Fort Smith National Historic Site and the Arkansas River. Four homes are open for public tour: The Clayton House, McKibben-Bonneville House, Fort Smith Art Center and the Darby House. Fort Smith CVB: 2 North B St, Fort Smith, AR 72901 479-783-8888 •

Arkansas T R U E




historic structures and sites, including the Gallows, Commissary and Trail of Tears National Historic Trail Overlook. Fort Smith CVB: 2 North B St, Fort Smith, AR 72901 479-783-8888 •

Historic Washington State Park Fort Smith National Historic Site In the annals of American Trans-Mississippi history, Fort Smith, founded in 1817, was an important gateway city to the West. While Missouri’s St. Louis, Independence and St. Joseph receive more attention in the history books, Fort Smith’s role in the development and settlement of Western territories, including Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, must be considered. The National Park Service’s Fort Smith National Historic Site is one of the largest, best-preserved interpretive centers of a historic 19th-century federal post west of the Mississippi. Tours should begin at the Visitor Center in the fort’s former barracks/courthouse/ prison. Fort Smith may have been best known as the court of Judge Isaac Parker, the hanging judge. Visitors can tour the 37-acre grounds of Fort Smith on a 1.4-mile self-guided tour of all the key

Founded on George Washington’s birthday in 1824, Washington, Arkansas, is a National Register of Historic Places site, and one of the best preserved Southern villages west of the Mississippi River. Historic Washington State Park includes 30 preserved and restored architecturally important buildings constructed between 1824 and 1900. Numerous exhibits and collections can be enjoyed in the buildings open to the public, with re-enactors acting as hosts and guides. Start at the Visitor Center and inquire about programs, activities and tours of the historic town. 103 Franklin St, Washington, AR 71862 870-983-2625 •

Pea Ridge National Military Park Known as the “battle that saved Missouri for the Union,” Pea Ridge National Military Park preserves and interprets across 4,300 acres one of the most significant, and lesser-known major engagements Stop. Play. Stay.

KEARNEY visitors bureau NEBRASKA





of the Civil War in northwestern Arkansas. On a late winter day, March 27, 1862, 26,000 Union and Confederate soldiers clashed in one of the wars’ largest Western battles. When the smoke cleared, the Federal forces had thwarted the Southern army from taking control of northern Arkansas and advancing into Missouri. Begin a tour at the Visitor Center’s museum, where visitors can sign up for guided tours in the summer. One of the best ways to see the battle is to drive the park’s interpretive loop, but the park also has walking and horse trails. Contact the park for a schedule of re-enactments and events. 15930 E Hwy 62, Garfield, AR 72732 479-451-8122 •

Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park The Battle of Prairie Grove was significant in the history of the Western Theater of the Civil War. One of the most intact battlefields of the War Between the States, Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park preserves the site that left 2,700 dead or wounded in northwest Arkansas on December 7, 1862. Visitors may need more than one day to walk the battlefield trail, take the driving tour, visit historic Ozark Village and tour the park’s museum and visitor center in Hindman Hall. A biennial event, the Battle of Prairie Grove Re-enactment will be

held 5-17, 2018. Inquire with the park for more information. 506 E Douglas St, Prairie Grove, AR 72753 479-846-2990 •

Kansas Condon Bank Building Rivaling the James-Younger Gang’s failed bank robbery in Northfield, Minnesota, is the Dalton Gang’s disastrous attempt to rob two banks, C.M. Condon and First National, simultaneously in Coffeyville, Kansas, on October 5, 1892. Convenient for visitors to Coffeyville, the area’s Chamber of Commerce is located in the original site of the C.M. Condon Bank, the 1871 Perkins Building, in the city’s historic district. The chamber is open Monday to Friday and the bank vault, tellers’ area and lobby can be seen as they were on that fateful day. From the Perkins Building, take a walking tour of the district to the Dalton Defenders Museum. The graves of Bob and Grat Dalton and Bill Powers can be visited in Coffeyville’s Elmwood Cemetery. 807 Walnut, Coffeyville, KS 67337 • 620-251-5500 /

Constitution Hall The history of Kansas is inexorably tied to both the development of America’s expansion westward to

the Southwest, Great Plains and the Northwest, and to the national political debate on the abolition of slavery and the Civil War. Historic Lecompton should be on everyone’s tour of key heritage sites related to the Kansas-Missouri Border War. Constitution Hall was built in 1856 and is where the Kansas Territorial government first convened and wrote a pro-slavery constitution. After two years of conflict with Kansas anti-slavery factions, the seat of power was wrested from Lecompton’s leaders and moved to Lawrence. Visit Constitution Hall, the Territorial Capital Museum or its website for information on a self-guided tour of the historic city. 319 Elmore St, Lecompton, KS 66050 785-887-6520 •

Dodge City “The Queen of the Cow Towns,” Dodge City’s iconic status stands equally with that of Deadwood, Lincoln and Tombstone. A tour of Dodge City should begin at the Visitor Information Center for an orientation and guide to the city. Take the Historic Trolley Tour (Memorial Weekend to Labor Day), pick up a map of the Dodge City Trail of Fame and visit the internationally acclaimed Boot Hill Museum. Boot Hill is known for its outstanding exhibits on frontier Kansas history, firearms, gambling, buffalo hunters and the Wild West era of cattle drives. Visitors will enjoy walking amongst the historical interpreters and watching gunfight

re-enactments on Front Street and the Variety Show in the Long Branch Saloon. While in Dodge City, don’t miss a visit to the Gunfighters Wax Museum, and the Wild West Heritage Foundation’s Buffalo and Longhorn Exhibit. 620-225-8186 •

Fort Hays State Historic Site First constructed in 1866, Fort Hays served the strategic needs of the U.S. Army in Western Kansas at three different sites until it was decommissioned in 1889. Commanders included Nelson Miles and Phil Sheridan, and was garrisoned by the 5th Infantry, 7th Cavalry and 10th Cavalry regiments, the latter a unit of Buffalo Soldiers. From 1867 until 1869, Maj. Gen. Sheridan and Lt. Col. George A. Custer were headquartered at Fort Hays in their war with the Southern Cheyenne and Kiowa people. Visitors will enjoy regularly scheduled re-enactment events, rangers in period dress, a museum and walking tours of the parade ground and four historic buildings. 1472 U.S. Hwy 183 Alt, Hays, KS 67601 785-272-8681 •

Fort Larned National Historic Site The Army troops posted at Fort Larned were known as “the guardians of the Santa Fe Trail.” Built in 1859, the outpost’s buildings were constructed of


A Clash of Cultures – and a Clash of Wills

In what is now northeast Hutchinson County, Texas just north of the Canadian River, is a crossing point that is known as Adobe Walls – a name given to two trading posts built there by brothers William and Charles Bent with Ceran St. Vrain. They built Adobe Walls in 1843 to trade with the Kiowa and Comanche tribes and westward migrants on the nearby Santa Fe Trail. Fort Adobe was abandoned in 1849, but due to the location on the Canadian River, the site was well-known and frequented by travelers before and after Fort Adobe. Generations of pioneers were familiar with the area and found water, game, wood and refuge at this outpost on then-mighty Canadian River.

Combatants of the Battle of 1864

On November 26, 1864, the first of two famous battles took place there. The battle was fought and was of little consequence other than the fact that Indian fighter Kit Carson was a participant and in command of the U. S. Army troops that fought the battle. Carson’s men attacked a Kiowa village there, then moved west to Adobe Walls, which he knew from his time as a buffalo hunter years earlier. He knew the ruins would provide shelter from the Indian attacks. Sporadic attacks occurred throughout the day, but the Indians had never seen the firepower of Carson’s Howitzer cannons and were disconcerted by them. Carson ordered a “strategic retreat” during the nights of the 26th and 27th that is still recognized by modern-day cavalry officers as one of the best examples of that type of military maneuver. Carson’s force lost 6 with 25 wounded.Indian forces were estimated to have lost between 100 and 150. Ten years later, Charles Rath and Robert Wright (Rath & Co.) invested about $50,000.00 to stock their new store before leaving Dodge City, Kansas to establish a trading post at Adobe Walls. Charles Meyers & Fred Leonard (Meyers & Leonard) spent close to $40,000.00 on merchandise to provision their new business. Enormous investments Combatants of the for the time, just getting the goods to Adobe Walls was very risky. The Battle of danger of attack by Indians was great and moving freight 200 miles 1874 to the site of their new business venture was a huge task. The new trading post was big. Within two months, 50,000 buffalo hides were stacked in the camp. The enterprise was a risk. The men 618 N. Main Street knew the local Indians would be offended but they didn’t the Borger, Texas 79007 806 • 273 • 0130 extent of the insult caused by their presence in Indian territory. - Fri 9am - 5pm On June 27th, 1874 as many as 1,200 braves attacked the hunters at Open Tues Sat 1pm - 4:30 the post. They fought to a draw. The battle lasted for three days and Free Admission is one of the largest Indian battles in Texas history. t r u e


w e st

Louisiana Chalmette Battlefield Site

native quarried sandstone, the reason Fort Larned National Historic Site remains one of the best-preserved Western outposts in the United States. Fort Larned is a living history center, with rangers and docents in period dress providing daily and monthly educational programs about life at a frontier Army post. Guided tours held MaySeptember of the best way to learn the history of Fort Larned.

On January 9, 1815, General Andrew Jackson led U.S. forces over the British in a resounding victory to end the War of 1812 at Chalmette Battlefield Site (Battle of Orleans), now Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Visitors to the national park can walk the field of battle and learn how Jackson’s victory changed the course of history for the United States and the world. Tour the informative museum at the Battlefield’s Visitor Center before enjoying the self-guided tour and visit to the Chalmette Monument, a 100-foot obelisk with 122 interior steps to the top. A unique way to visit the park is by the Creole Queen paddlewheeler from New Orleans’ French Quarter; inquire with the park for information.

1767 Kansas 156, Larned, KS 67550 620-285-6911 •

8606 W St Bernard Hwy, Chalmette, LA 70043 504-281-0510 •

Old Abilene Town

Confederate Memorial Hall Museum

Abilene was founded in 1857, but it was the arrival of the Kansas Pacific Railway in 1867 that transformed Abilene into the legendary town at the end of the Chisholm Trail from Texas. Old Abilene Town is dedicated to promoting and preserving the colorful and popular heritage of the “wickedest and wildest” cow town of all the Kansas cow towns. Visitors to Old Abilene Town will enjoy re-enactors in period costume, gunfight re-enactments, special events and stagecoach and steam engine rides. Three other notable museums not to miss when visiting Abilene, Kansas: Dickinson County Heritage Center, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home and the Historic Seelye Mansion.

The influence of the Southern United States and the Confederacy on the settlement, politics and war in the American West is a critical part of the story of 19th-century America. Opened in 1891 in New Orleans’s Warehouse District, the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum is dedicated to honoring Southern history.


100 SE 5th St, Abilene, KS 67410 • 785-479-0952 /

Medicine Lodge Treaty Site The Medicine Lodge Treaty Site National Historic Landmark in Kansas is as important as Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming in understanding how the United States government negotiated with the Plains Indian tribes for land ownership and rights in the 19th-century settlement and conquest of the Indian Nations West. The historic importance of the three treaties is honored every two years by the Medicine Lodge Treaty Association at the Medicine Lodge Treaty Indian Summer Days. Medicine Lodge Indian Peace Treaty Association P. O. Box 194, 103 E Washington Medicine Lodge, KS 67104 • 620-886-9815




929 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130 504-523-4522 •

The 1850 House In New Orleans’s Jackson Square, the 1850 House museum is dedicated to the family history of Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, whose father, Don Andres Almonester y Roxas, funded the construction of St. Louis Cathedral. The Upper and Lower Pontalba Buildings are considered the oldest apartment houses in the nation. The museum has re-created one of the residences to mirror middle class life in antebellum New Orleans. 523 St. Ann St, New Orleans, 70116 504-524-9118 •

Zachary Taylor as a key American outpost between the Red and Sabine rivers in 1822. 155 Rue Jefferson, Natchitoches, LA 71457 318-357-3101 • /

Spring Street Historical Museum The Shreve Town Company founded Shreveport to develop a town at the crossroads of the Texas Trail and the Red River in 1836. The development led to the opening of the river as a navigable waterway for steamships with the clearing of the Red River’s infamous Great Raft logjam. The Spring Street Historical Museum exhibits provide an informative and educational window into the history of the Louisiana city which served as a gateway to the West. 525 Spring St, Shreveport, LA 71101 318-424-0964 •

Missouri Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse Building St. Louis’s Gateway Arch, an internationally recognized landmark of the “Gateway City,” is the centerpiece of the city’s historic district. Currently, the Museum of Westward Expansion, located under the Gateway Arch is closed for major renovations, and visitors wanting to visit the Arch should go to the Old Courthouse Ticket Center. The Old Courthouse is one of the most significant historical sites in Missouri, with several galleries dedicated to St. Louis’s history, and the river city’s role in Westward Expansion and Southern history. 11 N 4th St, St Louis, MO 63102 314-655-1700 • /

Independence Historic District The original trailhead of the Santa Fe Trail, historic Independence on the Missouri River remains one of the most important and influential frontier cities that shaped America’s expansion West. Start your visit to Independence at the Visitor Experience Center and then take a self-guided walking tour of Independence Square. While in Independence be

Fort St. Jean Baptiste Historic Site The French were in Natchitoches in west-central Louisiana trading with local Indians as early as 1699. The trading post on the Red River was founded in 1714 and Natchitoches was the oldest city in the Louisiana Purchase. The Fort St. Jean Baptiste Historic Site reconstructs the French fort built in defense of the Spanish Empire. When in the area, don’t miss a tour of historic Natchitoches, and the nearby Fort Jesup State Historic Site, built under the leadership Lt. Col.


sure to see where Frank James was incarcerated at the 1859 Jail & Marshal’s Home; visit the National Frontier Trails Museum; and schedule a covered wagon tour with Pioneer Trails Adventures. 112 W Lexington, Independence, MO 64050 816-325-7890 •

James Farm Until 1978, the James Farm was owned by descendants of the famed outlaw Jesse James. Today, the historic site in Kearney, Missouri, is a Clay County Museum dedicated to the James Family, the history of the region, the Border War and the Jesse and Frank James years as outlaws. The Visitors Center and Museum is in the restored 19th-century family home. 21216 Jesse James Farm Rd, Kearney, MO 64060 816-736-8500 •

Jesse James Home/ Patee House Museum Located on the grounds of the Patee House Museum stands the Jesse James Home, where the famous outlaw was shot and killed by Robert Ford on April 3, 1882. The Patee House was built as a hotel in 1858, was the headquarters for the Pony Express in 1860-’61 and was occupied by the Union Army during the Civil War. A National Historic Landmark, the Patee House has a superior collection of exhibitions dedicated to 19th-century Missouri life. The Jesse James House has an exhibit on Jesse James’s life in St. Joseph and his grave. 1202 Penn St, St. Joseph, MO 64503 816-232-8206 •

Mark Twain Historic District Walk the streets of historic Hannibal and a visitor can imagine a young Samuel Clemens growing up in the town and playing by the the Mississippi River. Start at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, which includes eight historic properties, for a complete immersion into the real life of Twain. Tour the Mark Twain Interpretive Center and discover how the great American author transformed his own life and friends into the imaginary lives of his novel’s fictional characters. Two tours not to miss: Mark Twain Cave and the Mark Twain Riverboat cruise on the Mississippi. 120 N Main St, Hannibal, MO 63401 573-221-9010 /

St. Joseph Historic District Known best as the trailhead for the Pony Express, St. Joseph’s historic district will inspire the imagination and remind visitors of the importance of Missouri’s western frontier towns to American history. Begin tours of historic St. Joseph at the Pony Express Museum, followed by a visit to the extraordinary St. Joseph Museum, with its extensive displays on the culture and history of the region, including American Indian and Civil War exhibitions. Also,

Visit Cochise Stronghold in the Land of Legends, home of the Chiricahua Apaches 800-200-2272 T R U E




Old West

don’t miss the Patee House Museum, Jesse James Home, Robidoux Row Museum and Pony Express Monument.

Oregon Trail. Chimney Rock is managed by the Nebraska Historical Society and includes a Visitor Center Museum.

St. Joseph CVB, 109 South 4th St St. Joseph, MO 64501 800-785-0360 •

Chimney Rock Trail, Bayard, NE 69334 308-586-2581 •

Westport Landing

Fort Kearny State Historical Park preserves and promotes the history of the U.S. Army’s role in protecting the Overland Trails along the Platte River in central Nebraska. Founded in 1848, Fort Kearny served the region until 1871. In 1928, the Fort Kearny Historical Society bought 40 acres for a park and rebuilt key structures: the stockade, powder magazine, carpenter-blacksmith shop and the parade grounds. The park has an interpretive center and hosts living history events throughout the year.

While St. Louis, Independence and St. Joseph receive more attention from historians—and have more historic sites associated with the Western trails—Westport Landing was actually the site that wagon trains and wagon train bosses preferred for many years to prepare and provision for the transcontinental journey to Oregon or Santa Fe. Visit the Harris-Kearney House Museum managed by the Westport Historical Society in the Kansas City suburb of Westport and learn about life in the 19th-century frontier town and its role in the development of the West. 4050 Pennsylvania Ave, Suite M100, Kansas City, MO 64111 • 816-531-4370

Nebraska Buffalo Bill State Historical Park

new adventures

Buffalo Bill State Historical Park preserves Scout’s Rest Ranch, the home of the great Western showman William F. “Buffalo Bill.” Cody first began ranching in the area in 1877 and began building a major farm and ranch operation in North Platte in 1878. A major enterprise, the Nebraska ranch was home to Cody and his family for many years. He owned the property until 1911. The park includes the Cody House and barn. The ranch is also noted as the place Cody debuted his Wild West show, known as the Old Glory Blowout, in 1882. 2921 Scouts Rest Ranch Rd North Platte, NE 69101 308-535-8035 •

Chimney Rock National Historic Site

The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce

A landmark for travelers in the North Platte River Valley for chimney rock in the Sand Hills of western Nebraska, is today protected as Chimney Rock National Historic Site. The unique geological site is just east of Scotts Bluff, another significant landmark in the area. Explorers, fur trappers and emigrants used the landmarks to guide them as they traveled the

Fort Kearny State Historical Park

1020 V Rd, Kearney, NE 68845 308-865-5305 •

Fort Robinson State Park Fort Robinson State Park is one of the most historically significant—and largest—state parks in Nebraska. Near Crawford, with dozens of historical buildings and museums on site, Fort Robinson encompasses 22,000 acres, with numerous houses and camping spots for rent. Fort Robinson was founded in 1874 and served the Army until 1947. Fort Robinson was involved in critical events of the Great Sioux War, including as the site where Crazy Horse surrendered and was later killed, the Dull Knife breakout of the Northern Cheyenne and the Fort Robinson Massacre. Soldier Creek Rd., Crawford, NE 69339 308-665-2900 •

Homestead National Monument of America The Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska, honors the history of homesteading and the men, women and families who staked so much on 160-acre homesteads with the hope of building an independent life and future. Tours should begin at the Heritage Center, which has an excellent museum, followed up by an outdoor tour of the park, including the Education Center, Palmer-Epard Cabin and Freeman School. 8523 NE-4, Beatrice, NE 68310 402-223-3514 •

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park Rock Creek Station State Historical Park is the site of the stagecoach station where James Butler




“Wild Bill” Hickok had his shootout with Dave McCanles. Working as a stock boy, Hickok fueded with the local McCanles ending with Wild Bill’s enemy dead, and beginning a Western legend’s career as a gunfighter. 57426 710th Rd, Fairbury, NE 68352 402-729-5777 •

Scotts Bluff National Monument Scotts Bluff National Monument is dedicated to interpreting the culture, heritage and history of Scotts Bluff and the North Platte River Valley. During the early 19th-century, European and American fur trappers plied the paths along the North Platte to and from the West, marking a key trail that would guide the way West for successive generations of emigrants. Tours of the park should start indoors at the Visitor Center, but the strength of the monument is in its numerous trails, including the Oregon Trail Pathway and the North and South Overlook. 190276 Old Oregon Trail, Gering, NE 69341 308-436-9700 •

Great Reads Cowboy’s Lament: A Life on the Open Range by Frank Maynard Jackson, Crockett and Houston on the American Frontier: From Fort Mims to the Alamo, 1813-1836 by Paul William Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad by David Howard Bain Isaac C. Parker: Federal Justice on the Frontier by Michael J. Brodhead Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier by Joanna L. Stratton Wagons West: The Epic Story of America’s Overland Trails by Frank McLynn

Classic Films & TV The Big Trail How the West was Won The Homesman The Outlaw Josie Wales Wyatt Earp

The Heart of the Big Bend Country

Study Butte/Terlingua is located three miles from the park entrance. We offer five motels, Airbnb’s, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, post office, bank, craft and art galleries, gift shops and night life.Check our web site’s for special activities throughout the year.

Big Bend Chamber of Commerce and Visit Big Bend: or




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ROCK ISLAND PREMIERE FIREARMS AUCTION Online, December 1-3: Collectible weapons are up for bid by the world’s leading auction house for historical firearms and military artifacts. 800-238-8022 • HOLIDAY


CHRISTMAS IN OLD DODGE CITY Dodge City, KS, December 1-25: This 1872 cowtown celebrates with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, a chili cook-off, and light parade. 800-653-9378 • CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE Canyon, TX, December 1: History re-enactors open up Pioneer Town for an 1890s holiday celebration featuring live music and storytelling. 806-651-2244 • COWBOY CAPITAL CHRISTMAS Bandera, TX, December 1-2: The self-proclaimed “Cowboy Capital of the World” celebrates with a parade, living nativity, and re-enactments. 800-364-3833

HOLIDAY TROLLEY TOUR OF LIGHTS AT LIED LODGE Nebraska City, NE, weekends December 1-31: Climb aboard the Arbor Day Farm trolley for a tour of Historic Nebraska City and a show of Christmas lights. 800-546-5433 • SANTA’S NORTH POLE ADVENTURE Georgetown, CO, December 1-31: Enjoy hot cocoa, cookies, and candy canes with Santa and his helpers aboard decorated train coaches. 888-456-6777 • WICKENBURG COWBOY CHRISTMAS POETRY GATHERING Wickenburg, AZ, December 1-2: Visit the western town of Wickenburg for a festive holiday celebration of cowboy poetry and song. 928-684-5479 • CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT Grand Island, NE, December 2 & 9: This lamp-lit tour of Railroad Town offers live music in a festive celebration of the spirit of Christmas. 308-385-5316

CHRISTMAS AT THE CODY’S North Platte, NE, December 8–23: Celebrate the holidays in Buffalo Bill Cody’s 1886 mansion, featuring caroling and horse-drawn rides. 308-535-0835 •




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CHRISTMAS AT OLD FORT CONCHO San Angelo, TX, December 1-3: This 1867 fort celebrates the different cultures of Texas with living history and 1800s holiday entertainment. 325-657-4441 •

Related to Outlaws My mother hated it when I would proudly tell everyone we were related to outlaws, like “Black Jack” Ketchum, John Wesley Hardin and “Big Foot” Wallace. At the time I couldn’t understand why, but since then I have learned that a typical Westerner will punch you in the mouth if you call his daddy a crook, but he will puff out a little when telling you about his grandfather being an outlaw.

COWBOYS ON MAIN Bandera, TX, December 2-30: Strolling entertainers and history re-enactors bring frontier Christmas to life in front of the county courthouse. 830-796-4447 • FRONTIER CHRISTMAS AT SHARLOT HALL Prescott, AZ, December 2: Living history actors recount what Christmas was like in the territorial past. 928-445-3122 • HIGH PLAINS CHRISTMAS Gering, NE, December 2: This High Plains holiday gathering features hay rides, marshmallow roasts, and bonfire cowboy coffee. 308-436-1989 •

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BAR D WRANGLERS CHRISTMAS JUBILEE Durango, CO, December 14: Country crooners perform their traditional Christmas show with Western music, poetry, and humor. 970-247-3500 •

WICKENBURG CHRISTMAS PARADE OF LIGHTS Wickenburg, AZ, December 8: Colorfully-lit floats parade through the streets while Santa and Mrs. Claus ride through historic downtown. 928-684-5479 • PRESCOTT COURTHOUSE CHRISTMAS PARADE & LIGHTING Prescott, AZ, December 2: “Arizona’s Christmas City” kicks off the holidays with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and a visit from Santa Claus. 928-777-1100 • COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS PARADE Pecos, TX, December 3: Watch a Christmas parade with brightly decorated floats and live music, in the town that boasts hosting the world’s first rodeo in 1883. 432-445-2406 • LIGHT OF THE WORLD CHRISTMAS PAGEANT Minden, NE, December 3 & 10: Minden celebrates “102 Years of Lights” with 15,000 lights strung throughout downtown. 308-832-1811 • COUNTRY CHRISTMAS Las Vegas, NV, December 7-17: More than 400 vendors, exhibitors and retailers have their finest Cowboy Christmas gifts on display. 817-599-7664 • CHRISTMAS LIGHT PARADE & LIGHTING OF THE HISTORIC COURTHOUSE LUMINARIES Tombstone, AZ, December 9: Luminaries surrounding the courthouse are lit as the Christmas parade moves through the town and ends within sight of the historic building. 520-457-9317 • FORT LARNED CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE Larned, KS, December 9: Travel back to Fort Larned in 1859 for an old-fashioned Yuletide celebration with Christmas carols and hot cider. 620-285-6911 • ROD EO S

WRANGLER NATIONAL FINALS RODEO Las Vegas, NV, December 7-16: Fifteen contestants compete for titles in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping and more. 702-260-8605 •

View Western events on our website. T R U E



WHILE THEY LAST! Complete Your Collection 2000 o o o o o o o o o o


Jan: Buffalo Bill Mar: Richard Farnsworth May: Samuel Walker Jun: Frontier Half-Bloods Jul: Billy & the Kids Aug: John Wayne Sep: Border Breed Oct: Halloween Issue Nov: Apache Scout Dec: Mountain Men

o o o o o o o o o o

Jan/Feb: Rare Photos Mar: Deadwood/McShane Apr: 77 Sunset Trips May: Trains/Collector’s Edition Jun: Jesus Out West Jul: All Things Cowboy Aug: History of Western Wear Sep: Gambling Oct: Blaze Away/Wyattt Nov/Dec: Gay Western? Killer DVDs

o o o o o o o o o o

Jan/Feb: Mexican Insurgents Mar: Kit Carson Apr: I’ve Been Everywhere, Man May: The Racial Frontier Jun: Playing Sports in the OW Jul/Aug: Dude! Where’s My Ranch? Sep: Indian Yell Oct: Tombstone/125th Ok Corral Nov: Gambling Dec: Buffalo Gals & Guys

o o o o o o o o o o

Jan/Feb: Cowboys Are Indians Mar: Trains/Jim Clark Apr: Western Travel May: Dreamscape Desperado/Billy Jun: Collecting the West/Photos Jul: Man Who Saved The West Aug: Western Media/Best Reads Sep: Endurance Of The Horse Oct: 3:10 To Yuma Nov/Dec: Brad Pitt & Jesse James

o o o o o o o o

Jan/Feb: Pat Garrett/No Country Mar: Who Killed the Train? Apr: Travel/Geronimo May: Who Stole Buffalo Bill’s Home? Jun: The Last Cowboy President? Jul: Secrets of Our Nat’l Parks/Teddy Aug: Kendricks Northern CBs/Photos Sep: Saloons & Stagecoaches



o Jan: Topless Gunfighter o May/Jun: Custer o Jul: Cowboys & Cowtowns

2002 o Aug/Sep: Jesse James o Oct: Billy On The Brain o Nov/Dec: Butch & Sundance

2003 o Jan: 50 Historical Photos o Feb/Mar: 50 Guns o Apr: John Wayne o Spring: Jackalope Creator Dies o May/Jun: Custer Killer o Jul: Doc & Wyatt o Aug/Sep: A General Named Dorothy o Oct: Vera McGinnis o Nov/Dec: Worst Westerns Ever

2004 o o o o o o o o o o

Jan/Feb: Six Guns Mar: Fakes/Fake Doc April/Travel: Visit the Old West May:Iron Horse/Sacred Dogs Jun: HBO’s Deadwood Jul: 17 Legends Aug: JW Hardin Sep: Wild Bunch Oct: Bill Pickett Nov/Dec: Dale Evans



o Oct: Charlie Russell o Nov/Dec: Mickey Free

2009 o o o o o o o o o o

Jan/Feb: Border Riders Mar: Poncho Villa Apr: Stagecoach May: Battle For The Alamo Jun: Custer’s Ride To Glory Jul: Am West, Then & Now Aug: Wild West Shows Sep: Vaquero/500 Yrs Before CBs Oct: Capturing Billy Nov/Dec: Chaco Canyon

o o o o o o o o o o

Jan/Feb: Top 10 Western Towns Mar: Trains/Pony Express Apr: OW Destinations/Clint Eastwood May: Legendary Sonny Jim Jun: Extreme Western Adventures Jul: Starvation Trail/AZ Rough Riders Aug: Digging Up Billy the Kid Sep: Classic Rodeo! Oct: Extraordinary Western Art Nov/Dec: Black Warriors of the West

o o o o o o o o o o

Jan/Feb: Sweethearts of the Rodeo Mar: 175th Anniv Battle of the Alamo Apr: Three True Grits May: Historic Ranches Jun: Tin Type Billy Jul: Viva, Outlaw Women! Aug: Was Geronimo A Terrorist? Sep: Western Museums/CBs & Aliens Oct: Hard Targets Nov/Dec: Butch Cassidy is Back

o o o o o o o

Feb: Az Crazy Road to Statehood Mar: Special Entertainment Issue Apr: Riding Shotgun with History May: The Outlaw Cowboys of NM Jun: Wyatt On The Set! July: Deadly Trackers Aug: How Did Butch & Sundance Die?




o o o o

Sep: The Heros of Northfield Oct: Bravest Lawman You Never Nov: Armed & Courageous Dec: Legend of Climax Jim

o o o o o o o o o o o

Jan: Best of the West/John Wayne Feb: Rocky Mountain Rangers Apr: US Marshals May: Texas Rangers Jun: Doc’s Last Gunfight Jul: Comanche Killers! Aug: Tombstone 20th Annv Sep: Ambushed on the Pecos Oct: Outlaws,Lawmen & Gunfighters Nov: Soiled Doves Dec: Cowboy Ground Zero

o o o o o o o o o o o o

Jan: Best 100 Historical Photos Feb: Assn. of Pat Garrett Mar: Stand-up Gunfights Apr: Wyatt Earp Alaska May: Tom Horn Jun: Custer Captured Jul: 50 Historical Gunfighter Photos Aug: Bigfoot Wallace/Train Robberies Sep: New Billy Photo/Top Museums Oct: Charlie Russell/Movie Hats Nov: Wild Bills's Last Gunfight Dec: Olive Oatman-Branded



2015 o Jan: 100 Historical Am. Indian Photos o Feb: Mountain Man-First Survivalists o Mar: Mickey Free/Severed Heads o Apr: Jack Stilwell-Forgotten Scout o May: Armed to Survive o Jun: Billy the Kid-Special Report o Jul: 50 Historical Photos-Panco Villa o Aug: Luke Short-Dodge City War o Sep: Crossing America-Lewis & Clark o Oct: Wyatt Earp in Hollywood o Nov: 22 Guns that Won the West o Dec: The First Mountain Man

See the complete collection of available back issues online at the True West Store! 1-888-687-1881

Alamo Dead’s Remains?

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at [emailprotected]

BY Marshall TriMBle

Who played Johnny Ringo in Tombstone? And do you think the real Ringo took his own life? Joyce Bell Marshall La Crosse, Wisconsin

Michael Biehn played Johnny Ringo. Born in Alabama, the actor grew up in Nebraska and then Arizona. He studied drama at the University of Arizona in Tucson for a couple of years, then headed to Hollywood, California, to try his luck. He told True West that people approach him all the time, quoting his lines from Tombstone: “All right, Lunger. Let’s do it!” or “I want your blood. And I want your souls. And I want them both right now!” As for the real Ringo, a coroner’s jury ruled his 1882 death was suicide. Some believed he was murdered, but the known evidence supports the conclusion that he took his own life.

What is a Red River cart? Bob Fuller Vermillion, South Dakota

A Red River cart is a two-wheeled wooden vehicle, usually pulled by oxen, but sometimes by horses or mules. It is similar to the Mexican carreta. The carts

Due to the scarcity or expense of nails during the frontier era, Red River carts contained no iron and were constructed entirely of wood and tied together with bison hide strips. – tRue West ARChiVes –

were developed by the Métis, mixedblood Canadian fur traders in Canada’s Red River Colony (later Manitoba). They were the primary conveyance in the Canadian West from the frontier days until the coming of the Canadian Pacific Railway at the end of the 19th century.

Dressed in black as Johnny Ringo, Michael Biehn pulled off a classic moment in 1993’s Tombstone: twirling his gun to intimidate Doc Holliday. – CouRtesy BuenA VistA PiCtuRes –

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What happened to the remains of the Alamo defenders after they were burned following the 1836 battle? Fred Kirby Dallas, Texas

Accounts vary. Texas historian T.R. Fehrenbach wrote in Lone Star: “The charred remains of the Alamo dead were dumped in a common grave. Its location went unrecorded and was never found.” Yet about a mile from the Alamo site, in one of San Antonio’s oldest city cemeteries, stands a monument that reads: “Lost Burial Place of the Alamo Defenders.” City Clerk August Beisenbach claimed those remains were taken from their funeral pyre locations and interred at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in 1856. A sarcophagus at the Cathedral of San Fernando supposedly holds the remains of William B. Travis, James Bowie and David Crockett—but hard to say if true or not.

Is Tombstone home to two Boothills? Michael C. Westlund Clarkdale, Arizona

Boothill—originally called the Tombstone Cemetery—was the final resting place for locals from 1879 to 1884. The new grounds—the City Cemetery—opened for business that year on the west end of town, but it wasn’t referred to as “boothill.” The first site was left untended until 1929, when the town was planning its first Helldorado Days to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tombstone’s founding. Old-timers, including former mayor and newspaperman John Clum and ex-deputy sheriff Billy Breakenridge, were among the guests. The town resurrected Boothill for the ceremony, but it was in bad shape— grave markers were gone and exact burial locations had been forgotten. In the early 1930s, the town created and planted new markers in the same general area, mostly to encourage tourism. They dubbed the site “Boothill,” borrowing the name from the cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas. Today, the City Cemetery is the forgotten spot. That’s too bad. Several Tombstone pioneers, including photographer C.S. Fly, are buried there.

Only Uberti USA offers a 5 year warranty. Find a dealer at

Tombstone’s City Cemetery is not as popular as Boothill, but it is the resting place for notable pioneers, including C.S. Fly and Cochise’s grandson. – By RoBeRT Ray –


UBERTI 1959 They won the West 150 years ago. They win matches & turn heads at the range today. Own one or both in your favorite caliber & barrel length–keep the legend alive. Available in .45 LC, 44/40 WCF & .357 Magnum.

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Young Reba McEntire, running barrels at a rodeo. When Reba found out that she would be inducted this year into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, along with her mother, she said, “We’re tickled. It was really a sweet thing to get to do at the same time as Mama.” – ALL PHOTOS COURTESY REBA MCENTIRE –

On the family ranch, my first duty was driving for Daddy while he put hay out. He’d put a 50-pound sack of feed on the seat, and either Susie or I would get up on the seat, on top of the sack, he’d put it in Granny gear and then hop out. He’d say, “Just stay straight and stay off the rocks.” And he would hop in the back and throw the hay off to the cattle. One day, Daddy pulled up, and Mama looked at the truck, and there was scratches all down the side. Mama said, “What happened to your truck?” He said, “Oh, blame it on my drivers.” Down at the pen, all of us girls and Mama would be working cattle. About 11:00, Daddy would say, “Alright, you girls go help your Mama with dinner,” which is what we called lunch. We’d set up in the back yard, clean the mountain oysters and take ’em in to Mama, and she’d fry ’em up for dinner. Then we’d clean up after all of us ate, but while we were cleaning up, the men would take a nap, watch TV or sit underneath the fan, whatever. We’d tell Daddy, “We’re through.” He’d say, “Alright, let’s go back to the pen.” I didn’t think that was fair. Getting into the music business was easy for me, because I was a singer, but I also knew how to handle things. I’ll never forget, one time, the van guys were trying to hook the trailer up to the truck and they couldn’t get it backed up. I said, “Hop out,” and I backed it up just directly over the trailer hitch. Hopped back out, and let them finish up. I didn’t say a word. Knew better not to. When you’re in a man’s world, you don’t do that. You just do your job and walk on.

My daddy taught me to be dependable. You do your job, you work hard, and when someone tells you to do something, you do it. You don’t say, “Well, I’m gonna go turn the horses out later on,” and then 10 minutes later, “Hey Susie, you go do it.” You do what you say you’re gonna do, and you do what you’re told.

I started rodeoing at age 11. I was running barrels like my sister Alice did. Alice was the best rider and the toughest cowhand we had in the family. I finished running barrels at age 21 when I got my recording contract, thanks to Red Steagall. I was a lot better singer than I was a cowgirl.

Grandpap won bulldogging and steer roping off the running board of a Ford car. That was one of the tales he’d tell us kids. Grandpap, his name was John McEntire, won Cheyenne in 1934, for steer roping. Daddy won it in 1957, 58 and 61. Daddy was a calf roper too.

I still ride, when I can. I was up in Montana this summer with Mike Ingram and Red Steagall at Red’s Roundup over there in Cascade. Red and I won the team penning. I got the T R U E



REBA McENTIRE, COUNTRY SINGER This November, the National Cowgirl Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, inducted Reba McEntire and her mother, Jacqueline, into the Hall of Fame. An Oklahoma native, Reba has sold 56 million albums worldwide, with 35 number one singles on the music charts. The singer has also acted in 11 movies and starred in Broadway’s Annie Get Your Gun and in her Reba sitcom. Her holiday offerings this year include: hosting CMA Country Christmas on ABC and the releases of My Kind of Christmas album from Nash Icon Records and her boot line with Justin Boot Company, Reba by Justin. horsemanship award ’cause I worked out on all events. I won the trap and skeet shooting. It was a lot of fun.

My favorite spot in the American West is Jackson Hole in Wyoming. It’s just captured my heart. The women will say it does that to Southern women. I just absolutely love it.

Having played Annie Oakley twice, in Buffalo Girls and on Broadway, I feel a kinship to her. She was a special woman— had a great heart, took care of her family, loved to travel and tended to business. She was always my hero. I remember meeting Alice and Pake when they got off the bus at the cattle guard and telling ’em what went on that day on the Annie Oakley show. This Christmas, I’ll spend in Tennessee with my family—my son Shelby, daughter Shawna. I think Chassidy, my youngest daughter, is gonna be in Houston, Texas. Brandon, my oldest son, is married to Kelly Clarkson, so they’re gonna be on a promotional tour. I think they’ll be finished by Christmas time. I hope so, at least.











Featured in our December Auction will be a mass of extraordinary collections. Stunning in both its exceptional quality and magnitude is the life collection of Vernon J. Berning – a half century’s passion of fresh and important arms. Not to be missed is the Chad Gripp Collection of immaculate and rare Smith & Wesson double action revolvers, the Dr. Sol Gourji Collection of Colts & Winchesters, the Charles E. Luxmoore Collection, the John Siroonian Collection, the Richard Bradley Collection of fine arms, the Bruce Canfield Collection of U.S. Military Arms as well as the Doug Twiddy Collection which houses high condition and sought after 19th century American arms.

A selection of fine arms from the


Extremely Rare and Early Two Digit Serial Numbered Civilian Smith & Wesson First Model Schofield Revolver Family Attributed as being Presented by Outlaw Cole Younger of the JamesYounger Gang to Minnesota Sate Senator George P. Wilson

George Potter Wilson &

Cole Younger

Arthur Keeler Bourne

the 5th President of the Singer Manufacturing Company

Documented Factory Engraved, Gold Inlaid and Inscribed Colt Officer’s Model Target Double Action Revolver with Relief Carved Eagle Pearl Grips


CATALOG ONLINE SOON! Full-Color 3-Volume Set Catalog WWW.ROCKISLANDAUCTION.COM ($70 Inc. S&H) (800) 238-8022 7819 42nd Street West, Rock Island, IL 61201 ∙ PHONE: 309-797-1500 or 800-238-8022 ∙ FAX: 309-797-1655 ∙ EMAIL: [emailprotected] ∙ Fully Licensed Class III Auctioneer


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