You’ve probably heard of some of Deadwood’s most famous residents, like Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickock. Nowadays the town has shed its gunfighting reputation and leaned into its cattle history. Western Towns - Our Top 10 True Western Towns - What makes a True Western Town? Today, the picturesque tourist trap is all charm, with no true grit (or ghosts) in sight. In the general store on Main Street, there are fat peppermints and candy cigarettes. Dodge City, was once the epicenter of the Wild West. The Cody Nite Rodeo takes place every night and is truly one of the most unique rodeo experiences you’ll get in the West. Some have been re-purposed, some glamorized, some left to rot. Suddenly, it rises like a fairytale castle: a large Spanish Revival structure. Who knew a deserted, rough-and-tumble mining boomtown in the Wild West could be so delightful? Most of the outdoor scenes were shot elsewhere, but these are a couple of places to go that have their roots in the Old West South Dakota. 21000 Hacienda Boulevard California City, CA 93505. In 1946, Hollywood came to the high desert to stay. The Wild West represents a unique period in the growth of the US, when borders were being expanded and new lands discovered during the late 19th century. Two of the motel rooms are open. Sumpter – Queen City Ghost Town. Visit the Boot Hill museum, located on the site of the historic Boot Hill cemetery, for a look at the 60,000 artif… Dodge City is much more quaint these days. In the 1970s, the construction of new highways made Route 66 obsolete, and Amboy’s fortunes fell. Soon a post office, cafeteria, and rudimentary homes for Union Pacific workers and prospectors sprang up in the isolated spot. In the dust-covered ’50s-style kitchen, you might glimpse a desert version of trapped Betty Draper standing at the window, staring out at the train tracks. But it’s not nearly enough people to fill even a fraction of the land. By the mid-1930s, only four residents were left. El Reno -Home of the Oklahoma Land Rush. Hickock was shot and killed in Deadwood while holding the infamo… “I fell in love with the desert,” he said, echoing the sentiments of those who still called Kelso home. What looks like a food truck is parked in the driveway, the words “Research Flat Earth” painted on its side. Fittingly, Schieffelin called the town “Tombstone” because he was initially told he would find nothing there but his own tombstone. Kelso Depot 90942 Kelso Cima Road Kelso, CA 92306. These aren’t Wild West ghost towns but more recent vestiges of the 20th century. Calico is a desert ghost town, theme-park style. Down an endless road, deep into the beautifully barren Mojave National Preserve, the wind pushes your car around, and your lips feel like parched sandpaper. There is a restored lunch counter, telegraph office, and exhibitions that tell the history of the area. Shaniko – Wool Capitol of the World. From storied ghost towns and and hardy, striking flora to iconic Palm Springs hot spots, we’re celebrating the divine desert landscape in LA’s backyard. You can take a ride through an old mine on a tram, pan for silver, take pot shots in the shooting gallery, and camp overnight under the Calico hills. Visitors are free to explore its spooky remains, but there are no kitschy reenactments, restaurants, or shops selling … But the boom, as nearly always, was followed by a bust. It earned a reputation as one of the most sinful towns in the West by the end of the 1800s. You can visit the Oatman Jail and Museum to view the town’s old holding pens and sheriff’s office, or check out the several local shops selling classic Americana. U.S. Route 66 (US 66, Route 66) is a part of a former United States Numbered Highway in the state of California that ran from the west in Santa Monica on the Pacific Ocean through Los Angeles and San Bernardino to Needles at the Arizona state line. The world’s love affair with America’s Wild West has always burned bright, and nothing in the country’s history compares to the period from 1865 to 1895 when prospectors and pioneers pushed their way towards better lives and scrambled for pots of gold. Outside, however, is an entirely different beast. The shootout only last 30 seconds, but it resulted in the deaths of Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers. Americans have always had a fascination with the Wild West. Read time: 9 mins. Settlements were raised in the dry and unaccommodating desert for many reasons. In 1966, he donated the restored—and heavily sanitized—town to the county of San Bernardino. What it's like now: Dodge City's economy is ce… A sales office and model houses were constructed, and work was started on Central Park, an 80-acre recreational area that eventually included a 20-acre lake, outdoor swimming pool, playing fields, par-three golf course, picnic areas, tennis courts, indoor sports center and community building. Most look like they have been there for many years. Pioneertown’s influx of young residents has driven some people away. What it was like back then: Dodge City served as a railhead for longhorns coming up from Texasto be put on a trail and shipped west. And if you happen to be visiting the “Rodeo Capital of the World” between June 1 and August 31, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t see a rodeo. Some, like Palm Springs, flourished, but countless others failed. Here’s why. Well, there’s history, of course. And on Mane Street, Old West cottages built for movies are being lived in by real people—and an art installation even adorns one private yard. Don't worry about being challenged to an old-fashioned gunfight at high noon, though. Wooden boardwalks lead you alongside restored 19th-century buildings, including historic saloons, and plenty of museums. Amboy passed through the hands of different owners before it was bought by Albert Okura, founder of the Juan Pollo restaurant chain, in 2005. Farther down the dirt road, a modern-day cowboy sitting a spell on the porch takes off his hat, an old-timey gesture in front of the old-timey saddle shop. But shortly after, it began to dwindle as nearby mines closed and the switch from steam engine to diesel rendered the depot’s purpose as a way station obsolete—since trains no longer needed assistance climbing steep grades. The promise of wealth lured outlaws, gamblers, and gunslingers who transformed the town into a vibrant and often dangerous place. Waiting? Los Angeles is the home of the film industry, especially during the era when many of those great old western films and television shows were made. Modern Abilene has done a first-rate job of preserving those wild times, especially in its celebration last year of the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail. It has a walk-in bank vault from 1964, as well as an abandoned gold mine underneath the bar. There is much to see in California City, in the Kern County desert, 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Before Las Vegas and Reno, Virginia City was Nevada’s premier destination. Just west of the town of Lone Pine on Highway 395, at the foot of Mount Whitney, are the Alabama Hills. 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Anywhere that calls itself the “Rodeo Capital of the World” should probably be on your Wild West bucket list. In the 19 th century, during the gold rush, towns developed in the west around the gold mines. If you've ever had to "get out of Dodge," you may understand what this wildest of Wild West towns was like back when Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson were patrolling the streets. In the 1950s, it was reinvented by Walter Knott, the very man who brought us Knotts Berry Farm. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. A popular pit stop for hikers to take an, um, “lode” off along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, South Pass City is one of Wyoming’s most highly trafficked Old West ghost towns. Rawhide Wild West Town, Chandler Rawhide Western Town & Event Center/Facebook A Western-themed amusement park, Rawhide has attractions such as live gun shows, gold panning, and chances to rides horses or burros. A ghost town is a term used to describe towns that failed to stand the test of time and died off the same time the gold mines stopped producing gold. There are an abundance of monuments of the Wild West in Cody, most notably the Old Trail Town, which includes Wild West artifacts like Butch Cassidy’s cabin, the grave of mountain man John Johnson, a saloon frequented by the famous outlaw Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, and the home of Curley, the Indian scout who survived the Battle of the Little Big Horn. In 2005, the restored depot was opened as the visitor center for Mojave National Preserve. Whether it’s about lawmen and gunfighters, ranchers and sodbusters, or railroads and boomtowns, all True Western Towns have a story to tell. Founded in 1895, the Wild West town attracted adventurers seeking their fortunes, but their bounty soon dried up. Sure, Hollywood has dramatized the Wild West and turned it into a cinematic cliche, but that doesn’t detract from the period’s historic significance or how its cowboys, crooks, and gamblers have captured our imaginations. They went boom, then bust, but some of the desert’s early settlements haven’t entirely disappeared. In the town’s large barn, craftsmen are working. The days of Wyatt Earpp and Billy the Kid may be over, but there are still several towns throughout the US that evoke that old fashioned Wild West spirit. Dodge was nicknamed the “Queen of the Cowtowns” due to the herds of longhorns shipped there, but it’s probably better known for its abundance of gunfighters and brothels. Next door is the glassed-in hotel lobby, its cracked Mad Men-esque furniture fading in the sun. You’ll probably still lose, but at least you don’t have to keep your head on a swivel for gunslingers. Their green lights twinkle, a warning to airplanes taking off from a nearby airport. According to the LA Times: An ambitious street system was designed and roads were cut into the brush, making the grid that can now be seen from the air. The gunfights, rodeos, tumbleweeds, and dusty saloons of America’s untamed frontier might sound like cinematic tropes, but they’re also a very real part of the country’s history. Here are the ones you can visit. Corral and view reenactments of the famous gunfight, or even spend the day at the Tombstone Wild West Theme Park where there are daily gunfight shows (no, you don’t have to participate). The dust in the air chokes. This must be how 20th-century passengers on the Union Pacific felt when they first saw the railroad depot in Kelso. Cody is the home of Buffalo Bill, the showman famous for his “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” shows, which are credited with the popularization and proliferation of rodeos. At nearby Edwards air Force Base, and kitschy souvenirs appear to be for sale the Street from depot. 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