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Legends Letter

August, 2008


Kathy and DaveHey gang, well I'm still calling this the August newsletter even though your getting it in September, cuz I wrote most of it in August. But then, I went out of town for a long holiday weekend and didn't get it out. That means you should get another this month.

It's been an eventful month with lots of travel and bunches of new articles. Finally, we made the trip to Montana that I have been looking forward to for years and though we just couldn't possibly cover as much as I would have liked to, it was absolutely wonderful! Oh, and of course I'll share our pictures and history with you on the website. But, in the meantime, I have to share a great tale of a "new" old friend -- Albert Hall. Albert's been a reader of the newsletter almost since day one and the "mountain man," who has a pristine little cabin in a remote portion of the Helena National Forest, invited us for a visit. Now, as you can imagine, we were a little nervous. No phone, four-wheel drive only into this remote place, and someone we've never met face-to-face. Dave was about to have a "cow," he was so nervous. I, on the other hand, tend to be a little reckless - "oh, stop being a worry wart, it'll be fun!" And, guess what, it WAS FUN!!  He was a great host, wonderful tour guide, and best "B&B" we've ever stayed in. Dave has a great way of telling all about it. Check out his blog.

We flew into Jackson,Wyoming, covering just a little part of the part of the northwest portion of the Cowboy State, before making our way through Yellowstone National Park and into Montana. Originally, we intended to travel up to Glacier National Park, but there is so much to see in Montana, we decided that will have to be another trip where we cover, northern Montana, Idaho and Washington. Instead, we made our way westward and covered a bit of eastern Idaho, which was another great treat. Of course, we got tons of photos and new legends, some of which are already "up" on the website and others that will continue to be written over the next several months. 

Guess I better get going. In the meantime, I truly hope you enjoy the newsletter and the website!!

Kathy Weiser, Owner/Editor


New Additions to Legends of America



In Wyoming, we visited a number of places on the way in and out and  you'll find updates and new pictures to existing articles, such as Jackson Hole,Yellowstone National Park, and the Teton National Park. We also visited several new places that you'll now see new articles on such as the great old mining camps of Atlantic City, South Pass City, and Miners Delight in the Sweetwater Mining District. We also made stops at old Fort Washakie and Cody, Wyoming, where we walked in Buffalo Bill Cody's footsteps, visited the great Buffalo Bill Historical Center, had breakfast at the allegedly haunted Irma Hotel, and visited the Museum of the Old West and Trail Town.

With Montana ghost town destinations as the priority, we quickly made our way to Virginia City, Montana, which was a number one on my list with its history of Montana Vigilantes, its gold rush, and its many preserved buildings. We also made a trip over to Nevada City before mosying on over to one of the best ghost towns in the American West - Bannack, Montana. On our way to Butte, along the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway, we find one more old ghost town - Coolidge, Montana, which requires a short hike, but well worth the trip. 

At Butte, we make a stop at the Granite Mountain Memorial, site of the worst hard-rock, metal mining disaster in U.S. history. We then made our way along the Pintler Scenic Route visiting the ghost towns of Southern Cross and Granite, before traveling on to Marysville, Montana. The next day we visited a few more Montana ghost towns, including Comet, Rimini and Elkhorn. We now have such a list of Montana Ghost Towns that we've visited, that I went ahead and expanded the list to include summaries of several others. You can see them all HERE. And, while we were in Big Sky Country, I couldn't resist a stop at the Montana Prison Museum in Deer Lodge - fun and a little creepy.

We also enjoyed just a little slice of Idaho, as we made our way back to the airport in Jackson, so you'll find a few new stops there including the mining camps of Bayhorse, Gibbonsville, and History on Yankee Fork Road. We also traveled on along the Jeffrey-Goodale Cutoff on the Oregon Trail. As those old pioneers passed by what is now the Craters of the Moon National Monument, one can only imagine what thoughts ran through the minds of those many emigrants trying make their way through all that lava rock. They just might have thought they had entered hell.

Before we ventured northeast, I continued to cover several historic lawmen including Fred Dodge, a famous Detective; Frank B. "Pistol Pete" Eaton, known as the fastest draw in Indian Territory; Roy Bean, who was self described as "the only law west of the Pecos;" Scott Cooley, Texas Ranger turned killer; William Carr, Rufus Cannon, and dozens of others on our ever expanded List of Lawmen.

Well, I'm a thinkin' that should hold you for a little while, so I better get going.


Bumper Sticker Wisdom 

We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart?

My Kharma Ran Over Your Dogma

Hey idiot - You're driving a car, not a phone booth

Drive Home a Point!
Shop Bumper Stickers!

Old West Wisdom:

Genius has its limits. Stupidity knows no bounds. 

Never drop your gun to hug a grizzly.



Featured Travel Destination 


Cimarron, New Mexico Cimarron, New Mexico - Wild & Baudy Boomtown - Steeped in history and exuding every facet of the Old West, from Indians, to cowboys, land barons, pioneers on the Santa Fe Trail, to gold prospectors, Cimarron, New Mexico provides a little bit of all. Though, this charming small town in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northeast New Mexico is peaceful now, this certainly has not always been the case.

First home to numerous Indian tribes, including the Ancient Puebloans, Jicarilla Apache, and Ute; Cimarron, located on the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail, soon became the headquarters for the largest land grant in the United States. When Lucien B. Maxwell, a fur trapper from Illinois, came to the area in the 1840's, he married the daughter of one of the owners of the Beaubien-Miranda Land Grant and by 1857, had bought out the grant, renaming it the Maxwell Land Grant. He soon built a mansion that was as large as a city block and a settlement began to grow around it.

When the town of Cimarron was officially established in 1861, it was named for the Spanish word meaning "wild" and "unbroken." The name was extremely fitting at the time, as Cimarron quickly attracted numerous mountain men, outlaws, trappers, gold seekers, traders and cowboys. The settlement also attracted the likes of such frontier characters as Clay Allison, Black Jack Ketchum, Jesse  James and Buffalo Bill Cody. Later, Cimarron would lie within the midst of the 1868 Gold Rush at Baldy Mountain, be heavily involved in the controversial Colfax County War, and become the Colfax County seat from 1872 to 1882.

Today, it's history can still be seen in its many historic buildings, including the St. James Hotel, the Aztec Mill, the century old Catholic Church, the cemetery, and several other historic structures.

More ...


Featured Book:

Ghosts Among Us by Leslie Rule -

Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, the stories of the supernatural in Ghosts Among Us: True Stories of Spirit Encounters will keep you riveted. Macabre and fascinating.  - Sorry, out of stock.



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The Old West 



Range War Movie PosterOld West Feuds & Range Wars - If the Old West wasn't filled with violence enough -- stemming from Indian raids, numerous outlaws, and the ever-present vigilantes trying to control them, then another common event was the frequent feuds, range wars, and political conflicts that created yet more bloodshed in the Wild West.

The violence created in these many battles often occurred where there was no law or the law was too "weak" to enforce any type of change. Similar to the vigilantes, those who felt they were unduly wronged, were prone to take the law into their own hands.

Sometimes these feuds were the result of long-running arguments between two groups of people, especially families or clans, and perhaps may have started decades earlier over the smallest insult. One thing leads to another until cycles of retaliation can last for generations.


However, the vast majority of the well-known feuds in the American West were the result of political confrontations or land control. For those involved, their actions were rarely seen as lawless, but rather a means to bringing some kind of "law" to an area where chaos tended to prevail.


Regardless of the reasons, these "wars" resulted in hundreds of deaths, when vengeance was taken and bloody vendettas resulted in warring factions continuing to battle, sometimes for years.


We've written about a number of these Old West Feuds, check these out: Denver City Hall War, El Paso Salt War, Lincoln County War, Texas Regulator-Moderator War, Johnson County War, Pleasant Valley War, the Slicker War, and lots more.



Did You Know??

While it is legal to shoot bears in Arkansas, waking a sleeping bear for the purpose of taking a photograph is prohibited.

When Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark on their journey of the West, he believed that prehistoric animals still lived in the unexplored regions.

North Dakota has more registered vehicles than it has residents.

On August 19, 1884 John H. ‘Doc’ Holliday shot bartender Billy Allen in the arm over $5 at Leadville, Colorado.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln weight room is the largest in the country. It covers three-fourths of an acre.

Billy the Kid was born in New York City


Ghostly & Other Strange Legends


BigfootCryptozoology And Bigfoot - With yet one more Bigfoot Hoax recently, we thought it only appropriate to look at this large critter again. Does Bigfoot really exist? Part of me thinks so – all those people couldn’t possibly be deranged or seeing things, could they? But, where are the bodies? Where are the bones? What about their scat? Hmmm. Maybe it is just a legend. But, there is another explanation according to Robert Benjamin. Bigfoot just might be a spiritual being, rather than a "real-life" hairy creature. Here is a bit of his story:


Bigfoot has been sighted throughout the United States, from the 16th Century to present. The first reported sightings were by Native Americans. He was called numerous names by different Indian tribes, 'sasquatch' was only one of over 50 different Indian names given to the creature. This creature looks more like a hairy man than an ape or monkey. It is mostly reported as being between 6 - 8 feet tall, but has been sighted with a smaller female and even offspring, as small as human children. The larger, adult male of the species is rugged, and built very muscular. It's shoulders are wide, and it has very little neck area. It has short brown to black hair covering it's body, with longer hair on the head. Most reports have the creatures eyes glowing or shining red in the dark when reflected by a flashlight or some other light source.


Indians almost all believe Bigfoot is a non-physical creature. Some Indian tribes mention that they have seen the creature transform into a wolf. Others think that these creatures live in another dimension from the physical plane, but can come here as they desire. Indians also believe Bigfoot has great psychic abilities, reports of sightings show the creature can be visible to some people, while at the same time remain invisible to others in the same group. There are many reports from non-Indians who saw the creature after a UFO sighting. And others that have searched for, and researched Bigfoot for years are coming to the conclusion that the creature is a spiritual being, because he can appear or disappear at will.


The creatures episodes of hitting sticks and rock throwing may be the best evidence we have to show that they are spiritual beings. If you research paranormal cases involving 'poltergeist' incidents, you will soon realize that many of the cases involve the throwing or dropping of stones against houses, and on the roofs of the homes where the poltergeist attacks are occurring. In many of the poltergeist cases, the stones being dropped and thrown were the beginning of the infestation, or encounter, just like in the Bigfoot cases.


More ...



What our readers are saying about Legends of America: 

BRAVO on writing about lawmen. I haven't finished reading your newsletter yet, but I am glad of your topic being on Lawmakers instead of the usual topic of the cowardly Lawbreakers. -- Matthew, England

Hi Kathy, just wanted to let you know that your newsletter is great. It has every form of information a person would need in searching for the true wild west in its hey day. Thanks for sharing your letter with me. -- Lyle

The Ingalls Gunfight is a gripping piece of history and was written really well. I always look forward to your great stories and you're always greatly appreciated. -- Richard, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Thanks for all the info on your site. I stumbled across it last year as I was beginning to plan my Route 66 trip this year. We arrive in the USA on August 13th for  4 weeks and have used the information on your site to plan a lot of our journey. -- Jackie Kay, Congleton, England

I've been looking over your site and just wanted to tell you that the amount of history, photographs, etc. you've compiled is brilliant. -- Jenn

Tell us what you think!


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The Old West 


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Legends of America

A Travel Guide for the

Nostalgic & Historic Minded

28926 Cedar Hill Loop

Warsaw, MO 65355



Kathy Weiser





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