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Legends Letter

September, 2006


Kathy and Dave after getting hitchedWhew!!  This summer has been one wild ride and I'm looking around trying to find it. Where did it go? Here, summer, summer, summer. The illusive summer doesn't answer. Met only by silence, I guess, I'll have to jump on off into Autumn.


For us, summer provided a host of travel opportunities, adventures, and a very large foray into the outlaw annals of the the American West.


Dave and I first traveled down to Texas , where we had visits with our respective families, then we were off to New Mexico , where in typical "Kathy" style, Dave and I got hitched in a mountain clearing before adjourning for a little soirée at a local saloon (a very historic saloon, of course.)  Great fun!!  We spent about a week in the mountains of northwest New Mexico before sneaking down to a Route 66 festival in Albuquerque, and seeing a number of other sights in the Land of Enchantment before heading north to the majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Then back to the flatlands of Kansas.


But, just a couple of weeks later, the travel bug hit me again when I was doing a big update to my HBO Deadwood Series pages. What are we going to do without that show?  I've got an idea - Deadville to Leadville - check it out. Anywho, I was off again, bound for Deadwood, South Dakota and everything in between.


Finally I made it home for a spell, with visions of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane in my mind and brimming with the sights and sounds of the Old West . So, I made good on my promise to build the largest list of outlaws on the world wide web, and by golly, after weeks and weeks of research, I think I've done it!  This Outlaw List includes more than 300 of those wild and wooly characters.


Well, best be mosying on ......... Until next time, happy travels!


If you're new to Legends of America, we focus on travel destinations that appeal to the nostalgic and historic minded.  Not really interested in the glitter and glitz of the big cities, we hunt out those places with a little "elbow room," lots of history, and hidden attractions.   


In the meantime, I truly hope you enjoy the newsletter and the website!!


Kathy Weiser, Owner/Editor





In this Edition: 


New Additions


Featured Travel Destination


The Old West


Featured Book


Ghosts & Mysteries





Coming Next Month:



More Colorado


Haunted Tales for Halloween




Bumper Sticker Wisdom 

Men are like Barbed Wire.... they have their good points.

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

No one but Cattle know why they stampede...and the ain't talking....

Colonel Colt made all men equal.

Warning:  Dates in Calendar are closer than they appear.


New Additions to Legends of America



Well, since it's been a while since I've given ya'll an update, there's just a ton of new stuff here. Can't list it all, but here's a peek.


Following along with my travels, you'll find the mysterious terra cotta badlands of Palo Duro Canyon, as well as the famous man who called it home - Charles Goodnight.  From New Mexico , you'll find a look at the scenic Turquoise Trail, along with stories of several dusty ghost towns we visited, including Golden, Madrid, and Los Cerrillos.


From Colorado, we packed a whole bunch of places into a few short days and you'll find new information on the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and the almost ghost towns of Cripple Creek and Victor. Not only are these two old mining camps filled with history, but they are also allegedly very haunted. Though we didn't run into any ghosts, we did get some great photos. Read about the Cripple Creek District's ghosts HERE. We also saw Mesa Verde, Silverton, Ouray, which aren't written up yet, but we'll have those up soon.


From my trip to Deadwood, South Dakota , you'll find lots of new photographs and updated information, plus stops we made along the way at Rock Creek Pony Express Station in Nebraska,

Mount Rushmore National Park, and a number ghost towns we found along the way. Stay tuned, as I get all these new places, photographs, and tales loaded up.


For those of us who are already missing the HBO Deadwood series, I did a whole bunch of new updates, including stories on many of the real characters of Deadwood including Aunt Lou, Jack Langrishe George Hearst, Martha Bullock, Sol Star, Jack McCall, and the Painted Ladies of Deadwood Gulch.  We've also added up a new Deadwood Timeline so you can figure out when all this stuff really happened.  You'll also find a new Black Hills Photo Gallery where you can look at both vintage photographs as well as how Deadwood looks today.


Then on the Old West Trail, I really got obsessed with my Complete List of Outlaws, where you'll find the obvious, well-known ones such as Jesse James and Billy the Kid, but there's also a bucket-load of other interesting names, such as Elfego Baca, William "Tulsa Jack" Blake; Laura Bullion, known as the Rose of the Wild Bunch, "Three-Fingered" Jack McDowell, Thomas "Big Foot" O'Folliard, and hundreds more. You'll also find a new Outlaw Photo Gallery, which includes faces of a whole bunch of these folks, from Butch Cassidy, to Bob Dalton, Sam Bass, and Black Bart, just to name a few. See them HERE.


Along these same lines, you'll also find a new list - Gunfights of the Old West, plus more additions to our many other lists, which include Gunfighters, Lawmen, Outlaw Gangs, Vigilantes, Women, and more.




Old West Factoids:


Most professional gunfighters died in states or territories where the most shootings occurred: Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, California, Missouri, and Colorado.


The Pony Express was in operation for only nineteen months from April 1860 through October 1861.


The famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral only lasted about thirty seconds.


Cowboys driving cattle to the market could expect to make between $25 and $40 per month.  A Trail Boss might make as much as $125 per month.


Annie Oakley, who’s real name was Phoebe Anne Mozee, never lived farther west than Ohio.



From Legends' General Store

Vintage Photographs of the Old West - From our personal Photo Print Shop, order prints that provide dramatic glimpses into the rich heritage of the American West.





Featured Travel Destination 



The Turquoise Trail Scenic Byway - Nestled in the hills and valleys of central New Mexico is one of the state’s most interesting and scenic drives – the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway.  This often forgotten road is filled with history, scenic views, ghost towns, a National Forest, a ski resort, art galleries, shops, museums, and more.


Named for the rich turquoise deposits found near its northern end, the Turquoise Trail was used for centuries by Native Americans and Spanish explorers before miners began to flood the area in the late 1800’s in search of the hills’ many rich minerals. Though this hilly highway has seen much recent growth, it still maintains a historic view of the Old West , along with its galleries, restaurants, and museums. The beautiful blue-green turquoise was first mined by the early Pueblo people as early as 900 A.D.


Three ghost towns remain along this historic path including Golden, Madrid, and the dusty streets of   Los Cerrillos


Golden, established in 1879 when gold was found in the area, filled quickly with prospectors until less than a decade later, the gold was panned out.  Though the site is mostly dott4ed with the crumbling remains of the once thriving town, a couple of interesting buildings still remain, including the San Francisco Catholic Church, built in 1830 and the old general store that has been operating since 1918.


North of Golden you'll come to Madrid which has long been known for the turquoise nestled in the surrounding hills.  Mined by the Indians for centuries, it was later discovered by Spaniards who also searched the area for silver and gold.  In the early 1800’s, American prospectors moved into the area and in the 1880’s large coal mine companies began operations. It was during the coal mining peak, that Madrid boasted more than 3,000 residents and produced some 250,000 tons of coal a year.


Though categorized as a ghost town , Madrid has about 300 residents and thrives in the summer with shops, restaurants, and galleries catering to the many visitors along this ancient path. 


Continuing North, you'll arrive at the dusty little town of Los Cerrillos, which was also known for its turquoise, gold and silver that was once mined there and made it a boom town. Like the others, the minerals played out and the town died. However, this historic Old West settlement has many photographic opportunities in its adobe homes, businesses, Saint Joseph’s Church, a museum, and the Los Cerrillos Historic Park.


More ...


What our readers are saying about Legends of America:

I must tell you that I am very very impressed with your site.  It is a thoughtful, candid, historical, educational (not enough adjectives) production.  I can't tell you how many road trips your site has allowed me to take while sitting at my computer. You have managed to meld the intricacies of the Legends of America into a well organized adventure. Don't stop. Many thanks, linnieskid, August, 2006

Ran across your site by accident but it has given me hours of fun and amazement. I will continue logging on every so often and patronize your clients there. Thanks so much for this fun place. - Michael Pepper, July, 2006

I read through all the information you provide for the HBO series Deadwood and the real stories on the characters.  Thank you for everything you provided.  I really enjoyed reading about it and learned a lot. It has inspired me even more to go out there and visit the area.  Keep up the good work. Thank you, Charles Muha, July, 2006.


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The Old West



Gunfights of the Old West - Though movies and television would like us to believe otherwise, it was very rare when gunfights occurred with the two gunfighters squarely facing each other from a distance in a dusty street.  This romanticized image of the Old West gunfight was born in the dime novels of the late 19th century and perpetuated in the film era, to such a point that this fictional version is the what our mind’s eye quickly conjures up when we hear the word " gunfight .” In actuality, the "real” gunfights of the Old West were rarely that "civilized.”

In fact, there are several misnomers about these "romaticised” gunfights , the first of which is that very rarely, did the gunfighters actually "plan” a gunfight to occur, "calling out” their enemy for dueling action in the street. Instead, most of these many fights took place in the heat of the moment when tempers flared, and more often than not, with the aide of a little bottled courage.  They also didn’t occur at a distance of 75 feet, with each gunfighter taking one shot, one falling dead to the ground, and the other standing as a "hero" before a dozen gathered onlookers.

Here, you can read about many of the "real" gunfights of the Old West, where you'll see the difference between television fiction and the real Wild West. Some of these many gunfights include an El Paso Gunfight, a Las Vegas, New Mexico Saloon Shootout, the Spokogee Gunfight, the Long Branch Saloon Shootout, and more.


More ...



Featured Book:


Strange Highways by Jerry D. Coleman

Explore the underbelly of American Strangeness with author Jerry D. Coleman as he goes behind the scenes into some of the most mysterious cases in paranormal history. Roaming the country, he presents an amazing phantasmagoria of Bigfoot sightings, visits from beyond the grave, eerie encounters with anomalous creatures, phantom panthers, startling first-hand accounts and much more.

Ghosts & Mysteries



The Ghosts of Tombstone, Arizona - Like so many other places in the Old West with violent histories, Tombstone is said to be one of the most haunted in Arizona.  At its most famous place - the OK Corral, several witnesses have reported ghosts of the Earps as well as the Clanton brothers.  At the nearby Boot Hill Graveyard, reports of apparitions and strange lights have frequently been given in this place that harbors several old outlaws beneath its wooden tombstones.


At the Bird Cage Theatre, one of the oldest original buildings left in Tombstone, reputation has it that the old saloon boasts as many as 31 ghosts.  The Bird Cage was named for the 13 small cribs hanging from the ceiling that once housed "painted ladies” dressed as finely feathered birds. 

At the business of Big Nose Kate’s, numerous cowboy apparitions have allegedly been photographed and at Nellie Cashman’s Restaurant, playful pranks have been going on since frontier days.

At the historic Buford House, an 1880’s adobe home, which now serves as a Bed & Breakfast, the ghost of a man named George Buford apparently refuses to leave.


More ...







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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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