Visited the Boot Hill Museum to learn the history of Dodge City and to watch a gunfight.
The history started with a discussion of the Plains Indians and their culture of nomad life chasing the buffalo. Their first encounter with Europeans started back in the 1500's when the Spanish were exploring the western New World. After the Civil War, many Americans headed west in search of fame, fortune, and gold. This caused conflict with the Indians who claimed the plains as their own.
As more Americans headed west, the railroad soon displaced the stage coach as the means to move people. The railroad ran next to a settlers sod hut in the area that would become Dodge City. The first business man in the area, Mr Hoover, set a wood plank up on some sod and began selling whiskey to the train riders when they stopped to water the steam engine.
The train made it convenient for buffalo hunters to send their buffalo hides east, and soon they had hunted the buffalo to near extinction, and desecrated the Indian way of life. With the buffalo trade drying up, the next major market were Texas Longhorns. The long three month cattle drives to Dodge City lasted about ten years. By then, Dodge City had earned a reputation as one of the nastiest towns in America. Not surprising with a population of 700 with 17 saloons.
One interesting side note was the origins of the term shot for whiskey, as in give me another shot of that whiskey. Back in this time frame the cost of a small glass of whiskey was the same price as one round of ammo. Once the cowpokes had drunk their wages, they would trade the bartender with one round of ammo for one drink, hence the name one shot of whiskey.
After the decade of cattle drives the town of Dodge City began to clean up her reputation and become just another small town in America. Well except for the interesting cast of characters that strolled the streets of her past.