Dodge City and the Santa Fe Trail
Clinton Travel Blog› entry 12 of 14 › view all entries
September 20th, 2002 – by: kingelvis14
The mention of Dodge City, Kansas, brings to mind names like Matt Dillon, Miss Kitty, and her Long Branch Saloon. Of course, these are only fictional characters from the successful TV series, "Gunsmoke," but in reality, Dodge City was a wild and wicked town without law enforcement where gunfighters, gamblers, buffalo hunters and traders lived and died.
In 1872 the railroad came to Dodge City. With the railroad came tremendous growth. Adjacent to the tracks, hastily built frame buildings and tents sprang up, housing two grocery and general merchandise stores, a barber shop, a restaurant, a dance hall, and a blacksmith shop. Dozens of railcars were loaded every day with buffalo hides and meat while other cars full of grain, flour, and provisions arrived. The streets of Dodge were lined with wagons bringing in hides and meat and buying supplies from early morning until late at night.
These were years of lawlessness in Dodge City. The Army had ordered the slaughter of all buffalo, hoping to force the Indians off their lands and onto reservations.
This was a great little place to stretch our legs and talk to the shop owners. Of course, Randy had to drink a beer at the Long Branch Saloon and let Jan snap his picture. He and Jerry are both big "Gunsmoke" fans, having seen every single episode. The Long Branch was an actual saloon in old Dodge City and one of Doc Holliday's favorite hangouts. We meandered in and out of the different stores and stopped to grab a bite of lunch. This was the last planned "tourist" stop of our trip. When we rode out of Dodge City, we would be making a bee-line for Alabama. It had been another blue-sky day and we rode until dark caught up with us in Clinton, Oklahoma.
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