A.) [front side] The Dime Novel [ FLOOR PLAN ]
The Dime Novel was born in the early 1850's. This progenitor of the
modern novel, and some even say radio & TV serials, was one way the western
frontier was sensationalized and introduced to much of the rest of the world,
including Europe. Some of the historical references & stories were only
loosely based on fact, and others were shear fiction meant for entertainment.
But their mass appeal and the excitement they generated led to mass production
of cheap story books for all genre of literature. When higher
speed printing techniques and less expensive pulp paper became available at
the turn of the twentieth century, the dime novel fell out of vogue, replaced
by the modern, larger and more robust selling serial novels that cost proportionately
about the same.
B.) The Western Lawman [
FLOOR PLAN ]
One of the more notable lawmen of the old west was Wyatt Earp (March
19,1848 - January 13,1929. Though also a farmer, teamster, and sometimes buffalo
hunter, he was best known for his role in the group that also included his
two brothers Virgil and Morgan who were the actual Marshals, and his
associate Doc Holiday, who like himself was deputized temporarily for
the standoff against the outlaw Clanton gang in the famous Shootout
at the OK Corral.
Late in life Earp moved to Hollywood, and impressed a young movie
extra named John Wayne who based his western lawman character on the famous
C.) The Sod Busters [
FLOOR PLAN ]
In 1862 the United States government offered a "land grab"
to people who would go into the western plains states and Homestead it by
building a home & raising crops. Because there were so few trees in this
region, the pioneers built homes from sod and grass, and tilled the earth
to raise grains and vegetables. In the 75 years since Lewis and Clark mapped
a route to the western coast, the sod busters were key to populating the frontier
lands between the eastern cities and the western shores, creating many small
towns that grew into commerce centers and later, cities.
D.) The Native American Chieftain [ FLOOR PLAN ]
In their own cultures, many indian leaders were not regarded
as chiefs as we think of them today. Rather they were cooperative members
of a group of elders that governed a tribe. There were over 60 distinct tribes
in the American frontier in the middle of the 19th century.
Among latter-day chiefs, Red Cloud of the Sioux (1822 -1909) was
notable as a quiet man, simple and direct in speech, courageous in action,
an ardent lover of his country, and possessed in a marked degree of
the manly qualities characteristic of the American Indian in his best
E, F, G) The Wagon Train [
FLOOR PLAN ]
"Manifest Destiny" was the term for the great western migration of
the American pioneers following the exploration of the continent by Lewis
The phrase was used extensively by the Democratic party of president Andrew
Jackson after 1845 to promote the annexation of much of what is now the Western
United States (the Oregon Territory, the Texas Annexation, and the Mexican
Settlers would walk, ride horseback, or travel in caravans
of covered wagons to reach the new frontier.
The term fell out of usage by U.S. policy makers early in the 20th
century, but some commentators believe that aspects of Manifest Destiny, particularly
the belief in an American "mission" to promote and defend democracy throughout
the world, continued to have an influence on American political ideology.
H.) [front side] The Buffalo Soldiers [ FLOOR PLAN ]
The nickname of the all-black soldier regiments known as "Buffalo
Soldiers" began with the Cheyenne indian warriors in 1867. The actual Cheyenne
translation was Wild Buffalo. The name was given out of respect and the fierce
fighting ability of the 10th cavalry. But over time, "Buffalo Soldiers" became
a generic term for all African American soldiers. Some sources say that
the name "Buffalo Soldiers" was given to African American soldiers because
the Indians thought that their hair resembled a buffalo's curly fur.
From 1866 to the early 1890s these regiments served at a variety
of posts in the Southwestern United States (Apache Wars) and Great Plains
regions. They participated in most of the military campaigns in these areas
and earned a distinguished record. Thirteen enlisted men and six officers
from these four regiments earned the Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars.
In addition to the military campaigns, the "Buffalo Soldiers" served a variety
of roles along the frontier from building roads to escorting the U.S. mail.
H.) [back side] Tex Willer [
FLOOR PLAN ]
A modern spin-off of the "Dime Novel" the Tex Willer cartoon hero
stands as an icon of the wild west culture in Italy, where it is read by over
150,000 readers weekly. Ironically, it is virtually unknown in America.
I.) The Western Town [
FLOOR PLAN ]
Towns sprung up and thrived, and some became deserted and known as
"Ghost Towns" due to the turbulent nature of the times. Some of the notable
communities like Carson City, Deadwood and Tombstone are rich with cultural
significance and anecdotes from history that are widely known and popular
to this day.
Law and Order came slowly to the west, where often the rule of law
was determined by the grit of the frontier lawman, most commonly known as
"Sheriff" or Marshal. These usually robust men were charged with keeping order
where chaos was likely to erupt. And not all of the early "peace-keepers"
were entirely ethical or just.
J.) [front side] The Gold Rush [ FLOOR PLAN ]
The great California Gold Rush of 1849 was big, but it was not the
only one. Many people from the east left their homes and careers to strike
out for the gold to be found in the west. So too, did many other people from
as far away as Europe, Japan and China. Some miners hit it big, but most did
not. There were many methods employed, from pit mining in cooperation with
teams of people, to panning for gold in streams and rivers by the single
prospectors. In those times, an ounce of gold would buy a nice suit of clothes,
a good meal, and a nights stay in a fine hotel. Just about the same as it
K.) [front side] The Peace Pipe Ceremony [ FLOOR PLAN ]
Even still today, many believe that a powerful good for all
things can emanate from the respectful and proper use of the peace pipe, but
it must be regarded as a spiritual instrument by the pipe holder, whatever
their lineage or color happens to be. The pipe can become a strong catalyst
to import a powerful feeling for the Mother Earth and all living things.
The ceremonial use of the peace pipe is a simple ritual. The peace
pipe serves as a portable altar. It is loaded with tobacco, and only tobacco,
or a tobacco variation called kinnic kinnick, which is the bark of the red
willow. The pipe ceremony begins with loading tobacco, a natural
substance, into a pipe and then acknowledging the four directions, plus Mother
Earth and Father Sky. It culminates with the final offering to the Great Spirit.
The pipe is held firmly by the bowl in the palm of the hand with the stem
pointed outward. The last step of the pipe offering is the holding up of
the pipe with its stem pointed straight upward, out into the center of the
universe. The actual smoking was after all this ritual, and the true final
step. Actually inhaling the smoke is not a requirement. The smoke
itself represents the participants' visible breath and stands for truth: truthful
words, truthful actions, and
a truthful spirit.
L. [front side] The Buffalo Hunt [ FLOOR PLAN ]
One of the greatest images of the old west is that of the Indian
hunting the great buffalo. A particular and sacred thing, the buffalo and
the hunting of it, was revered by the indians as one of the "Great Spirit's"
most special gifts. For the Native American, no part of the animal was wasted.
But when the white trappers and later, the settlers came, the animal was
killed off to near extinction, due to the great waste of only taking the
fur (hide) and tongue. This did not happen very quickly though. It began
as early as the 1600's when the fur trade saw a great many beavers, other
small animals, and later buffalo hides being shipped to Europe. But by far
the greatest slaughter was the few decades between 1830 & 1860. From
an estimated 60 million to only a few hundred by the turn of the century,
today buffalo are farm raised in some areas of the west. Currently in all
public and private herds there are only about 150,000 buffalo on the American
L. [back side] Cowpokes & Bronco Busters [ FLOOR PLAN ]
Bronco busting and bull riding are action packed activities right
out of the old west that are still practiced today, though on a more limited
A man who could tame wild horses to be safely ridden was an important
man on the ranch of the old west. And cattle drovers led a rugged life moving
herds of cattle across the country for sale and distribution. Both jobs were
hard work and commanded respect.
In todays modern and mechanized world, there is not a big demand for
these trades as much, but they are still practiced. The modern Rodeo is a
direct offshoot of the activities of the rugged people.
K. [back side] The Medicine Man [ FLOOR PLAN ]
The medicine man was not always a male. The primary function
of these "medicine elders" is to act as a liaison and to secure the
help of the spirit world, including the Great Spirit (or Wakan Tanka in the
language of the Lakota Sioux), for the benefit of the community. Sometimes
the help sought can be for the purpose of healing disease, sometimes it can
be for the sake of healing the psyche, & sometimes the goal is to promote
harmony between human groups or between humans and nature. So the term "medicine
man" is not entirely inappropriate, but it greatly oversimplifies and also
skews the depiction of the people whose role in society complements that of
M, N, O.) The Saloon [
FLOOR PLAN ]
Just as today, people in the old west liked to unwind after
a hard days work with good fun and entertainment, and have a good meal and
a refreshing beverage while conversing or gaming with others. The saloon was
the place to go for all of this, and maybe even a room for the night, or
perhaps an hour. For all the notorious, steamy and seedy activities
that occurred in them, saloons were an integral part of western social commerce
and custom. Be it primarily a dance hall, gambling house, or purely a drinking
establishment, the saloon was one busy place.
P, Q.) Bank Robbery Photo Op [ FLOOR PLAN ]
Step between the gun sculpture and the Bank Robbery sculpture to step back
in time, and put yourself in the photo opportunity. But Please, DO NOT touch
J.) [back side] Portraits of Notable Persons of the Old West [ FLOOR PLAN ]
There were many characters that made the west wild, and some
that made the west safe. Here you will see a few examples of both.
* Crazy Horse - "Tashunka Witko" 1842 – 1877
Chief Crazy Horse is known as the greatest warrior ever of the Oglala Sioux
(Teton Lakota). He was fearless in battle, quiet and reserved
in camp, kind to his people, always helping the needy and was chosen as a
young man to be a shirt-wearer and chief. His most famous battle was
that of the Little Big Horn where Crazy Horse along with Sitting Bull and
other chiefs were able to outflank Custer’s soldiers and kill them. On the
day of the battle, as he often said when going into battle, Crazy Horse encouraged
his warriors by shouting “Hoka Hey! It is a good time to die!” Yet, on this
most furiously fought battle, he again did not receive a wound.
* Sitting Bull - "Tatanka Iyotaka" 1831-1890
He was the principal chief of the Dakota Sioux, who were driven from their
reservation in the Black Hills by miners in 1876, and took up arms against
the whites and friendly Indians, refusing to be transported to the Indian
territory. In June, 1876, they defeated and massacred Gen. George A. Custer's
advance party of Gen. Alfred H. Terry's column, which was sent against them,
on Little Big Horn River. They were pursued northward by General Terry.
* "Wild Bill" Hickok - James Butler Hickok 1837-1876
was born in Troy Grove, Illinois, on May 27, 1837. Famous for
his lethal gun skills, as well as his professional gambling, he was a U.S.
town marshal who unsuccessfully tried show business for a while after he
got fired from his marshal job for shooting more than just bad guys.
In Deadwood, on August 2, 1876, at Sweeney's Silver Dollar Saloon, Wild Bill
was shot dead while playing a game of low stakes poker at his usual table
in the corner near the door. Wild Bill held a pair of eights, and a
pair of Aces, which ever since that moment have been known as a "dead man's
* Billy "The Kid" - Henry McCarty (November 23, 2859(1) - July
was better known as Billy the Kid, but also known by the aliases Henry Antrim
and William Harrison Bonney. He was a 19th Century American Frontier
outlaw and gunman. He was reputed to have killed 21 men, one for each year
of his life.
* Annie Oakley - Phoebe Ann Oakley Mozee (Aug. 13, 1860- Nov.
Whether it be a pistol, rifle, or shotgun, the legendary markswoman Annie
Oakley was masterful with them all. Dubbed "Little Sure Shot" by Chief Sitting
Bull (she was 5 feet tall), her sharp shooting in Buffalo Bill's Wild West
Show won her many awards and captivated audiences far and wide. Her name
remains synonymous with firearms and entertainment.
* Geronimo - Goyaa³é 'One Who Yawns' (June 16, 1829- February
was a prominent Bedonkohe Apache leader of the Chiricahua Apache, led his
people's defense of their homeland against the U.S. military after the death
* "Buffalo Bill" Cody - William Frederick Cody (1846-1917)
known as Buffalo Bill, served as U.S. army scout, a buffalo hunter
for the railroad, and as a renowned prairie scouts. He is probably best know
as the man who gave the "Wild West" its name. In 1883, Cody created the Wild
West show, a vehicle that propelled him to fortune and worldwide fame and
helped create a lasting image of the American West.
* Jesse James - Jesse Woodson James (Sept. 5, 1847 - April 3, 1882)
After fighting with a guerrilla group in the Civil War, he and his brother
Frank James, and members of the James Gang, led numerous bank, train,
and stagecoach robberies in and around Missouri, before Jesse was murdered
for a reward by Robert Ford, a gang member. He became a figure of folklore
after his death.
R, S.) Town Scene [ FLOOR PLAN ]
More of the old west town scene. Just like today, commerce needed
to happen, but in some very real ways, Life was much simpler then.
A.) [back side] The Iron Horse [ FLOOR PLAN ]
The most significant contribution to the development of the west was
the great railroads. This did not come easily or without considerable cost
in terms of finance and the human factor. Many people died during the construction
of the railways.
Over the years after the transcontinental link was made, the railroad
did have its hand full with bandits and marauding indians. But what it did
for shipping and commerce made it possible for the westward expansion to be