1800s 1900s Attractions Fur Trade History Nebraska Old West Round Ups Travel U.S.

Best Places to Find Frontier & Old West Cowboy Adventures in Nebraska


The cattle drives of the late 1800s took the cattle — and the cowboys — to the younger state of Nebraska. In truth, Nebraska historian, Nellie Snyder Yost, referred to it as “God’s personal cow nation.” Whereas we frequently consider states like Montana and Texas as cowboy nation, if you get proper right down to it, there’s numerous cowboy historical past in Nebraska simply ready to be found and skilled.

Excessive Plains Homestead

Sheriff's office and jail at the High Plains Homestead in Nebraska.

Sheriff’s workplace and jail on the Excessive Plains Homestead in Nebraska.

There’s one thing about visiting the badlands that all the time makes me consider the previous west and outlaw days. Perhaps it’s the rugged terrain or perhaps it’s how straightforward it’s to lose one thing — or get misplaced — in all these crevices and coulees. Regardless of the cause, it’s undoubtedly the right setting for the Excessive Plains Homestead close to Crawford, NE.

Excessive Plains Homestead is many issues, from a spot to hold your hat and crawl right into a bunk for the night time, to an Previous West settlement with a variety of historic buildings. One in every of my favorites was an unique jail cell. Certainly, most of the buildings have been saved from different places and rehabilitated. It isn’t Disney–it’s genuine.

Keep on the Excessive Plains Homestead

Barn and corrals at the High Plains Homestead in Nebraska. Barn and corrals at the High Plains Homestead in Nebraska.

Barn and corrals on the Excessive Plains Homestead in Nebraska.

Once you go to, you’ll discover that the buildings are principally weathered log cabins. Again in pioneer days, settlers needed to construct a 12 x 12 cabin as a way to fulfill homesteading obligations. Native lore has it that some homesteaders tried constructing cabins in inches, fairly than ft measurements. The federal government, in fact, didn’t respect the humor! Whereas the mail-order brides who arrived may need discovered the area somewhat cramped, log cabins little question beat the sod homes. Certainly, many have been carved out of the protein wealthy grass the place first nice herds of bison roamed, then later, cattle.

Now, you possibly can take a peek inside the varied buildings and spend the night time. My favourite cabin was the “Honeymoon Homesteader” (you’ll be able to even have your wedding ceremony on the Homestead!). Favor to deliver your personal lodging? That works too, as you’ll be able to camp or use the RV amenities.

Entrance Road and Cowboy Museum in Ogallala

Front Street and Cowboy Museum in Ogallala, Nebraska.Front Street and Cowboy Museum in Ogallala, Nebraska.

Entrance Road and Cowboy Museum in Ogallala, Nebraska.

Whereas the Excessive Plains Homestead takes you to the sting of the badlands to expertise an evening within the Previous West, Ogallala’s Entrance Road and Cowboy Museum provides you a extra city expertise simply off the I-80 interchange.

Within the final many years of the 1800s, Ogallala was the top of the path for hundreds of cowboys — and a whole lot of hundreds of cattle. So, almost 60 years in the past a gaggle obtained collectively to make sure that historical past was preserved and constructed Entrance Road. Whereas the enterprise was bought in 2016, the brand new house owners have continued its traditions.

Entrance Road supplies an amazing place to take pleasure in a cowboy meal. Deal with your self to a Nebraska steak and glass of Sarsaparilla (a very fashionable drink within the late 1800s), or the cowboy favourite, a slice of pie. It additionally has a free cowboy museum filled with memorabilia of cowboy life that’s enjoyable to wander by way of.

For those who plan your go to nicely, you may also take within the Entrance Road Crystal Palace Revue. The wild previous west shoot and musical out has been operating summers greater than half a century!  And should you’re on the lookout for an awesome place to remain, the very snug Stagecoach Inn is close by.

Boot Hill Cemetary in Ogallala

Boot Hill Cemetery in Ogallala, Nebraska. Boot Hill Cemetery in Ogallala, Nebraska.

Boot Hill Cemetery in Ogallala, Nebraska.

You’ll discover a lot of cemeteries named Boot Hill throughout the American West. Historical past.internet claims the primary was in Tombstone, Arizona, which was specified by plots in 1878. Dodge Metropolis, nevertheless, had an earlier model the place these with no technique of help–or buddies–have been buried between 1872 and 1878.

And why was Boot Hill such a standard identify for a cemetery? Nicely, its normal residents died with their boots on, typically because of a run-in with lawmen.

The Boot Hill Cemetery in Ogallala has no particular document of its first inhabitants. Slightly, it served as the ultimate cease for many who misplaced their lives within the city reputed to be probably the most violent on the Texas (Western) Cattle Path between 1870 and 1885.

Cattle Drives

Trail Boss Statue in Boot Hill, Ogallala, Nebraska. Trail Boss Statue in Boot Hill, Ogallala, Nebraska.

Path Boss Statue in Boot Hill together with grave markers, Ogallala, Nebraska.

At the least one million cattle tramped up the path from Texas, together with a whole lot of path drovers, to the path’s finish at Ogalalla. Why? To be fattened up by native ranchers. Come fall, they have been shipped east on the newly arrived Union Pacific railroad automobiles to satisfy the rising demand for beef.

For a decade or so, from 1874, the cattle business and cowboys dominated the financial system of Ogallala.

Path bosses, just like the one endlessly immortalized on Ogallala’s Boot Hill, tried to maintain a decent rein on their inventory — and their drovers. Te sculpture above, of The Path Boss (a reproduction of 1 in Dallas, Texas) changed an earlier statue of a cowboy that was moved to the Ogallala Livestock Public sale Market in 2007.

About forty-eight our bodies are buried on Boot Hill in Ogallala. Locals say there might even be extra. Some have been youngsters, some ladies, however most who ended up on Boot Hill really did die with their boots on — and a weapon of their palms.

Nationwide Pony Categorical Monument – Sidney, Nebraska

National Pony Express Monument in Sidney, Nebraska. National Pony Express Monument in Sidney, Nebraska.

Nationwide Pony Categorical Monument in Sidney, Nebraska.

Relating to males driving horses within the Previous West, none are extra legendary than the riders of the Pony Categorical. Certainly, it took simply 10 days for pony categorical riders to hold mail for 1800 miles from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California.

Mail in these days, in fact, sometimes took a for much longer time to get from east to west by stagecoach. Began by a freight firm in Nebraska Metropolis, the Pony Categorical was initially a publicity stunt aimed toward touchdown a authorities contract to move the mail. And in case you assume postage is excessive now, these first letters value $5 per ½ ounce! Postage was later decreased to $1 per ½ ounce.

In complete, 183 males rode for the Pony Categorical. The youngest was a mere 11, and the oldest in his mid-40s, and every earned $100 a month. Whereas the time span was brief, from April three, 1860, to October 24, 1861, the Pony Categorical left a big imprint on American historical past.

Nebraska’s Nationwide Pony Categorical monument, unveiled on the 150th anniversary re-ride in 2010 by the Nationwide Pony Categorical Affiliation, celebrates that historical past. It’s straightforward to seek out in one other historic spot in Sidney, Nebraska — within the nook of the parking zone for the primary Cabela’s clothes shop retailer.

Museum of the Fur Commerce – Chadron, Nebraska

Diorama of voyageurs paddling across America on display at the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, NE. Diorama of voyageurs paddling across America on display at the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, NE.

Diorama of voyageurs paddling throughout America on show on the Museum of the Fur Commerce in Chadron, NE.

The fur commerce was North America’s first business business. From the 16th century on, fur merchants paddled the rivers, arrange buying and selling posts, and made alliances that modified modified historical past. Guests can step again via time into that historical past at The Museum of the Fur Commerce in Chadron, Nebraska.

The Lindeken Exhibit Corridor celebrates the three centuries when the canoe males or the voyageurs adopted North America’s rivers and streams into the inside. It was a time earlier than maps — between 1804 and 1806 William Clark is credited with getting ready 140 maps on the Lewis & Clarke journey throughout America. However they weren’t the primary mapmakers. Actually, additionally they collected about 30 maps from early fur merchants and trappers.

Later, into the top of the 1800s, pink river carts have been used for overland transportation of the furs. These have been typically constructed by the Metis (descendants of the voyageurs and their native wives), with iron bands for the wheels added by wheelwrights employed by the fur corporations.

Certainly one of these carts might carry as much as 800 or 900 kilos of commerce items, or furs, on the return journey. The museum has a gorgeous duplicate of this transportation innovation on show.

Steerman Firearms Corridor

Display of rifles from the War of 1812 in the Fur Trade Museum in Chadron, NE.Display of rifles from the War of 1812 in the Fur Trade Museum in Chadron, NE.

Show of rifles from the Struggle of 1812 within the Fur Commerce Museum in Chadron, NE.

The Museum of the Fur Commerce has the most important, and most full, assortment of weapons made particularly for commerce with the early Indian inhabitants of the continent. Many are merely named as Northwest weapons, together with the years they have been constructed. Others embrace Hawken rifles, buffalo weapons, even Remingtons.

The years on the data playing cards for every gun or rifle have been sufficient to seize my consideration. Actually, the gathering consists of the earliest recognized intact commerce gun, which was made within the Netherlands earlier than 1650!

Gunpowder and Gunpowder Horns

Display of gunpowder at the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, NE. Display of gunpowder at the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, NE.

Show of gunpowder on the Museum of the Fur Commerce in Chadron, NE.

And there have been plenty of items being transported by numerous fur corporations for commerce with the native individuals! You’ll be able to see many of those items within the museum, together with the world’s most complete assortment of textiles traded throughout this period (Bevin B. and Maxine Bump Exhibit Corridor).

Nevertheless, it was the show above, of gunpowder and gunpowder horns, that amazed me. Whereas I’d definitely learn tons about gunpowder — and seen black powder rifles fired — I hadn’t anticipated the superbly adorned tins and variously formed horns traded to locals.

Outside Reveals

Trading Post at the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, NE. Trading Post at the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, NE.

Linda Aksomitis standing outdoors the Buying and selling Submit on the Museum of the Fur Commerce in Chadron, NE.

In addition to 4 exhibit halls and a museum store contained in the white-plastered central constructing, there are a selection of out of doors reveals.

The buying and selling publish above, a trustworthy reconstruction of the unique 1837 construction, was my favourite. It sits subsequent to Bordeaux Creek, which was named for James Bordeaux, the fur dealer who ran it throughout its peak years.

Different buildings embrace the Commerce Room the place the fur merchants and trappers labored out their offers. What have been issues value again then?

  • Flintlock gun – 5 buffalo robes
  • Medium blanket – three buffalo robes
  • 5 yards of print cotton materials – 1 buffalo gown
  • 50 bullets 1 lb powder – 1 buffalo gown

There’s additionally a gown press used to bale the buffalo robes. Every winter, the Bordeaux Publish took in a few thousand tanned buffalo robes. When folded (hair to the within), the robes measured 2 ft by three ft in measurement. Japanese consumers purchased the robes for mattress covers, and lab robes for touring and coats.

The Indian Backyard was additionally outdoors. Grown from seeds collected over a century-and-a-quarter in the past by a Dakota horticulturist, Oscar Will, the crops embrace midget Mandan tobacco, Assiniboin flint corn, and blue-kernelled little corn.

Concerning the Museum of the Fur Commerce

Various artifacts in the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, Nebraska. Various artifacts in the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, Nebraska.

Numerous artifacts within the Museum of the Fur Commerce in Chadron, Nebraska.

I assumed I knew quite a bit concerning the fur commerce till I visited the Museum of the Fur Commerce. Was I ever fallacious! In reality, the inspiration of the museum is in its library and analysis program. Their library has about 10,000 volumes on the fur commerce and associated subjects. Additionally they have tons of of rolls of microfilm of fur firm data.

My information of the fur commerce revolved round Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Firm and The Northwest Firm. What I’d missed coated the globe, because the fur commerce was carried on from Greenland to Alaska and Hudson’s Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. That’s a whole lot of territory. And all of it’s a part of the Museum’s analysis.

Certainly, the Museum has been constructing its library and assortment of artifacts — there are 6000+ main objects — since 1949. At the moment, Charles Hanson, together with others all in favour of preserving fur commerce historical past, created an affiliation that hoped to handle an 1830s buying and selling publish in Colorado. When the plans didn’t work out, they discovered the location at Chadron and opened the museum there in 1955.

Plan Your Go to to These Previous West Points of interest

Should you’d wish to plan your personal journey to expertise frontier and cowboy days in Nebraska, listed here are some assets to get you began.

Northwest Excessive Nation
Entrance Road Cowboy Capital
Museum of the Fur Commerce
Ogallala Keith County Chamber of Commerce
The Pony Categorical Nationwide Historic Path & Monuments
Excessive Plains Homestead Nebraska


I visited these previous west websites on a press journey hosted by the Nebraska Tourism Fee and native CVBs. Whereas I used to be hosted, I retain full editorial management of the articles I write after taking this journey.

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