Our recent trip to Montana and Wyoming was rather spectacular. We stopped at museums and tourist attractions that caught our attention, as well as some national parks including the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota where we saw a wonderful herd of wild horses, including this beauty, and Yellowstone, where we saw buffalo, and buffalo, and did I mention buffalo?
Then we hit Cody, Wyoming. Officially incorporated in 1901 by Buffalo Bill Cody and several others, this little town stole my heart. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center hosts five separate museums, Buffalo Bill, Natural History and the Greater Yellowstone Area, Plains Indians, Western Art, and Firearms. It is all phenomenal and the gun museum exceptionally spectacular.
Here are a couple ‘inventions’ that never quite made it. A prelude to the Swiss army knife, (invented in 1892) was this multifunctional folding knife with a .22 caliber pistol invented in 1880. Yes it is huge and will not fit in a pocket! And this was an attempt to make a repeating pistol in 1866.
After that museum we visited a place called “Old Trail Town” which was fabulous. The cabins, well over a dozen, had all been donated by the land owners of where they had been originally built. Volunteers tore down the cabins log by log, numbering each long, and then rebuilt them.
Several of the cabins had been used by Butch Cassidy, The Sundance Kid, and the Hole in the Wall Gang. Visitors were allowed to walk inside each one, which are furnished with period and area antiques.
To me, this little town was the highlight of the trip. Among other amazing things, John Jeremiah-Liver Eating-Johnston—the inspiration for the 1972 movie, Jeremiah Johnson starring Robert Redford is buried at this trail town.
The shopping there was lots of fun, too. Of course they had your usual tourist shops, but I like to visit antique and pawn shops, and found two there that were amazing. If you enjoy old west museums, I’d recommend adding Cody, Wyoming to your must-visit list.
My next release isn’t set in Wyoming, but close—southern Montana. Snowbound with the Sheriff is a short Christmas tale that will be released December 1st from Harlequin. Here’s a short snippet:
“Can you help us or not?” a demanding voice asked.
Chayston couldn’t remember disliking someone on sight, but it was happening. This woman was making his stomach ferment like a barrel of apples turning into vinegar.
“He’ll help, all right,” Riley said. “This here is Sheriff Williams.” Gesturing toward the window with a thumb, Riley continued, “Chayston, meet Miss Violet Ritter from Cincinnati.”
Chayston didn’t bother glancing her way. He’d already known her name and where she was from.
The snow was thick and hard to plod through. As he passed the window, she asked, “Williams? Are you related to General Williams?”
“How long have you been pushing this thing?” Chayston asked, interrupting Riley before he could say more.
“Over a mile,” Riley answered. “I’ve been trying to hold up the back end. The front axels are turning, but the back one’s locked tight.”
Chayston’s well-placed kick was a mistake. The snow between the spokes was rock hard and the action shot a sting from his toe to his knee. Riley had been driving the stage for years, and there was no doubt the man had already tried everything within his power to get it rolling again. “You’ve been holding up the back end?”
“Not much else we could do,” Riley answered. “Tried shoveling, that just gave way for more snow to fall.” Lowering his rough and raspy voice, he added, “I didn’t dare pound on the axel too hard. If the wheel broke this close to the edge, the stage could tumble right over the hillside, taking your papa’s new bride with it.”