Travel Features

Gunfighter Graves

One man’s obsession with graves turns into a 40-site-strong tour of some of the Old West’s fiercest gunfighters, lawmen, Indians and more.

gunfighter-graves-true-west

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“Doc Holliday...He Died in Bed.”

Wow, who knew this deathbed twist would jolt True West’s Facebook fans to generate the first major top-rated feed in the magazine’s social media history? It is shocking that tuberculosis turned out to be the loaded gun that claimed the life of one of the Old West’s most iconic gunfighters.

That milestone post’s 7,500 views has long been beaten, but the ungovernable passion that drives folks to walk the weeds to locate a lone marker or tombstone, and to tramp through out-of-the-way pioneer cemeteries, that won’t soon die out.

Just seeing a photo of the Doc marker stirred up Old West aficionados to chime in with stories and pictures of their visits to the O.K. Corral gunfighter’s marker of death.

Yes, our Old West heroes may be immortal in our minds, but they ended up six feet under, as we all will. Since we can’t rub shoulders with these frontier cowboys, lawmen, Indians and outlaws, the next best thing is to visit them at their final resting places, where their stories came to an end.

True West’s editors turned to none other than self-confessed tapophile, tombstone tourist, grave site connoisseur Bob Stinson to guide our readers on a 40-site-strong R.I.P. repertoire that pays respect to some Old West icons who still make their way into our hearts—beyond the grave and all.

—The Editors

 

*****

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Doc Holliday

Grave Site: Linwood Cemetery

Year Buried:1887

Where: Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Why You Should Pay a Visit: John Henry Holliday, more widely known as Doc Holliday, went west from Georgia for new opportunities and, likely, to help his tuberculosis. But the lure of the gambling dens (and his coughing) took him away from dentistry and into the life of a sporting man. He was a well-known figure in the boomtowns, where he drank heavily, played the cards and built a reputation (only partly accurate) as a dangerous man. He is best known for his friendship with Wyatt Earp and his involvement in Tombstone’s 1881 O.K. Corral gunfight.

Pay Your Tribute By: Taking a dip in the Glenwood Hot Springs pool, which opened, unfortunately, the year after the doc had succumbed to the tuberculosis he hoped would see relief from such healing waters.

 

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Liver-Eating Johnson

Grave Site: Original site was the Sawtelle National Cemetery in California, but he was reburied at Old Trail Town Cemetery.

Year Buried: 1900

Where: Cody, Wyoming

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Mountain man, Civil War vet, Indian fighter and scout, John “Liver-Eating” Johnson lived a life that was so cinematic, Hollywood made a movie based on him, 1972’s Jeremiah Johnson, starring Robert Redford. The actor even served as a pallbearer at Johnson’s reinterment at Old Trail Town in 1974.

Pay Your Tribute By: Cracking open a copy of Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson, the book that inspired schoolteacher Tri Robinson to petition to make Johnson’s wish come true: he wanted to be buried at his stomping grounds in the northern Rockies. That’s how he ended up in Cody.

 

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Outlaw Cowboys

Grave Site: Boothill Graveyard

Year Buried: 1881

Where: Tombstone, Arizona

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Frank and Tom McLaury and Billy Clanton may have rustled some cattle and associated with the wrong crowd, but they got more than they bargained for when they met up with the Earps and Doc Holliday one fateful afternoon in October 1881. They paid with their lives, and now they lie side by side forever. Billy Clanton’s ill-tempered brother, Ike, ran away from the confrontation and survived. While you are here, stop by Fred White’s grave; as Tombstone’s first town marshal, he got gunned down by Curly Bill Brocius in 1880. Other outlaw Cowboys laid to rest here include Old Man Clanton.

Pay Your Tribute By: Touring the famous O.K. Corral gunfight site and watching a daily two p.m. re-enactment of the shoot-out that claimed their lives.

 

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Johnny Ringo

Grave Site: Johnny Ringo State Historical Landmark on East Turkey Creek Road

Year Buried: 1882

Where: Cochise County, Arizona

Why You Should Pay a Visit: An enemy of the Earps and Doc Holliday and a friend to the outlaw Cowboys, John Peters Ringo probably was involved in the attempted assassination of Virgil Earp and the murder of Morgan Earp. Ringo was known as a gunfighter, but history does not record his gunfights. That’s what a reputation can do for you, as most men of the time wanted nothing to do with Ringo.

Pay Your Tribute By: Trying to track down Ringo’s grave site at Turkey Creek Canyon. He most likely committed suicide, while on a bender, near a large oak tree in West Turkey Creek. His grave is located on private property, but visitors are allowed; just ask permission at the house where the trail begins. Head over to nearby Willcox after visiting Ringo and say hi to Warren Earp in the Pioneer Cemetery.

 

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Belle Starr

Year Buried: 1889 / Where: Porum, Oklahoma

Grave Site: Near Belle Starr Cabin

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Myra Maybelle Shirley, better known as Belle Starr, provided a safe haven for many outlaws, especially the James-Younger Gang. In 1883, she was found guilty of horse theft in Judge Parker’s Fort Smith court and served time in Detroit. An unknown killer shot her dead while she was riding home in 1889.

Pay Your Tribute By: Visiting with Dr. Ron Hood, who restored Belle Starr’s grave site and relocated her 1850s cabin to Youngers Bend. Take highway nine from Eufaula Lake Dam and continue two miles down a dirt road; visitors are welcome, just be sure to ask permission, as this is private property.

 

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Kit Carson

Grave Site: Kit Carson Park & Cemetery

Year Buried: 1868

Where: Taos, New Mexico

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Mountain man Christopher Houston “Kit” Carson was one of the greatest scouts in history. John C. Fremont hired Carson to guide several exploratory expeditions of the West since he knew the land as well as the Indians did. Dime novels helped Carson’s legend grow, which is somewhat strange for a man who couldn’t read or write.

Pay Your Tribute By: Visiting the 12-room adobe Kit Carson bought in 1843. Now known as the Kit Carson Home & Museum, the house features mountain man exhibits that include Carson’s own Spencer carbine and beaded carrying case.

 

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Jesse James

Grave Site: Original site was the James homestead, but his grave was moved to Mount Olivet Cemetery in 1902.

Year Buried: 1882

Where: Kearney, Missouri

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Jesse Woodson James never conceded victory after the Civil War. He hated the Yankees and was a guerrilla fighter for the Confederates. His anger and bitterness carried over into his train and bank robberies. One of his own gang members, Bob Ford, turned against him and shot James in the back at the outlaw’s home in St. Joseph.

Pay Your Tribute By: Stopping by the James Farm and Museum in Kearney, the original location of James’s grave and his boyhood home. (The photo of James’s grave shows his mother standing at his original grave at the James homestead, before it was moved to Mount Olivet.)

 

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John Slaughter

Grave Site: Calvary Cemetery (City of Douglas Cemetery)

Year Buried: 1922

Where: Douglas, Arizona

Why You Should Pay a Visit: With the last name Slaughter and a height of five-feet-six-inches, you had better be able to kick some tail. John Horton Slaughter knew how to handle a gun. He was a Confederate soldier and Texas Ranger, as well as a cattleman in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. He also served as the Cochise County sheriff for two terms, helping clean up the lawlessness in Tombstone and surrounding areas.

Pay Your Tribute By: Visiting the San Bernardino Ranch that Slaughter purchased in 1884, which now offers up a museum sharing the lawman’s legacy as well as restored buildings that include the adobe ranch house.

 

custer gravesite

Grave Site: West Point Cemetery

Year Buried: 1876

Where: West Point, New York

Why You Should Pay a Visit: The United States Military Academy was established in 1802 and has had a number of legendary Americans pass through its gates. George Armstrong Custer finished at the bottom of his West Point class in 1861, yet led exemplary service during the Civil War, only to lead his 7th Cavalry troops to their demise at the Little Bighorn Battlefield in 1876.

Pay Your Tribute By: The Little Bighorn Battlefield in Garryowen, Montana, is another must-see place on every Old West history buff’s bucket list. Markers show the exact locations where Custer and his men fell.

 

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Geronimo

Grave Site: Apache POW Cemetery / Year Buried: 1909 / Where: Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Geronimo is probably one of the most recognizable names in the world. After years on the warpath, Chiricahua Apache warrior Geronimo achieved fame when he turned himself in for the final time in September 1886. He traveled with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and made appearances at numerous fairs and gatherings before dying in the prisoner of war camp in 1909, never achieving the freedom he had been promised.

Pay Your Tribute By: Heading to the Fort Sill Museum, on the original parade ground, to see the photographs and artifacts of the Chiricahuas who lived here until 1914.

 

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Pat Garrett

Grave Site: Originally buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery, he was then reinterred in the Masonic Cemetery in 1957.

Year Buried: 1908 / Where: Las Cruces, New Mexico

Why You Should Pay a Visit: The skinny, bean pole scoundrel who killed Billy the Kid, Patrick Floyd Jarvis Garrett got a sullied reputation after folks suggested he might have killed the Kid without any warning. After finishing out his term as Lincoln County sheriff, Garrett ranched and released his firsthand account (partly ghostwritten) about his experiences with the Kid. He died his own mysterious death, shot on the road, while talking with a rancher who he had leased grazing rights to in order to pay debts.

 

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Alfred Packer

Grave Site: Littleton Cemetery

Year Buried: 1907

Where: Littleton, Colorado

Why You Should Pay a Visit: This American prospector was accused of cannibalism while guiding a party in Colorado during the winter of 1873-74. Sentenced to prison for 40 years, Alfred (also known as Alferd) Packer got out on parole early, in 1901, only to die a few years later, at the age of 65, in Deer Creek.

Pay Your Tribute By: Hosting a summer picnic beneath the shade of the tree near the grave site. Don’t forget to wear your “Have a Friend for Lunch” t-shirt or hat, available for purchase at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Pep up the conversation by sharing some funny moments from Cannibal! The Musical, by the South Park co-creators.

Pay Your Tribute By: Visiting the site where Garrett died, approximately a half mile from the highway marker, south of Route 70, between Las Cruces and San Augustin Pass. If you want to see it, join the Billy the Kid Outlaw Gang based in Fort Sumner.

 

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Bill Doolin

Grave Site: Summit View Cemetery

Year Buried: 1896

Where: Guthrie, Oklahoma

Why You Should Pay a Visit: A member of the infamous Dalton Gang, Bill Doolin turned to train and bank robberies because ranching paid the cowboy peanuts. Legendary lawman Bill Tilghman captured him in 1896, but Doolin escaped his jail cell in Guthrie. Heck Thomas and his posse tracked him down to his father-in-law’s farm near Lawton and, after a warning, gunned down the outlaw in a hail of bullets and shotgun blasts; his chest had 20 buckshot wounds alone!

Pay Your Tribute By: Heading to downtown Guthrie to see the 1892 territorial prison. As Doolin proved, those 19-inch thick limestone and brick walls turned out to be escapable after all!

 

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William Bent

Grave Site: Las Animas Cemetery

Year Buried: 1869

Where: Las Animas, Colorado

Why You Should Pay a Visit: William Bent and brother Charles were among the West’s greatest trappers. They lived in two worlds—the white man’s and the Indians—and tried to fight white expansion while also making lots of money off of those settlers.

Pay Your Tribute By: Visiting the replica of Bent’s Old Fort, which the brothers, along with fellow trapper Ceran St. Vrain, opened on the Santa Fe Trail in 1833. Travelers could get a hot meal, rent a room, load up on supplies and hear the latest news from other pioneers passing through the area.

 

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Jack Slade

Grave Site: Salt Lake City Cemetery

Year Buried: 1864

Where: Salt Lake City, Utah

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Joseph Alfred “Jack” Slade was a respectable citizen and businessman...when he was not drinking. A driver for the Overland Stage Company, he was instrumental in establishing layover stations for the Pony Express. When he went on a bender, Slade became a dangerous man; he’d tear up saloons and anyone who got in his way. His continuous threats and violent behavior drove vigilantes to hang him in Montana in 1864. His body was placed in a tin coffin filled with alcohol until the following spring, when it was taken to Salt Lake City for burial; no one knows why it was not sent to his family in Illinois. Mark Twain helped popularize Slade by writing about him in his book, Roughing It.

Pay Your Tribute By: After your visit to the historic Mormon cemetery, check out a performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which began singing in 1847 at the first tabernacle, completed in 1851; the present dome-roofed tabernacle was completed in 1867.

 

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Black Jack Ketchum

Grave Site: Clayton Cemetery

Year Buried: 1901

Where: Clayton, New Mexico

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Along with his brother Sam, Thomas Edward Ketchum, better known as Black Jack, led the train-robbing Ketchum Gang. During an 1899 train robbery that he tried to pull off on his own, Black Jack got shot in the arm, which had to be amputated. Sentenced to hang for the robbery, he was decapitated at the gallows during a botched execution.

Pay Your Tribute By: Resting your head at the Hotel Eklund, first opened in 1892. While eating in the Victorian dining room, with its crystal chandeliers and marble fireplaces, think of Ketchum, who apparently watched the men put the finishing touches on his scaffold while he was eating his breakfast in Clayton, his last meal.

 

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Wyatt Earp

Grave Site: He had a church funeral in Los Angeles, but afterwards, he was cremated and his ashes were taken to Hills of Eternity Memorial Park.

Year Buried: 1929

Where: Colma, California

Why You Should Pay a Visit: A visit to Wyatt Earp’s grave site should be at the top of any Western history buff’s bucket list. The most famous lawman the Old West has ever known, Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was a true adventurer who spent his days in the rip roarin’ cattle towns of Wichita and Dodge City and the mining boomtowns of Deadwood, Tonopah, Tombstone and Nome. His involvement in Tombstone’s 1881 O.K. Corral gunfight forged his larger-than-life, legendary status.

Pay Your Tribute By: Leaving a rose at Josie Earp’s grave, who is buried with the lawman. Although the two never married, she was the love of his life, spending nearly 50 years together. Her Jewish heritage is the reason they are both interred at Hills of Eternity.

 

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Warren Earp

Grave Site: Pioneer Cemetery

Year Buried: 1900

Where: Willcox, Arizona

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Warren Baxter Earp rode with his infamous brother Wyatt and others on the legendary 1882 Vendetta Ride. On July 6, 1900, the quick-tempered Warren got in a fight with rancher Henry Hooker’s range boss, Johnny Boyett, who gunned Warren down in a Willcox saloon.

Pay Your Tribute By: Walking along Railroad Avenue to see the 1881 Southern Pacific Depot, which the Earps would have seen when they were in town. That street also hosts two museums that pay tribute to cowboy film actor Rex Allen and cowboy balladeer Marty Robbins.

 

custer gravesite

George Custer

Grave Site: West Point Cemetery

Year Buried: 1876

Where: West Point, New York

Why You Should Pay a Visit: The United States Military Academy was established in 1802 and has had a number of legendary Americans pass through its gates. George Armstrong Custer finished at the bottom of his West Point class in 1861, yet led exemplary service during the Civil War, only to lead his 7th Cavalry troops to their demise at the Little Bighorn Battlefield in 1876.

Pay Your Tribute By: The Little Bighorn Battlefield in Garryowen, Montana, is another must-see place on every Old West history buff’s bucket list. Markers show the exact locations where Custer and his men fell.

 

wild-bill-hickok-grave-site-south-dakota

Wild Bill Hickok

Grave Site: Mount Moriah Cemetery

Year Buried: 1876

Where: Deadwood, South Dakota

Why You Should Pay a Visit: James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok was a scout, gambler and lawman in some of the rowdiest cowtowns of the Old West. He was involved in one of the few documented face-to-face gunfights; across a town square in Springfield, Missouri, he put a bullet through Dave Tutt. He met his end when Jack McCall shot the famous gunfighter in the back of the head as he was playing poker.

Pay Your Tribute By: Downing some sarsaparilla at Saloon No. 10, where you will find yourself surrounded by mining camp artifacts from Hickok’s day. The gunfighter was actually killed at another Deadwood saloon, Nuttal & Mann’s, but that burned down in 1879. This saloon keeps the history alive by promoting the Aces and Eights story and all.

 

sam-bass-gravestone

Sam Bass

Grave Site: Round Rock Cemetery

Year Buried: 1878 / Where: Round Rock, Texas

Why You Should Pay a Visit: A cowboy who helped drive cattle from Texas to Kansas, Sam Bass gained notoriety as a stage and train robber, who, once, along with his gang, stole $60,000 from the Union Pacific Railroad. Chased by a posse of Pinkerton agents and Texas Rangers to Round Rock, Bass was shot and found alive in a pasture. He died soon after.

Pay Your Tribute By: Attending Round Rock’s Fourth of July celebration at Old Settlers Park, which re-enacts the Bass shoot-out every year—three times, even!

 

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Clay Allison

Grave Site: Originally buried in Pecos Cemetery, his remains were reinterred at Pecos Park in 1975.

Year Buried: 1887 / Where: Pecos, Texas

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Robert Clay Allison was one of the West’s great shootists, a word he apparently coined after he listed it as his occupation. He was discharged as a Confederate soldier because of his angry, psychotic behavior, likely caused by a head injury, but he rejoined Nathan Bedford Forrest’s group and served the rest of the war. A successful rancher, Allison supposedly danced on the bar in his birthday suit at the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, New Mexico. He had numerous confrontations that could have ended his life, but he died after a fall from his wagon caused the wheel to go over his head and break his neck.

Pay Your Tribute By: Visiting the West of the Pecos Museum, near Allison’s grave. Created from an 1896 saloon, this is a fitting place, considering Allison’s drinking habit, to absorb some Old West history.

 

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Emmett Dalton

Grave Site: Kingfisher Cemetery

Year Buried: 1937

Where: Kingfisher, Oklahoma

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Emmett Dalton was the only Dalton brother to survive the gang’s ill-fated dual bank robbery in Coffeyville, Kansas, in October 1892. Sentenced to life in prison, he got out on parole after 14 years and ended up writing a book about the Dalton Gang’s exploits, When the Daltons Rode.

Pay Your Tribute By: Visiting the Dalton cabin on the grounds of the Chisholm Trail Museum. The Dalton boys’ mother, Adeline, spent the last 16 years of her life in that cabin. When you visit Emmett in the cemetery, be sure to stop by her grave too.

 

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John Wesley Hardin

Grave Site: Concordia Cemetery

Year Buried: 1895

Where: El Paso, Texas

Why You Should Pay a Visit: This guy was so deadly, I felt scared to visit his grave. John Wesley Hardin supposedly killed 44 men, including one simply because he was snoring too loudly! One of the West’s most celebrated and despised gunfighters, Hardin was shot in the back of the head in 1895 while playing dice in El Paso’s Acme Saloon. Seems like the deadliest pistoleros always got it in the back; not many men had the pills to face them down.

Pay Your Tribute By: Standing at the site of the Acme Saloon on 274 E. San Antonio Avenue (look for the historical marker). Until last April’s fire, you could also see the Wells Fargo building where Hardin had his law office on the second floor; now it’s ashes. If that doesn’t encourage you to head out on these road trips while you can still see the sites, we don’t know what will!

 

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Billy the Kid

Grave Site: Old Fort Sumner Cemetery

Year Buried: 1881

Where: Fort Sumner, New Mexico

Why You Should Pay a Visit: At 21 years old, Henry McCarty, a.k.a. Billy the Kid, did more in his life then most people who live to be 100. Legend says he killed 21 men, one for every year he lived; in reality, he probably didn’t even kill five. When John Tunstall, the Kid’s mentor, was murdered, the Kid went on the war path, vowing to kill Tunstall’s murderers. The Kid was the featured player in the Lincoln County War, along with some other hard cases known as the Regulators. Shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett, the Kid is buried in the cemetery behind the Billy the Kid Museum.

Pay Your Tribute By: Learning the Kid’s story as you see with your own eyes the outlaw’s rifle, chaps, spurs (even locks of his hair) at the Billy the Kid Museum.

 

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Tom Horn

Grave Site: Columbia Cemetery

Year Buried: 1903

Where: Boulder, Colorado

Why You Should Pay a Visit: A former scout and Pinkerton detective, Tom Horn became known as the hired killer who, while drinking, “confessed” to the shooting of 14-year-old Willie Nickell. Most likely, Willie’s death was a case of mistaken identity; he had been shot from a long distance, wearing his father’s jacket and riding his father’s horse. Some believed the neighboring ranch family, the Millers, had a hand in the killing, given the two families’ long-standing feud. Whatever the truth, Horn was hanged in Wyoming for the murder.

Pay Your Tribute By: Visiting the grave of the one whose death ended Horn’s life. All True Westerners make it to Cheyenne, Wyoming, at least once in their life, after all. You’ll find Willie Nickell’s grave at Lakeview Cemetery. Stop by in July, and you can take in the rodeo and festivities at Cheyenne Frontier Days.

 

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Masterson Brothers

Grave Site: Willow Grove Cemetery

Year Buried: 1892 / Where: Buffalo, Wyoming

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Accused of rustling, Nate Champion and his small ranch peers felt cattle barons were squeezing them out. When the Johnson County War began in 1892, Champion was the main target. After hired gunmen killed his partner, Nick Ray, the lone Champion did his best to hold off his attackers. When they set his cabin on fire, he ran in a last-ditch effort to escape, but got hit by their bullets. His last journal entry read, “Goodbye, boys, if I never see you again.”

Pay Your Tribute By: Standing by the Champion statue at the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum. The Hoofprints of the Past Museum in Kaycee offers tours of Champion’s shoot-out site at the TA Ranch; this year’s Hole in the Wall Tour is June 22, so sign up before you miss your chance.

 

buffalo-bill-cody-gravesite

Buffalo Bill Cody

Grave Site: Lookout Mountain

Year Buried: 1917

Where: Golden, Colorado

Why You Should Pay a Visit: William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody was the greatest showman the Old West ever knew. He took his extravaganza to the people back East and Europe who had only heard about the Wild West from newspapers and dime novels. Not only did his shows include trick riding, shooting displays and re-enacted Indian battles and stagecoach holdups, Cody also had the smarts to feature real-life Western heroes, such as Wild Bill Hickok and Sitting Bull, among others.

Pay Your Tribute By: Heading inside the nearby Buffalo Bill Museum to view Cody artifacts such as the Stetson hat he wore during his last performance before his death, Sitting Bull’s peace pipe, voice recordings of Cody introducing his Wild West show, rare photographs and more.

 

sitting-bull-gavesite

Sitting Bull

Grave Site: Initially buried at Fort Yates,
North Dakota, the remains were supposedly dug up in 1953
and moved to Mobridge, South Dakota off U.S. 12.

Year Buried: 1890

Where: Mobridge, South Dakota (shown) or Fort Yates, North Dakota

Why You Should Pay a Visit: The leader of the Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux, Sitting Bull participated in a 36-hour Sun Dance and had a vision of an Indian triumph over white troops. Soon after, he led his warriors to the greatest victory in American Indian history, the 1876 Battle at the Little Big Horn. Faced with the near extinction of the buffalo, he surrendered in 1881 and eventually ended up on the Standing Rock Reservation. For four months in 1885, he toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, then ended up shot at his cabin by Lakota police in 1890.

Pay Your Tribute By: Heading to Standing Rock Reservation in Fort Yates, where a new Sitting Bull Visitor Center is due to open this May. This home to the original grave site for Sitting Bull may very well still contain his remains.

 

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Annie Oakley

Grave Site: Brock Cemetery

Year Buried: 1926

Where: Brock, Ohio

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Phoebe Ann Moses became known as Annie Oakley, a sharpshooter who rose to fame in a way most men then or now could only dream of doing. After she beat Frank E. Butler in a head-to-head shooting competition (possibly in 1875), her legend began to grow. She caught the attention of Buffalo Bill Cody, who cast her under the nickname “Little Sure Shot.” Oakley and Butler (whom she had married) became a trick shooting duo with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West extravaganza for 16 seasons.

Pay Your Tribute By: Heading to the Garst Museum, in nearby Greenville, which shares more about Oakley and her marriage to Frank. The staff will also tell you how Corps of Expedition leaders Lewis and Clark met here in 1795.

 

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Sam Houston

Grave Site: Oakwood Cemetery

Year Buried: 1863

Where: Huntsville, Texas

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Samuel Houston led his men to a victory in San Jacinto, after Gen. Santa Anna’s Mexicans had won a major battle at the Alamo, which allowed the Texians to win the overall war. The military hero went on to become the governor of two states, president of the Republic of Texas and a U.S. senator. No wonder Texas named its largest city after him.

Pay Your Tribute By: Checking out the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, which has memorabilia and relics from this legendary Texan’s life, plus Houston’s Woodland cabin, where his family lived from 1847-59.

 

nate-champion-grave-site

Nate Champion

Grave Site: Willow Grove Cemetery

Year Buried: 1892 / Where: Buffalo, Wyoming

Why You Should Pay a Visit: Accused of rustling, Nate Champion and his small ranch peers felt cattle barons were squeezing them out. When the Johnson County War began in 1892, Champion was the main target. After hired gunmen killed his partner, Nick Ray, the lone Champion did his best to hold off his attackers. When they set his cabin on fire, he ran in a last-ditch effort to escape, but got hit by their bullets. His last journal entry read, “Goodbye, boys, if I never see you again.”

Pay Your Tribute By: Standing by the Champion statue at the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum. The Hoofprints of the Past Museum in Kaycee offers tours of Champion’s shoot-out site at the TA Ranch; this year’s Hole in the Wall Tour is June 22, so sign up before you miss your chance.


judge-issac-parker-gravesite-fort-smith-arkansas

Judge Isaac Parker

Grave Site: Fort Smith National Cemetery

Year Buried: 1896

Where: Fort Smith, Arkansas

Why You Should Pay a Visit: The infamous “Hanging Judge” Isaac Charles Parker once had six men hanged at the same time. Indian territory was a wild, lawless place and Judge Parker had to rule with an iron fist. He actually was against the death penalty; of the thousands of cases brought before him, only 79 men had their necks stretched.

Pay Your Tribute By: Walking around Parker’s courtroom and gallows at the Fort Smith National Historic Site.

 

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