Mention Kansas and many aren’t sure what part of the USA you are talking about. Some think of Kansas City (as sung about by the Beatles), a city that is straddles the border between Kansas and Missouri, but they are still not sure where it is. Mention Dodge City and everybody knows where you are talking about - it’s the Wild West and Wyatt Earp! This is also big sky and big weather country, a fact that was brought home to us while driving south from Wichita towards Tulsa, Oklahoma, when a massive thunderstorm literally turned day into night.

Saloon & Southern Hotel, Cowtown, Wichita, KS, USA


Saloon & Southern Hotel, Cowtown, Wichita

Old Cowtown Museum is by far the best Open Air Museum that we have visited in the USA. Not only is it laid out like a real Mid West town, but care has been taken to ensure that it is consistently authentic to the mid Victorian era.  Too many  museums of this type have just cobbled together buildings from different places and from different eras, but here you can really believe that you are in the Wild West.

Interior of General Store, Cowtown, Wichita, KS, USA

Interior of General Store, Cowtown, Wichita

And even the interiors at Old Cowtown Museum ooze authenticity. Again, care has been taken to reproduce the range of goods that would be found in a General Store of the era, rather that just displaying what is readily available.

Historic Post Office Block, Abilene, Kansas, USA

Historic Post Office Block, Abilene

From the late 1860’s to the early 1870’s before the railroad reached Texas, Abilene in Kansas was the railhead for shipping Texan cattle east. The cattle were driven up the Chisolm Trail and with hundreds of cowboys arriving in the town at the end of a long cattle drive, it is unsurprising that Abilene became known as the wickedest & wildest town in the west. Wild Bill Hickok became known for his attempts to maintain law and order during those troubled times

'El Capitan' (Texas Longhorn) statue & 2nd Street, Dodge City, KS, USA

'El Capitan' (Texas Longhorn) statue & 2nd Street, Dodge City

Dodge City was founded in 1872. It quickly grew into a lawless city and became famous through the exploits of its peace officers including Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. Sadly there is little history left standing in Dodge City today. The Boot Hill Museum is a contrived attraction that lacks the authenticity of Old Cowtown in Wichita. At least the people of Dodge City have erected a monument to source on the city’s early wealth - the Texas Longhorn cow.

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- The Wild West history. particularly Cowtown. Kansas was at the heart of the Wild West.
- Keep a careful eye on the weather. We were lucky to encounter only a massive thunderstorm as Kansas is in an area known as tornado alley.
- The lack of attractions and scenery outside of the cities.
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