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Friday, July 29, 2016

Visiting Dodge City

Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2011, at 5:21 PM

Recently visited Dodge City and walked Front Street with its recreated store fronts from the years of cattle drives and wild Texas cowboys, a number of whom made it a one-way trip, joining others of the intemperate stripe on Boot Hill under board markers with inscriptions like, "Dead-eye Fred lost his dead-eye from too much red-eye." We drank sasparilla in the Long Branch Saloon and walked the boardwalk, inspected a blacksmith shop and stopped in a chapel. You leave with a sense of what it was like in the 1880s, striving to build a community from scratch on the windy plains of Kansas, although the bartender advised that the original street was down the hill in the parking lot and over toward Applebee's. He said James Arness and others from "Gunsmoke" were there a number of times, participating in functions and dedications. Of course, there was no real Marshal Matt Dillon and the Long Branch is based on the TV version, but you expect a show business element with "Gunsmoke" having done so much to augment Dodge City's fame. There was no towering lawman with a silver badge and a foot-long pistol to say, "Get out of Dodge," but we left with the satisfaction of having learned more about it, fact and fiction.

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James R. Campbell
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