Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

The Do This part of Yesterday’s Post

Saturday July 19, 2014
Frontier Fort Campground
Jamestown, North Dakota

 


There are actually two things you might want to do in Jamestown North Dakota.

One we did, and one we’d like to do.  First the one we’d  like to do because it’s short since we haven’t done it, yet.

How about traveling for a week in a wagon train on the North Dakota Prairie in June?  Folks have been dressing in period costume to do this since 1969.   I’ve borrowed just a few pictures from their website where you can get more information if you’d like to sign up for next June’s trip.  But let me warn you, it’s really popular and done by “first come first served”.  So you’d better get your reservations in if you want to be one of the first 120 people who get to take the trip of a  lifetime.  You can ride your horse if you’d rather.   Winking smile

 

Coffee on the fireA gal slicing bread in pioneer clothing during the Ft. Seward wagon train, photo by S. KluversA family in pioneer type clothing, photo by S. Kluvers

 

 

2009 Wagon train traveling on the trail, photo by L. Deutscher

 

Am I the only one that thinks this looks like tons of fun and a once in a life time opportunity??
Boy do I wish I’d known about this when we came to North Dakota last time and slept in a sod house.  Carrie was 11 and she would have loved this.  

Some days maybe rainy, photo by J. TurnerSome wagon train participants, photo by J. Turner

 

 

 

Now for the thing we did do.

 

 

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Just down the street from us is the Frontier Village, a recreated prairie town which appears to have been arranged around a General Store that had existed on the property.

Several log cabins, a church, a one room school house, a saloon, barbershop, bank, jail and many other buildings run along both sides of Frontier Street. Admission is free, donations are encouraged.  And clearly with all they do here they could use them.

 

 

After a heavy work day yesterday and this morning, we take the afternoon to go over and check it out.

 

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Definitely some differences between then and now at the General Store.

 

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I doubt the one room school would have been located right next to the general store but since it was the first building move here, it was. North Dakota still has one room school houses.

I tried to find a link to this article posted inside the school but I was unsuccessful.  So I’ve put the two pages here.  If you are interested, just click them to enlarge and do Ctrl + to make them large enough to read.  Really interesting.   Having been a teacher, my bet is that if this young woman stuck with this, these kids would learn more in less time than in a bigger school. 

 

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Take a close look at the safe in the bank, it will be robbed just a bit later in the day.

 

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I wonder if he’s in the Guinness Book of World Records??

 

We walk down one side of town stopping in each building. It the end of the street we find the World’s Largest Buffalo. Yes you heard me right, The WORLD’S largest buffalo (actually aren’t they bison?).

I really love this guy.  Isn’t he just fabulous!!

 

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Hope he doesn’t step on me.

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Here is the plaque with his impressive statistics. Do you notice the oops?  Guess it would be pretty hard to use white out to correct it.   HA!  How many of you are too young to even know what white out is??

 

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There’s also a great view of him from a distance.  He looks pretty majestic.

 

 

After spending some time with said buffalo, recently named Dakota Thunder, we walk back up the other side of the “town”. Seems to me it should be called Frontier Town not village. They didn’t have “villages” in the Wild West for heaven’s sake.

 

 

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On our way back up, I notice two things that might be of interest to Carrie. There is a Wild West Law Office and we run into a wedding party posing for pictures amid all the tourists. Not sure how they managed it. People were so inconsiderate, just walking right into their pictures or into the background. I wonder if they are getting or got married in the church. The “village” closes down at 6:00 and I read that you can rent the church for $50. It looks like it would hold about 70 or 75 people.

 

 

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I know I’ve seen this guy in a similar situation recently.

 

Isn’t this the same guy they had locked up in the brig at Fort Wilkins for insubordination?? 
I’d better ask the sheriff what he’s in for this time? 

 

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If Grain Belt Beer is a craft brew, I’ll never get him out of here.

 

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Jamestown brags about its famous residents, both of them, sultry songstress Peggy Lee of Fever fame and Louis L’Amour.

They have moved Louis’ writer’s shack to Frontier Village and you can go in and see his typewriter and a display of all his western novels. You can even buy a used hardback for $12.99 if you like.

 

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What would a frontier town be without some bison out on the range?

From there we walk down to the National Buffalo Museum. Admission is $5 for adults or $4 for seniors.

 

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The museum looks interesting. But it is too pretty a day to spend inside a museum. We choose instead to watch the buffalo in the 200 acre “pasture” behind the museum and the town. 

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After taking some pictures of the bison in the field, we go into the museum store before heading back to town. While we are in there, someone comes in and says the Albino Buffalo is out in the field. I understand this is pretty usual since the albino mostly stays out of the sun. But we hustle out there. 

At first I’m not sure this is the white bison named White Cloud but it is definitely a blonde bison.    S/he was pretty far away and mostly lay in the grass every once in a while rolling in the dirt I assume to get the bugs off.  It’s possible that her coat from her shoulders back is white but she had shed it for the summer and only her skin was visible.  It was white.  

I borrowed a picture of White Cloud from the web for comparison.   I’m thinking now that it must have been her.  If so, we were very lucky to have seen her.   

 

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The story of the white buffalo is interesting and why she is so sacred to the Lakota is an important story but too long for this post.  If you are unfamiliar with the Legend of White Buffalo Calf Woman, this link will explain it.

 

The National Buffalo Museum’s first white Buffalo, White Cloud (Mahpiya Ska in Lakota) was born on July 10, 1996 on a private farm in Michigan, North Dakota. She has been certified a true albino bison.

On May 23, 1997, through special arrangement with her owners, White Cloud joined the herd at the National Buffalo Museum. She gave birth to her first calf in July 2000. it was brown. Three more brown calves followed. Then on August 31, 2007, White Cloud gave birth to her fifth calf, a white buffalo. This calf, a bull, was named Dakota Miracle. On May 31, 2008, one of the herd’s brown buffalo gave birth to a white buffalo calf which was named Dakota Legend.

 

So where are the cowboys in this town?

 

I am surprised when I look at my watch to see that it is almost 3:00.  I hadn’t thought we would be in Frontier Village that late but since we were, we hang around for the shoot out.

As best as I can tell there are 2 saloon gals, 4 outlaws, a sheriff and two deputies and 2 fine ladies riding the stage through town. The “gang” first robs the store, then they rob the stage, then they rob the bank and finally they get gunned down in the street.

The players had a good crowd and it was fun. The only problem was that their sound man must have gotten his Saturdays mixed up and didn’t show so nobody had a mike. This made it much more difficult for the audience. Luckily I was down close to the action so I could get most of it.

 

 The Prospector                                                                                                      The Deputy

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The Bad Guy                                                                              The Schoolmarm, she witnessed the robbery

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The town’s pretty peaceful.  The “girls” come out of the saloon.  Folks are playing poker, including two young players from the crowd learning the game.

 

 

Seems like these ladies know these deputies pretty well doesn’t it?

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Apparently two fellas have been romancin’ the same girl and she comes in to town to marry one of them and the guys get into a gun fight over it.   So the judge has to decide.  Good luck with that!

 

 

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In the mean time, there’s a lot of robbery going on. 

 

First it’s the bank.  The villain escapes through the unsuspecting crowd.

 

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And then it’s the stage.

 

 

Check out the look on the stage driver’s side kick when asked to toss down his gun.  This kid has a future as an actor.

 

 

 

There’s something wrong here.

The robbers are of course walking down the main street of town with their loot.  Up comes the Sheriff; he wings one of them.  But there’s something wrong here.  The bad guy, not the sheriff has the white hat on.  But I guess the sheriff has a white shirt.  But then so does the other outlaw.  Sheesh, how are we supposed to keep them straight?

 

 

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They try to get away.  All the lawmen appear and that’s it for the gang.  They are dead all over the street.  The bad guys do always lose right?

 

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The troop of 15 calls themselves the Wild West Players and they perform the last Saturday in May, 2 Saturdays in June, 2 in July and every Saturday in August at 3pm.

You can actually take a ride in that stage if you like. $5 and it runs all day long.

 

So if you are traveling across North Dakota on I-94, stop by Jamestown, catch the show, Dakota Thunder and hopefully a look at White Cloud.  Just be careful where you stay.  There are several other RV campgrounds in town although we didn’t check them out.

Tomorrow we are off to Theodore Roosevelt National Park a place we expect to be just our style.  It will give our solar a good test since there are no hook ups at all.   See you then.

 

 

THE END

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25 comments:

  1. I am familiar with the white buffalo story and would love to see one. It seems amazing that two more have since been born.

    Years ago I read a lot about the women who came west on wagon trains, and how extraordinarily difficult their lives were, especially because a great many of them had little or no contact with other women. Since then I have lost any romantic idea I've ever had about the pioneers.

    It looks like ND has some severe weather, so please take care. I hope you enjoy Theodore Roosevent NP, and I look forward to hearing your impressions of both units of the Park.

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  2. Great pics of the White Buffalo. Lots of crime in that small town :). Enjoy the park- I hope your solar does well.

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  3. Oh my gosh, at first I thought they'd recruited David to play the part of the judge! You can always tape on a fancy mustache! Wonder if Carrie will go for the Wild West Wedding? Looks like a fun day. Reminds me of my childhood when we would go to Ghost Town (Maggie Valley, NC) and Tweetsie Railroad (Blowing Rock, NC) for the gun fights! Hope the move goes (went) smoothly!

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  4. I wish we'd have been there for the show. It was free then, but no show. We saw two white bison and it was a real treat. The museum was OK but nothing to rave about.

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  5. Wow! There was more to that town than I knew :) We overnighted there a couple years ago just traveling through. Same campground as you but had no issues. Maybe because we weren't there long.

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  6. I like how they have the "contributions please" sign right in front of the jail cell. Ha! Beautiful dress that bride had on - I cannot imagine wanting to have my wedding there, but, if that is your history and something you/your family is proud of, I can imagine that would be really neat! Too bad the people were not considerate of their pictures; that's what you get in a public place. That is one HUGE buffalo! They must be quite proud of him. The acting sounds fun; too bad the sound man wasn't there, but, it still sounds like a good time. Glad there was something redeeming in Jamestown given the yucky campground - hopefully, the next site will be lovely and the solar works great!

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  7. Enjoyed the show through your eyes. I love stuff like that.

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  8. A wagon train ride, fascinating! I have read several books about the pioneers who made the trip to the wild west and boy was that a grueling trip. This "vacation" would be wagon train lite in comparison! Every time I read one of those books I thank my lucky stars I was born ~50 years ago instead of 150 years ago!

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  9. Couldn't see the plaque good enough to pick out the oops. Maybe when I was younger I would have enjoyed a week on a wagon train.

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  10. I was so happy to see Winona tucked in the trees at the top of the post......
    The return of white buffalo(s) gives me hope for our spiritual health. Ironic that they are now protected by "the government" :-). A good thing I think.
    Looks like a fun day in the little town, and a good size crowd to see the show. The gun "shots" seem so loud at those - I jump every time they fire!!!

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  11. Another great and varied day.... don't think I could manage the week on the wagon train....guess I would miss the creature comforts of my truck seat!! Again where my want to and can do part ways :(.

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  12. That was a really fun post! I'd have thunk that you'd been less afraid of getting stepped on by the World's Largest Buffalo than getting hit by the World's Largest Buffalo "Pie"! :cD

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  13. OH yea, I want to ride the covered wagons. Would be a dream come true. Cute little town. Glad there's something good about James Town.

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  14. I think the wagon train would be FUN!!! I remember in 1959, yes, long ago. there was a reenactment wagon train that left St Louis and went ALL the way to Oregon, we saw it roll into Hillsboro at the end of the trip, those people looked REALLY tired!!! It was for Oregon's Centennial Celebration.. We wore pioneer dresses to school the whole week of Valentine's Day, which is the actual day. Learned square dancing... long ago.

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  15. Which one of the wagons carried the wifi? I'd be more than content just reading someone's blog post about the wagon train.

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  16. My husband (then boyfriend) grew up in Jamestown. I was in the band and we played at the dedication of the buffalo. We were seated under the thing which was good as it was the only shade as we suffered thru boring speeches from dignitaries. Jamestown hasn't changed much in all those years. We wander back rarely and only for HS reunions. Glad you found the good in this place…..there are no real decent CG in the area. But it was a great place to grow up.

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  17. I would enjoy the show. The schooner trip might be a different story:) It could be fun, but it could also be work!

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  18. Glad you were able to find something enjoyable in the neighborhood ;o)) We just spent some up close time with bison but none were that LARGE!!! Looking forward to your next adventure and hoping the solar works just perfectly:o))

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  19. Carrie definitely would've loved this when she was 11!

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  20. I love those wild west town mockups. A little hoakie, but fun! What a huge Buffalo statue :)

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  21. I think the ND prairie wagon train week would be a real hoot. You would have to like your travelling companions real well to take a week together in a buckboard. Could be brutal with those hard wheels and primitive springs but it would bring to life some of the hardships the pioneer settlers faced in just getting out there.

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  22. That sounded like a fun day. Lucky you to get to see White Cloud. What a pretty buffalo!

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  23. Have to add that to my list, looks like a lot of fun as long as it wasn't too hot out!

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  24. You hit Frontier Village at the right time. We were the only people there when we visited. How cool that White Cloud came out:) We didn't even see the other bison. You lucked out in these areas:)

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