Fremont County, WY - Wyoming was the stomping grounds for many an outlaw. Butch Cassidy, the most famous badman outside of Jesse James and Billy the Kid, spent much of his career in Fremont County and Wyoming. He ranched in the Dubois area and near Shoshoni, was arrested and tried in Lander, and allegedly he came back to Lander after being "killed" in South America.
Mac Blewer, author of Wyoming's Outlaw Trail says, "One of the things I love about Wyoming is the folklore linked to its topography. If you listen to the rocks in its deserts and the trees in its mountains you will hear their tales, kept like well-guarded secrets. Yarns abound of John Colter and Jim Bridger in the greater Yellowstone area, Jedediah Smith on South Pass and Chief Washakie in the Wind River country as well as countless remembrances of those who trekked the Oregon, California and Mormon pioneer trails. There were also those who rode a path of less historic renown but one of fame nevertheless, the Outlaw Trail. Some of its more famous characters like Butch Cassidy have become part of our local lore and are inextricably linked with our sense of place and how we see our state, which is, undeniably, a landscape of the imagination."
Cassidy and many other lesser known outlaws rode a historic path called "The Outlaw Trail," which stretched from Canada to Mexico. The informal trail strung together existing stagecoach roads, emigrant trails, and cattle drive paths connecting safe towns and natural hideouts essential to keeping the law at bay. Some in Western communities were sympathetic toward the outlaws. Many, like Cassidy, were seen as Robin Hoods, fighting for common people who were under siege by economic forces, corporate encroachment, and other changes occurring in the Old West.
This new exhibit details the history, folklore, and geography behind some of Wyoming's outlaw towns and hideouts-chief among them the Hole in the Wall and Red Desert. Also highlighted are the deeds of the robbers, lawmen, and ordinary folk who rode those dusty trails during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Featuring guns, handcuffs, chaps, and various other accoutrements of both outlaws and the lawmen that pursued them along Wyoming's Outlaw Trail, this exhibit is sure to thrill the many outlaw aficionados who live in and visit Wyoming.
The exhibit is at the Dubois Museum from February 19 to March 15. It will be at the Riverton Museum mid-March thru mid-April and at the Pioneer Museum in Lander in the Western Gallery mid-April thru mid-May.
Wyoming's Outlaw Trail traveling exhibit was produced by the Sweetwater County Historical Museum, with partial funding from the Wyoming Humanities Council a 501(c)3. Financial Support for fieldwork and archival research was provided by the University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center, the Wild West History Association, and the Wyoming State Historical Society.
Exhibits Coordinator Dave Mead, of the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River worked with "Wyoming's Outlaw Trail" author Mac Blewer, geographer and historian, to develop the exhibit focused on some of Wyoming and Sweetwater County's most dastardly historic characters. A wide-ranging selection of images provides a photographic overview, outlining the last days of the "horseback outlaw"-an era once violent, turbulent, and heroic that captures our imagination today. Blewer's book "Wyoming's Outlaw Trail" will be for sale at all three museums during the exhibit.
For more information contact the Dubois Museum at: 307-455-2284, firstname.lastname@example.org
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