Tag Archives: Oregon Trail

Medicine Bow Wyoming

Medicine Bow is a really small town on the Lincoln Highway and the Oregon Trail, It’s history is as a bawdy town filled with bars, gunslingers and prostitutes. So much so that it inspired Owen Wister to write the novel, The Virginian, a story about western life, the Lincoln County Wars and the life of a ranch foreman he called The Virginian he placed it in Medicine Bow. I was able to gather much of Owen’s story from folks at the Medicine Bow museum. About 1884 Owen Wister suffered some sort of mental break resulting in vertigo, blinding headaches and hallucinations. His father had a friend in the “Wyoming Territory” and asked the friend if Owen could spend a summer on his ranch to recover, and all was arranged. Owen was met by the ranch foreman when he arrived on the train in Medicine Bow, and they proceeded north to the ranch somewhere near Jackson, Wyoming, a distance of maybe 200 miles. On the trip the foreman told Owen tales of the territory and the foreman’s adventures.

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Farewell Bend

About May 22, 1843 one-thousand people left Kansas City toward new lives in the Oregon Country. Over the next 20 years more than 50,000 people would emigrate to a land considered the “Garden of the World.” Much of the journey was across the dry high plains of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Near what is now Burley, Utah they came to the fresh water and good grazing of the Snake River, and would generally follow it for the next 300 miles.

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