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Pioneers of Outlaw Country
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Pioneers of Outlaw Country

Author: Hot Springs County Pioneer Association

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Join us for Season One! A historical 12-part series featuring stories from the outlaw country of Wyoming; Hot Springs County. Hot Springs County was a remote land, lawless and home to the Hole-in-the-Wall gang. In the late 1800’s, there were no jails, many saloons and wide-spread homesteads. There were many opportunities for the daring and enterprising businessmen – the cattlemen, horse traders, store owners, saloon operators, farmers, coal miners and oil men who dared make this country their home. From the ground, healing hot mineral water bubbled up that attracted the attention of far-off visitors. Early tourists and patients braved the rugged stagecoach routes to visit the sanitariums and hospitals that were built in this distant land. As civilization slowly moved in, families survived the harsh winters in canvas tents and dugouts. Small ranchers and farmers carved out a living in the unforgiving landscape. Out of necessity, numerous families made friends with the outlaws of the region. Many of these men, branded as rustlers, were known to build their own herds from the maverick cows that had strayed from the land barons and large cattlemen associations. These are their stories. This podcast series, season one, has been supported in part by the Hot Springs County Pioneer Association and by a grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, a program of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.
22 Episodes
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Send us a Text Message.When we think of the early visitors of Wyoming, we think of the cowboys, homesteaders, miners and others coming to the West to make their fortune. There was another group of young men who came west on the trains and stagecoaches. These were young, rich men looking for an adventure and relaxation. They were not in Wyoming to find their fortune but here to vacation.Among these young tourists was a Harvard student of law, Owen Wister. His journals kept a record of his firs...
Send us a Text Message.The faded pencil script spelled out rough poems, descriptions of sunsets and hangings, saloon scenes, cowboy tall tales, the wide-open prairie and the sharp retort of the gun. From Owen Wister’s pen, the cowboy myth was born and became a true relic of Wyoming’s rich past. The Pioneers of Outlaw Country. Cowboys, Lawmen and Outlaws… to the businessmen and women who all helped shape Wyoming. Here are their stories. Owen Wister, His For...
Send us a Text Message.The most famous cowboy prank in Wyoming... may never have happened. Or did it? In his novel, The Virginian, Owen Wister tells of a baby swapping prank that happened at a rural dance. It was common practice in those days to pile the babies under chairs and tables to sleep while the parents danced the night away. According to Wister, two cowboys took advantage of this situation to pull a legendary stunt! After his novel was published, residents of Thermopolis ...
Send us a Text Message.When Owen Wister brought his family to Wyoming in 1912, they brought along a special friend: Peeshee, the waltzing mouse. The inclusion of this tiny tourist in their family gives us insight into the Wister family dynamics and their love of nature in all forms.The Waltzing Mouse, once as common as goldfish as pets for children, was a puzzle to the scientists who studied them. These tiny creatures would whirl in circles rather than walk in straight lines and were more doc...
Send us a Text Message."Young man, go west!"Among the cowboys and frontiersmen, miners and homesteaders were a group of young adventurers - the rich young tenderfoot. These tourists were not seeking their fortunes but were tourists, looking to get away from the confines of civilization even briefly. One of these young men took his journals and turned them into fiction, becoming one of the best-selling authors in America. Even today, his novel, The Virginian, is one of the top 50 fictions...
Send us a Text Message.In 1902, the most popular book in America was The Virginian by Owen Wister. This book changed America's perspective on the cowboy and turned the once maligned cowhand into a romantic hero.Told at times through the eyes of the Tenderfoot, this is a story of a courageous but mysterious cowboy known only as “the Virginian”. He works as foreman of a cattle ranch in the Wyoming territory during the1880s and is admired by his friends and enemies alike. The gunplay ...
Send us a Text Message.In 1903, Tom O'Day was villainized in the newspapers as a notorious horse thief but his friends and acquaintances defended him as a cheerful Irishman who may embellish a brand once in awhile. That February he was unarmed when, suddenly, he was in the fight of his life. Join us on this exciting escapade of one of Wyoming's most beloved outlaws, Tom O'Day! Thank you for listening to Hot Springs County Pioneers. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a sing...
Send us a Text Message.Happy New Year! What better way to celebrate than to travel back in time to 1884 in the Wyoming Territory. Warning... Sprinkled in with the 1884 New Years predictions are superstitions and even an old-fashioned romance. We are celebrating the 1884 New Year just as residents did that same year and reading through the Cheyenne Daily Sun after staying up to bring in the New Year! 1883 had been a time of prosperity for many in Wyoming and the fledging city of Cheyenne...
Send us a Text Message.They were daring adventurers, forgers of a new life, homesteaders …. and forgotten to history. These vanished people were true pioneers of Hot Springs County, Wyoming. The Pioneers of Outlaw Country. Cowboys, Lawmen and Outlaws… to the businessmen and women who all helped shape Thermopolis and Hot Springs County, Wyoming. Here are their stories. The Lost Owl Creek Colony Many, many years ago, strangers ca...
Send us a Text Message.He was the founder of Thermopolis, well-respected businessman and cattleman, a dashing bachelor, expert horseman and a murderer. This cattleman and businessman was a true pioneer of Hot Springs County, Wyoming. The Pioneers of Outlaw Country. Cowboys, Lawmen and Outlaws… to the businessmen and women who all helped shape Thermopolis and Hot Springs County, Wyoming. Here are their stories. Ben Hanson, The Murder of Tom Bird ...
Send us a Text Message.She was the daughter of an oil man, grew up in the Grass Creek oil field – playing among the pumpjacks and dancing at the one-room school house in the early part of the 1900’s. This student of the land was truly a pioneer of Hot Springs County, Wyoming. The Pioneers of Outlaw Country. Cowboys, Lawmen and Outlaws… to the businessmen and women who all helped shape Thermopolis and Hot Springs County, Wyoming. Here are their stories. Eli...
Send us a Text Message.Over the Stage Line to Thermopolis They were adventurers, farm boys, prospectors, family men and former soldiers. These men who drove the stage through Wyoming had to be endure the heat of summer and the sleet and snow of winter... and bandits. These hardy stagecoach drivers were true pioneer of Hot Springs County, Wyoming. The Pioneers of Outlaw Country. Cowboys, Lawmen and Outlaws… to the businessmen and women who all helped shape Thermopolis...
Send us a Text Message. A single gunshot rang out. It was night on a bustling Wyoming street - yet no one admitted to recognizing the gunman who escaped into the crowd…. Dora McGrath: A Lady of the Wild West She was the daughter of homesteaders and wife of a coal miner. A mother, business woman, stylish lady of society, soldier advocate, and first woman senator of Wyoming. This courageous mother was a true pioneer of Hot Springs County, Wyoming. The...
Send us a Text Message.Joe Meek: The Mountain Man He was the tall Virginian. A trapper, Indian fighter, pioneer, peace officer, frontier politician, and lover of practical jokes and Jacksonian democracy. This friend and companion of Kit Carson and Jim Bridger was a true pioneer of Wyoming and Hot Springs County. The Pioneers of Outlaw Country. Cowboys, Lawmen and Outlaws… to the businessmen and women who all helped shape Thermopolis and Hot Springs County, Wyom...
Send us a Text Message.As the wind blew across the snow, the mountain men made a winter camp without provisions or hope of getting any until they reached the plains where the buffalo roamed. They were living off the land and the deer and elk had fled this high country. It was 1829 and Joe Meek was a teenage runaway who had joined this band of men as a hired hunter and trapper only the spring before. The tall Virginian had already been attacked by Indians, lost in the country and had met ...
Send us a Text Message.He was a man of the West. A cowboy, husband, father, outlaw, hired assassin, lawman and lone wolf. This Deputy Sheriff and Horse Rustler was a true pioneer of Hot Springs County, Wyoming. The Pioneers of Outlaw Country. Cowboys, Lawmen and Outlaws… to the businessmen and women who all helped shape Thermopolis and Hot Springs County, Wyoming. Here are their stories. Albert Slick Nard, Lawman & Outlaw Part II –– Lawman ...
Send us a Text Message. He was a man of the West. A cowboy, husband, father, outlaw, hired assassin, lawman and lone wolf. This Deputy Sheriff and Horse Rustler was a true pioneer of Hot Springs County, Wyoming. Hot Springs County, Wyoming was a lawless rugged country, far from civilization and the law. The pioneers who came to this land had to have grit and the desire to survive. Albert Nard a.k.a. Slick had come to Wyoming up the Texas Trail in 1884. Tempers had just b...
Send us a Text Message.She was the daughter of a cavalry soldier. A teacher, caregiver, rancher, homesteader, wife, mother and to some, an angle of mercy – even when the person in need was also a wanted outlaw. This courageous homesteader was a true pioneer of Hot Springs County, Wyoming. Mary Hayes Picard and her sister-in-law, Lottie Weber Hayes, were home alone at the remote 2B ranch owned by the Picard family. The children were suffering from whooping cough and the men were gone when...
Send us a Text Message.He was a man of the West. A cowboy, ranch foreman, top rider and roper with the Buffalo Bill Show, husband, father, homesteader, saloon owner... and outlaw. This member of the Wild Bunch was a true pioneer of Hot Springs, County. Walt Punteney was a stockman in Wyoming who sidelined as an outlaw in the infamous Hole-in-the-Wall gang. He counted as friends such well-known outlaws as Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and Harvey Logan. He lived in what is now Hot Springs Cou...
Send us a Text Message.Welcome to the first episode of this 12-part series featuring stories from pioneers of the outlaw country of Wyoming; Hot Springs County. He was a man of the West. A cowboy, rancher, friend of the Indian warrior, cavalry officer, Hollywood movie star, and showman. He lived by the adage, “Never look back; something might be gaining on you.”This son of Irish immigrants was a true pioneer of Hot Springs County, Wyoming. During his lifetime, Tim McCoy was one of t...
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