Wild West History

Today we drove a lot of miles and got all the way to just-inside South Dakota. Along the way we managed to find a little time to explore some history.


After stopping in Smithville to see Woodhenge we visited the Pony Express museum and visited the house in which Jesse James was murdered.

The Pony Express museum was pretty interesting. It is housed in what was the stable house and is the place from which the riders would begin the 2000 mile relay. I learned that it was not cheap to send a letter via the Pony Express, it cost approximately $5 at the beginning and after developing lighter paper they were able to get the price down to $1.


Jessie wanted to see the spot where the Pony Express route started. This is the exact spot.


The museum doesn't have a lot of original stuff, but there's not much "original" to show. It does a good job of engaging visitors though. A lot of the exhibits encourage interaction.

Look, we're rebellious!

Look, we're rebellious!

Jessie could have been a PX rider.

Jessie could have been a PX rider.

The girls really liked the kids area that encouraged dressing up in olden-days clothes.


Just a couple blocks away from the Pony Express museum is the Jesse James house.


One day, while planning a bank heist with two of his gang members, Jesse reached up to straighten a crooked needlepoint. One of his men shot him in the back of the skull in order to collect the reward. Legend has it the hole in the wall resulted from the bullet exiting the head. Except that today scholars believe the bullet didn't go all the way through. 


In 1995 Jesse James' body was exhumed to perform tests to prove that the body really was his and that his death wasn't faked. Many artifacts were collected and are on display here.