Sadly, not Just a Dusty Town Anymore

We all remember the scene from National Lampoon’s Vacation where Clark and the family roll into the dusty Wild West town of Dodge City in their Family Truckster. Of course, that was filmed on a back lot at Warner Brothers, but honestly that’s what we were expecting – a crappy Wyatt Earp in tennis shoes (“They did back then Russ!”)

This former Wild town has now been transformed into a normal run-of-the-mill town complete with a state-run casino. There were several statues commemorating the town’s history – a large steer, cement cowboy and Wyatt Earp – but the town today is a depressing mix of run-down streets and empty storefronts. Not what we were hoping for at all.

After getting settled in at the lovely Boothill Bed and Breakfast (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED), we toured the town, visited the sites and had a dinner and show at the Boot Hill Museum. And, once we’d exhausted the town’s offerings, we popped down to the casino just west of town, Boot Hill Casino. It was actually quite nice featuring all the standard table games as well as poker and slots.

It was a great birthday for me, but if visiting, you honestly don’t need more than one day in town to see the sites. Unfortunately, this town has outgrown much of its Wild West ruggedness. In fact, a young kid, assuming we were locals rolled down his window and asked us, with some sincerity – “where are the dirt streets of Dodge City I’ve dreamed of?”

Sorry pal, we don’t know. Maybe these sepia toned images will help.

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