Medora to Deadwood Trail Ride to revisit history: Registration now open for the ride connecting two staples of American history |

Medora to Deadwood Trail Ride to revisit history: Registration now open for the ride connecting two staples of American history

The stage coach and outriders - ready to travel. Photo by James Odermann

DEADWOOD, SD – An historic trail ride connecting two Dakota towns rich in history and lore will conclude the last half of the trip this summer. The northern route will begin in Buffalo, SD, on Aug. 31, 2013, and end in Medora, ND on Sept. 7, 2013. The southern route from Buffalo to Deadwood was completed last summer.

While travelers in the 1880s took the journey in one shot, present-day organizers split the lengthy trek into two trail rides with the goal of enticing even more people to make the journey.

During the late nineteenth century in the west, all roads led to Deadwood. The site of one of America’s last great gold rushes, Deadwood attracted thousands of men and women from all walks of life. Hearing the reports of gold in the Black Hills, aristocratic French nobleman Marquis de Mores established his own stage line from Medora to Deadwood in 1884. He charged 10 cents a mile. The route took the stage to Deadwood, through the Black Hills, and to the Badlands. Relay stations were set up every 10 to 15 miles for team changes and passenger breaks. While some passengers may have been keen on getting rich in the gold rush, many historians believe the stage was used mainly as a tourism shuttle between the two cities from 1884 to 1886. In 2013, modern day trail riders will once again relive the journey.

Kim Shade and his family’s ranch is located south of Medora, ND, on land that was crossed by the original stage in the1880s. Shade is helping to organize the trail ride. “Men and women risked a lot back in the day to travel from Medora to Deadwood, and the risk versus reward scenario was likely not much of a consideration for those travelers. It’s quite enticing to say the least. There’s much history on our ranch alone from this stage route, and I can’t wait to revisit other parts of this original trail,” Shade said.

Shade and other organizers are looking for teams and riders to join them on this historical ride. The ride will benefit Deadwood History’s Days of ’76 Museum and the Billings County Museum, Medora, ND.

Registration forms can be found at or by calling Karin Savoie at (605) 578-1657.

–Deadwood History, Inc.

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