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The Cheyenne-Deadwood Trail

From January of 1876 to February of 1887, the Cheyenne-Deadwood Trail was one of the busiest routes in the Wyoming Territory. It was a 200-mile stretch that became a thorofare for travellers, freight and mail between the two frontier outposts of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Deadwood, South Dakota. It was the discovery of gold and the establishment of the Black Hills gold fields that brought the need for this north-south route that ran perpendicular to the Oregon and Overland Trails.

The Cheyenne-Deadwood Trail would turn into a rugged highway for stagecoaches protected by armed guards riding shotgun, or on horseback. And the Trail posed its share of danger in the form of horse thieves, or stagecoach robbers, and Sioux warriors protecting their land. More than 600 horses would be used to run the route, at an average of 8 miles an hour. There were stage stops at Fort Laramie and near Lusk and Newcastle at Hat Creek Station and Robber’s Roost. The stages would leave Cheyenne on Mondays and Thursdays, and would depart from Deadwood for the return trip to Cheyenne each Tuesday and Saturday.

It was a short-lived run, but in its day, the Cheyenne-Deadwood Trail would serve the West in a big way. Celebrities like Buffalo Bill Cody, Calamity Jane, and Wild Bill Hickock were regulars along the dirt road that was truly a “wild ride”, the Cheyenne-Deadwood Trail.

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