Registration now open for the ride to connect two icons of Western history, at

DEADWOOD, S.D. (3-14-2012) – A historic trail ride connecting two Dakota towns rich in history and lore begins this summer. In the 1880s, the Medora-to-Deadwood Trail took stagecoach, wagon and horseback travelers from the western buttes and Little Missouri River country of what is now North Dakota to the Wild West town of Deadwood in the Black Hills. Now, modern-day trail riders have a chance to relive the same experience.

This trail ride will be done in two parts. The southern segment from Buffalo, S.D. to Deadwood will take place this year, from Aug. 25 to Sept. 1. In the summer of 2013, the northern part will take riders from Buffalo to Medora. While travelers in the 1880s did the journey in one shot, present-day organizers are splitting the lengthy trek into two segments, in hopes of enticing even more horsemen and horsewomen keen on adventure.

The 1880s were a time in the West when all roads led to Deadwood. In the wake of the Custer Expedition’s 1874 Black Hills gold discovery, fortune-seekers from all walks of life came streaming to Deadwook Gulch.

Hearing reports about the gold boom, French nobleman Marquis de Mores established his own stage line from Medora to Deadwood. He charged 10 cents a mile, and 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 along the route for team changes and passenger breaks. Perhaps some of the passengers were keen on getting rich in the gold rush, but many historians believe this stage was used mainly as a tourism shuttle between the two Western cities between 1884 and 1886.

In 2012, adventurers can once again be part of Dakota history. Linda and Ray Gilbert and their family ranches south of Buffalo, S.D., on land that was crossed by the original stage in the 1880s. Linda is helping to organize this trail ride.

“Men and women risked a lot back in the day to travel from Medora to Deadwood, and the risk vs. reward scenario was likely not much of a consideration for these travelers,” she said. “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.”

The Gilberts and other organizers are looking for teams and riders to join them on this historical ride. The ride will benefit the Days of ’76 Museum in Deadwood, one of the largest museums dedicated to preserving the West. Registration forms can be found at or by calling the Museum at (605) 578-1657.

For More Information, including historical photos:
Karin Savoie
Days of ’76 Museum
(605) 578-1657