The Board of Trade saloon on Front Street, Nome, was established in 1898 during the early days of the first Gold Rush and is still the self-titled "Headquarters of the Sin City of Nome". Recent temporary restrictions on its license for allowing drunks to stay at the bar raised concerns that Nome was losing its rowdy Wild West image.

Wyoming – Been There

Haunted by Buffalo Bill himself

Photo by Matthias Breiter

Wyoming – Been There

Haunted by Buffalo Bill himself

A woman runs across the street brandishing a shotgun and pistol. Shots are fired. A few chaotic minutes later, with armed assistance from Wild Bill, Doc Holiday and Butch Cassidy, a gang of robbers and murderers lay dead in the street.

Graeme Green
Graeme Green Travel Writer

The gunfight, a nightly drama put on for tourists, is a noisy, kitsch homage to the cowboy history of Cody, Wyoming. And this is the right place to stage it: outside the Irma Hotel that was built and owned by No. 1 cowboy William F Cody, who gave his name to the town. He is, of course, now better known as Buffalo Bill.

Cody helped found and build the town as a gateway to the region’s great outdoors, particularly Yellowstone National Park. Today, it’s a small tourist town with stores selling old west paraphernalia and guns. Its Old Trail Town has trapper’s lodges, an old post office and saloon, and the grave of “Liver-eating” Johnson – the legendary frontiersman played by Robert Redford on film.

I eat dinner and drink a Buffalo Bill beer across the road from the shootout at the Irma Hotel, built by Cody and named after his daughter. The cherrywood bar, where Bill and his cowboy friends once drank, is said to have been donated to Cody by Queen Victoria.

“Buffalo Bill had two suites and an office at the hotel,” says owner Mike Derby. “His office is now the ladies’ bathroom. It’s said to be the most haunted room in the hotel.”

Haunted by Buffalo Bill himself? “We don’t know. He’s not saying.”

This gunfight re-enactment outside Cody's Irma Hotel reflects western movies rather than real life in the Wild West, when gunfights were rare and the weapons of the time very inaccurate.

This gunfight re-enactment outside Cody's Irma Hotel reflects western movies rather than real life in the Wild West, when gunfights were rare and the weapons of the time very inaccurate. The hotel was built by "Buffalo Bill" Cody and named after his daughter. Photo by John Elk / Getty Images

John Elk

John Elk

Agency
Getty Images

This gunfight re-enactment outside Cody's Irma Hotel reflects western movies rather than real life in the Wild West, when gunfights were rare and the weapons of the time very inaccurate. The hotel was built by "Buffalo Bill" Cody and named after his daughter.

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