Wyatt Earp, a Peace Commission, and 130 Years Late to Dodge City, Kansas

Gunfighters, outlaws, and frontier cowboys loved Dodge City for its saloons, gambling halls, bullfighting, and brothels. They made it the place to be in the 1880’s, a time when competition for gunfighters’ attention was rife. 130 years after the real party, Lou, java, and I were just passing through. But Dodge seemed like the most likely town within a day’s drive were Lou could be himself. So we stopped.

I’m a huge Wyatt Earp fan (who’s not?) and loved finding the picture above of the Dodge City Peace Commission, taken in 1883. Earp is on the bottom row, second from the left. So the Dodge City War of 1883 was their thing to handle. As one of the local was telling me the story, I was expecting to hear about a massive bloodbath in the streets. Heroism and valor and sacrifice, that kind of thing. But apparently it was one big misunderstanding that the Peace Commission dealt with, peacefully. Something about superior firepower driving successful, non-lethal negotiations. And maybe that’s a better story anyway.

Back to the 130-year late visit at hand. We found a historic hotel called the Dodge House, located on Wyatt Earp Blvd, which Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday frequented back in the day. But now the gunfighters and the outlaws are more stealthy about their existence because there were no fights, no duels, no nothing except some serious beer drinkers by the pool, and that doesn’t offend anyone. Times have changed here I guess, for better for worse. Regardless, in this modern world it’s the kind of place that has a US Flag with a NYPD 9/11 sticker on the entry door. And it’s literally half a country away. 1,500 miles of not that far at all if you ask me. If you’re passing through or staying a while, you should stay here, look around, talk to the locals, and visit the saloons before you “get the hell out of Dodge.”

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