Friday, March 16, 2012

Gateway to the West: Guest Post by Author Krista Kedrick

Krista comes to us from Nebraska and shares a bit of the history which inspires her western romances. 

Gateway to the West
By Krista Kedrick

This is the title given to my hometown of Ogallala, NE, also known as the cowboy capital of Nebraska. From the years 1870-1885, Ogallala truly embraced the Wild West by usurping the notorious Dodge City as the destination for trail-riding, pistol-toting cowboys to meet at Tuck’s Saloon and haggle over cattle prices. Hardened Wyoming and Montana cowboys wrangled with Texas Cattle Kings where more than money crossed the floor. 

Proclaimed to be the modern day Gomorrah, during the spring, summer and early winter Ogallala tradesmen, gamblers, saloon girls and cowboys alike flocked to the rooming houses, stores and saloons where classic stories of bullets, lewdness and swindling abound, and where Boot Hill is an actual place. I should know-I can walk to it from my house. Finally realizing the effects of the untamed dealings, Ogallala built a jail bragging to be the most substantial jail of the West to contain the rowdy lawbreakers.
We still have museums and the actual Front Street with a Crystal Palace Saloon, where in the summer we reenact shootouts and a saloon girl stage show. It is so much fun to watch a piece of exciting history come to life with the talents of local people.

Even though Ogallala was a hot bed of activity, it only boasted 25 residents until the mid-1880’s when the railroad encouraged settlers to move here by promoting cheap land. Farmers and ranchers, hearing of the bountiful grasslands and flowing river beds, began making their way here and taming the Wild West. None of this came easy.  Ogallala received its name from the Sioux Indian tribe Lewis and Clark discovered here on their trek across the west. 

Originally spelled Oglala, which means to scatter one’s own, this Sioux tribe was the principle division of the Teton Sioux. They were among the most hostile of bands-bloody massacres scatter the pages of the Sioux’s history. Under the leadership of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse they led many attacks on settlers and soldiers without discrimination.  Including the sneak attack and massacre of Lt. Gratton and his men at Fort Laramie.  When their numbers swelled to almost 3,000, the Indian warriors took out Colonel Custer in the Battle of Little Bighorn by forming the Sundance alliance with two other tribes, the Lakota and the Cheyenne. During the ceremony, Sitting Bull reportedly had a vision of "soldiers falling into his camp like grasshoppers from the sky.”

However, the win was short lived. Red Cloud and other chiefs entered into a Peace Treaty with the US government on Sept. 26, 1876 and moved onto a reservation in northern Nebraska, southern South Dakota. In my opinion, what the white men did to the Indian Nations was atrocious and inexcusable.

We could have learned so many things from their culture and way of life. I found interesting facts about the Oglala Sioux. For starters, they valued and respected women above all else. Elder women had to approve the selection of chiefs for the tribe and they were chosen from the mother’s lineage. When a man married, he then became a member of the wife’s tribe meaning their children also belonged to the mother’s clan.  Also, their son’s most influential male would have been his maternal uncle or grandfather. He would have introduced the boy into the tribe’s practices.
Ogallala is rich in exciting history; full of shootouts, cattle and horse rustling and Indian mischief. It is also one of the most beautiful places on earth with rolling hills of prairie grasses scattered with a rainbow of wildflowers. It is fresh air and sunshine, and water literally bubbles from the ground here. We are a state of complexities and welcoming people. Life may move a little slower here, but if you come to play, you’ll come to stay.

Under a Prairie Moon

~~One night, under a prairie moon~~ Poor uninspired, unfulfilled Andrea Jameson; photographer extraordinaire. Where was her dreary life taking her? The last place she'd ever imagined! A motel room with her ex-boyfriend's younger brother. She had to escape without a scene. So she slipped out with only the memories of one incredible night. Or so she thought... ~~One night is never enough~~ Nebraska rancher Jason McCoy made a miracle happen last night. He made beautiful, vivacious, talented Andy his after twelve years of loving her. But all his dreams came crashing down when he woke to an empty room. She was gone forever. Or so he thought… How were they to know their extraordinary journey had just begun?

Family Ties
Coming April 2012

Welcome to Tyler Nebraska and the Clover Creek Ranch owned by the McCoy family for the past four generations.  Set in the sweeping beauty of the Sandhills it is a page right out of western paradise.  Surrounded by meadows and hills covered in swaying green grass and dotted with wildflowers of every color this secluded place offers peace and promise.

Steeped in tradition Tyler is a town of friends and family, where the people work and play together and most of the time their work is play.  Branding by horseback, country-style weddings and rodeos provide all the entertainment a town could want. And a wedding is exactly what brought Andy Jameson back to her family in Tyler.  Her cousin is getting married and she is the photographer.  Even though her home is in the city of Lincoln, she loved the small ranching town and spent many a summer there growing up.  It was where she met and fell in love with her childhood sweetheart.  Josh McCoy.  Little did she know that the relationship would never last and the man she gave her love to would torment her and crush her heart.  He almost broke her spirit in the process.  But she learned her lesson and would never trust another man...

Visit Krista:!/pages/Krista-Kedrick-Fans/214174931950086!/KristaKedrick


Image Source: 
Keith County. View of Main Street looking east in Ogallala, NE, Early 1900s.:

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