pioneers

Caroline Ballard

  

Fifteen-year-old Kade Clark stood shirtless at a water spigot outside the Niobrara County Fairgrounds in Lusk. He reached into a bucket full of red-brown dirt, grabbed a handful, and ran it under the water. Then, he began to paint himself.

“So we look like Indians and stuff. Yea you get it wet, it gets on easier,” said Clark.

Clark is white, and is one of the dozens of people, from toddlers to the elderly, playing Sioux Indians in The Legend of Rawhide, the annual July Pageant and Wild West re-enactment.

Micah Schweizer

Nearly 150 years ago, Mormon pioneers set out from the Midwest, bound for Salt Lake City. They walked, pulling their belongings in wooden handcarts. Two groups got a late start and were stranded in Wyoming by a devastating October blizzard. And for the past 20 years, thousands of Mormon teenagers have been returning to that site to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors.

When the blizzard struck on October 19th, 1856, the lagging handcart companies were still weeks from Salt Lake City. More than 200 people died of exhaustion, hunger, and cold.

Lorin and Mary Ann Moench work for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at Martin’s Cove Historic site.  This spot in south-central Wyoming marks an important point along the Mormon trail.  European converts sailed to the East Coast of the U.S., purchased supplies and handcarts, and traveled with handcart companies to Salt Lake City.  In 1856 two handcart companies began their journey late, causing them to face unforgiving Wyoming storms.

Casper College

Gretchen Wheeler grew up in Nebraska and moved to Wyoming to teach in the Communications Department at Casper College.  As a “non-native” Wyomingite, Gretchen shares her observations of the cultural differences between Wyoming and Nebraska.