Book Trailer The Noble Train

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Teddy Roosevelt's First Time West

Commander Gorringe had decided at the last minute not to go, and this left Teddy Roosevelt to hunt buffalo alone.  When he switched to the St. Paul Express for the twenty-four-hundred mile journey, Roosevelt wired his mother, Mittie, that he felt “like a fighting cock again” as he left the United States for the Dakota Territory for the first time.

The darkness masked the geological malformations of the Badlands passing by his window, with its glowing lignite fires and ancient waters that had carved stone, blasted gullies, and formed rivers. Then Roosevelt was blinking in the darkness of two a.m. after the warmth of the Pullman car—a dapper young man who stepped off the train directly into the wet sagebrush of Little Missouri in the Dakota Territory. The train rolled away, leaving white smoke and the train whistle’s lament. Roosevelt breathed heavily, his asthmatic wheeze not unlike the huffing steam locomotive fading into the night. His new boots were stiff, his hat tight, his collar itchy. The new clothes he had bought in New York felt all wrong, but they were the latest in Western outdoor apparel.

There was no sound save for the yips of coyotes out in the darkness beyond the town. The town wasn’t much. Little Missouri had come of age rapidly when the railroad arrived and would die just as quickly. Such was the boom and bust of railroad towns in the West. Roosevelt stared at a dilapidated sign reading “PYRAMID PARK HOTEL,” behind which slouched a recently painted white structure leaning toward the street. Roosevelt hoisted his Sharps rifle and duffel bag and began to walk in the cool darkness. A coyote howled in the distance again; then he heard the thin musical note of running water. Roosevelt saw moonlight glimmering on the Little Missouri River, whose waters whispered softly in the night. The train had since faded into the darkness, heading for the heart of the Badlands. Teddy Roosevelt was in the middle of nowhere with a recommendation to see a man who might be able to help him.

Forging A President How the Wild West Created Teddy Roosevelt

Books by William Hazelgrove