Travel Destination: The American Bad Guys


Travel Destination: The American Bad Guys

by Amy Lignor


There is that seven-year rule that still seems to stand when it comes to favorite places to travel. Explanation: There will suddenly be a renewed interest in aliens and Roswell, NM, becomes a ‘wanted’ travel destination. Then, there will come the ghouls and ghosts and historical meanies that send people rushing to the French Quarter to see if Anne Rice has some mystical voodoo creatures speaking from inside her walls. And then, what is occurring now and looks to be a big trend for the summer vacation crowd, the bank robbers and famous outlaws of the U.S. come rushing back into the forefront of peoples’ minds. That is when the choice for travel destinations turns to the real sites where these men (and a woman, mind you) fought, dodged police, and met their final end.


These are the ultimate travel spots for the ones who love the fedoras that the famous “bad guys” wore:


Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, Billy the Kid, infamous outlaws, museums, artifacts, Bugsy, Capone, travel destinations

Wanted Poster for John Dillinger

For those who love the American gangster you have Bugsy, you have Capone, and you definitely have John Dillinger, Wisconsin and Arizona are the sites to map out for Dillinger. Robbing two dozen banks and four police stations during his crime spree, he’s likely the most famous of all the gangsters. He was even so hard to catch that the FBI had to develop their own crime unit just to get the job done. At the Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, the Dillinger gang shootout with the FBI occurred in 1934. Dillinger escaped, but travelers can witness the hundreds of bullet holes in the windows and walls that looks just as it did that day. Not to mention, you can see the Hotel Congress in Tucson, Arizona. Here Dillinger was arrested after a fire at the hotel, transferred to Indiana, just to escape prison months before the Little Bohemia shootout went down in history.


Like the outlaws better than the gangsters? Well, in the state of Missouri you can get up close and personal with Jesse James, who is responsible for dozens of robberies; banks and trains. After being pursued by the law for two decades, James was finally shot and killed, oddly enough, by one of his own so that his pal and gang member could pocket the $10,000 reward. The Jesse James Farm and Museum is in Kearney, Missouri, where the town even hosts an annual Jesse James festival in September. Liberty, Missouri, houses the Jesse James Bank Museum, the site of the first successful daylight bank robbery in 1866. And in nearby St. Joseph, the Jesse James Home Museum, where James was killed, boasts all kinds of artifacts.


Something for the women? Well, there was a Clyde. But Bonnie’s name always comes first when speaking about the gangster power-couple. Visiting Texas and Louisiana will allow all Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow enthusiasts a look at their killing spree that lasted only a few years before they were ambushed on the road in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Bienville Parish has a monument at the ambush site that tourists can visit. And seeing as that the Dallas-Fort Worth area was where the couple spent most of their past, visitors can see everything from their gravesites to Parker’s elementary school in Texas.


When thinking about outlaws, you may think about the best looking. Not in real life, of course, but a couple of actors named Newman and Redford played the infamous Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, placing that particular image into the minds of everyone. Fans and enthusiasts head to Cody, Wyoming, where they can see Butch’s home in Old Trail Town, as well as Outlaw Cave and other trails and hideouts used by he and his gang.


And when thinking of the youngest, most talked about and debated outlaw, it is New Mexico you will want to visit. Not for the alien UFO crash in Roswell, but for the life and death of Billy the Kid. Living to the ripe old age of only 21, the legend of Billy seemed to be larger than life, even though he only took out eight people. A true outlaw of the Wild West, he joined a gang of lawmen called, The Regulators, which soon turned into a gang out for revenge. Arrested for killing a Lincoln County sheriff, it was famous Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, that finally took Billy down.


The Billy the Kid Museum in Fort Sumner is stocked with over 60,000 relics, and the state monument that it sits beside, Old Fort Sumner, was a place where Billy always hung out. But the coolest spot to see more of the Kid comes in Lincoln, New Mexico. From the restaurant where the sheriff was eating breakfast right before he was shot out of a window by Billy to the very room where the Kid was locked away off of the courtroom where he received his death sentence, everything can be visited. Once called the most dangerous road in America, the one main road running through Lincoln is filled with an underlying history you can still see, touch, and if very quiet, perhaps even hear the shootouts from the past.


Enjoy your days visiting the haunts of the most infamous outlaws of all time, because when seven years are up, who knows? The vampires just may swoop back in and take over. Then…Transylvania here you come!

Source:  Baret News


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