Happy trails for Buckskin Joe

CANON CITY — It’s happy trails for Buckskin Joe, the replica Old West town in Colorado that served as a setting as for Westerns like “True Grit” and “White Buffalo.”

Owner Greg Tabuteau said today he’s sold the tourist attraction near Canon City, along with the neighboring Royal Gorge Scenic Railroad, and the new owner plans to dismantle it and move it elsewhere in Colorado. He won’t disclose who that is and isn’t certain whether Buckskin Joe — named after an actual former mining town — will remain open to the public or just be used as a movie set in its new location.

The town, which entertains visitors with dramatized shootouts and hangings, will remain open through Sept. 12, as first reported by the Pueblo Chieftain.

It was designed in 1957 by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer producer Malcolm F. Brown using real remnants of old Colorado mining towns like Cripple Creek, Victor and the original Buckskin Joe.

Tabuteau said he’s selling partly because the summer season is shorter with school starting earlier and because he doesn’t think the cash-strapped state has done enough to promote tourism. After 40 years of working during the busy travel season, he said the change is bittersweet for him.

“I want to have a summer vacation,” he said.


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