The Group Travel Leader

MAR 2017

The online home of The Group Travel Leader, America's leading publication for the group travel industry. Articles on hot destinations, attractions, news and travel trends from across the country and around the world.

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5 5 A M E R I C A ' S C R O S S R O A D S I N T H E S E P O P U L A R S T O P S haracterized by rugged individualism and the elusive dream of "Manifest Destiny," the American Frontier continues to dazzle the imagination. Though the days of the Wild West may be long gone, the legacy of train robbers, cowboys and U.S. marshals is very much alive in the states of America's Crossroads — Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma — where groups can delve into history through cowboy poetry nights, live gunfights and so much more. Fort Smith, Arkansas Spanning roughly 80 years of history, Fort Smith National Historic Site exposes visitors to some of the most vivid examples of Wild West culture, highlighting the lives of U.S. marshals, Native Americans and settlers during the Gold Rush. The property was the site of two military forts and a federal court, where the infamous "hanging judge" Isaac C. Parker presided for 21 years over lawless Indian Territory. During a tour of the courthouse and jail build- ings, visitors learn the true story of Parker's background, in contrast to his depiction in many Western books and films as a ruthless hand of justice. "He was a very misunderstood character," said Cody Faber, park ranger at the historic site. "He was actually very anti-capital punish- ment, but it was the law at the time." B y S a v a n n a h O s b o u r n A working blacksmith helps to re-create life in historic Wichita at the Old Cowtown Museum.

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