Photography: Courtesy Fort Worth Convention and Vistors Bureau

From Fort Worth, Texas, to Cody, Wyoming, we've identified seven destinations centered around Western culture, entertainment, and history. Explore them all.

How did we single out just seven iconic towns that shaped the West from the hundreds of others out there?

Being rigorously subjective helped. So did limited paper and ink supplies. And so did the name test. You know what we’re talking about: Say the name of any historic town straight out of the Old West, and if something hits you just like that, there’s your indicator.

Maybe that something is an old Gunsmoke episode or a climactic scene from Viva Zapata! shot just outside Durango or on an L.A. movie set stand-in for Dodge City. Maybe it triggers a legendary name — Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, a corral with the letters O and K. Maybe it’s a Gateway Arch or a Yogi Berra one-liner about a restaurant in St. Louis: “That place is so crowded, nobody goes there anymore.”

A Will Rogers quip (oft-repeated by close friend and Star-Telegram publisher Amon Carter) about how “Fort Worth is where the West begins, and Dallas is where the East peters out.” A river called the Shoshone. A narrow-gauge train bound for Silverton. A new retail center in an old cowboy haunt named after the Sundance Kid.

Rest assured, there are more than seven iconic towns that shaped the West. But say any of these aloud and we promise you this: Something will hit you, and in an instant, you’ll be transported. And don’t skip over our editors’ picks for people, places, and passions that keep the West alive. 

7 Iconic Western Towns

Click on the name of each town for our handy guide
to its attractions, history, and culture.

Fort Worth, Texas

Dodge City, Kansas

Deadwood, South Dakota

Durango, Colorado

Tombstone, Arizona

St. Louis, Missouri

Cody, Wyoming

Order a print copy of the May/June 2017 Best of the West edition of Cowboys & Indians and other back issues here.