I felt just a little disoriented this morning and had to give my head a shake..where was I? Then the excitement began to flow.. I am in the Big Muddy.. This served as the starting point for the Outlaw Trail between Canada and Mexico and as a gateway to Saskatchewan’s own Big Muddy Badlands. My breath was literally taken away by what I have seen getting here..some of the most beautiful country I have ever laid eyes on. There were moments I just had to pull over and listen to the quiet and then the song of the crickets would take over and If I listened really carefully I could hear the cry of the hawk taking a dive for his lunch. The smell of hay fields in the heat were intoxicating and the peaks and valleys had me mesmerized. This is a country rich in agriculture and ranching. On my things to see today will be the tour of the Badlands and Sam Kelly’s outlaw caves.. Sam Kelley (alias Charles ‘Red’ Nelson) was one of the wiliest, most dangerous and most wanted outlaws of the Big Muddy. Kelley is said to have lived in the caves for several years following his decision to go straight. Around 1909, he purchased a ranch in the Big Muddy Valley and set off on a new life as a legitimate rancher. Yet, when he turned himself in to a Montana sheriff in 1904, suddenly, there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him of a single crime. Kelley used the occasion of this good fortune to take an early retirement from the outlaw trade. And when he died with his boots off in 1937, Debden, Saskatchewan, lost one of her most, umm, colourful homesteaders. Kelley was born in Nova Scotia and came west to Montana for reasons unknown—much of the Sam Kelley story is sketchy. One of his earliest documented escapades occurred in 1895, when he and an accomplice broke two men out of a jailhouse in Glasgow, Montana. Let the day begin!
copyright Es-tee Miller