COWBOY CRAIG'S "OREO" Isn't he magnificent! 

Browsing Archive: August, 2009


Posted by Teri Freeman on Monday, August 31, 2009,
 I LOVE THIS TIPI! This beautiful tipi is sitting in someone's front yard in Crow Agency.  I told Ron I wanted lots of pics of tipis!  He is headed out early this morning on his way to Boyes, Mt. After a rough day yesterday, he's feeling better and eager to get to Boyes.

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Posted by Teri Freeman on Saturday, August 29, 2009,

 Dakotah pulled into Broadus, Mt. yesterday afternoon with a flat tire, not good. No problem - nice people in Broadus.  Nice camping spot and take a rest til Monday morning and then off to Boyes which is 19 easy miles. Saturday doing chores and laundry and catching up on his phone calls.  He says he can get water in Colony - let's hope so. Got oats and new phone minutes.  He's 90 miles of sage brush and nothing from Belle Fourche.  He should be in Alzada by Thursday.  He's in a great mood and...

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Posted by Teri Freeman on Thursday, August 27, 2009,
Well, Ron's had a few rough days with high temps, road construction and horse's shoes and no cell service. He's half way between Ashland, Mt and Broadus, Mt. I called the Ranger station this morning to check where he was and a very nice woman gave me the information. I asked if they could keep an eye on him. I will explain later. The Harden newspaper did a wonderful story on Ron check it out on the link below! If anyone sees him on the road, let me know at or if you take p...
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Posted by Teri Freeman on Tuesday, August 25, 2009,
 Dakotah has been out of cell range for awhile, so he was fortunate enough to camp across from the Charging Horse Casino where he called me on a land line. Sunday was a hard pull up 3 mile hill and he's had to reshoe 3 horses (getting expensive).  A lady with a fifth wheel had a flat up the road, so Dakotah parked the wagon and changed her tire. Brett from the Hardin Big Horn County News called and interviewed me yesterday about Dakotah - should be an interesting article - keep a look out for...
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Posted by Teri Freeman on Sunday, August 23, 2009,
Ron is headed out of Crow Agency this morning. Weather is perfect! He will camp 5 miles outside of Busby, Mt. Yesterday was mighty miserable with high heat and no air movement. The nose bees were bothering his horses something terrible. Ed seemed to be the smart horse with his nose to the dirt. Ron's son and I are trying to find some muzzle protectors that are made in England. Ron met a wonderful man who used to have a covered wagon which he used for Vision Quest for kids. Ron received some d...
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Posted by Teri Freeman on Saturday, August 22, 2009,
Friday, Ron had a good day except for the fact that it was 102!!!  When I talked to him Ed was
"flat as a pancake" (taking a dirt nap). Ron took his pickup to town and got more oats and he found someone to come over with an amp meter and help him out. Another good dinner at Mike's (thanks to Mike and his lovely wife for treating Ron so well).  Ron installed a 10 foot pole with a flag on the back of his wagon so he can be seen over hills. Great idea!  Well, he's off to Crow Agency.  Next stop ...
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Posted by Teri Freeman on Friday, August 21, 2009,
Talked to Ron last night -he just finished a wonderful dinner with Mike & his wife and big treat - ice cream!!!  Said the horses are eating better than they have the whole trip. Resting today and getting a 10' pole w/flag to put on the back of the wagon so drivers can see him over the hills. Good idea.  He rode his pick up (bicycle) to town yesterday and got oats and groceries. A good day overall!

Happy Trails!
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Posted by Teri Freeman on Thursday, August 20, 2009,
Well, yesterday was an easy day, except for the Indians driving 75 mph past the wagon on a narrow road.  Ron happened upon a rattler in the middle of the road and by the time he saw it, it was too late to do anything but run over it.  That snake had 8 chances (8 horse legs) to make Ron's life miserable and it didn't so Ron threw him in the ditch.  Last night, Ron put the electric fence in a big circle and then the rodeo began.  Contina started running and bucking and pretty soon, they were al...
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Posted by Teri Freeman on Wednesday, August 19, 2009,
Well, except for that big hill, Ron had a great day yesterday. A man stopped by and gave him tomatoes, cucumbers and something else he can't identify. He had a tomatoe sandwich - man was that good! He filled up his water (50 gal) at the Cattle Company so he's good for tonight! This morning, he's at a nice pace and there is no insects (good for the horses) and it's a cool 60 degrees. He's heading towards the Big Horn River - he's in a great mood!

Happy Trails!
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Posted by Teri Freeman on Tuesday, August 18, 2009,
I just got off the phone with Ron and he's headed up a steep hill towards Hardin. He got some bad directions this morning and got turned aroun.  Yesterday, he had another good visit with Lee of Lee logger horses (see link).  He went into town on his bicycle (Ron's pickup) and got  100 lbs of oats  and some more fiberglass rods for his electric fence. He said he gave pony rides on ole Ed and he got lots of pictures.  I guess he's decided to stay at the fairgrounds in Hardin.  He's in good spir...
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Posted by Teri Freeman on Sunday, August 16, 2009,
Well Ron had an exciting day yesterday.  He had to travel the interstate for a bit and the highway patrol stopped him and made him turn around facing traffic on the interstate.  The horses were not happy at all and it was a long hard day.  There was a fair in Billings yesterday and the horses were not impressed with the big aluminum elephants!  He finally found a very poor camping place in a ditch.  He was harassed and told that the horses were eating FEDERAL GRASS! Can you imagine!  He is ac...
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Posted by Teri Freeman on Saturday, August 15, 2009,
Well, I just got off the phone with Ron and he had a good day! How lucky is he, finally found a camping spot across the interstate from a WAL  MART! He got on his bicycle and took a ride to Wal Mart.  Originally, some nice lady said she had a good spot in a park and Ron's instinct was No, no.  But, he went with it and saw a railroad track and the horses just parked their feet and all wanted to go different directions, anywhere but across that track.  Finally, with a little whip and encouragem...
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Ron Dakotah resting outside of Billings, Montana

Posted by Teri Freeman on Friday, August 14, 2009,
Howdy - talked to Ron yesterday - he took the day off outside of Billings - he's not going to try to make Billings today because it's a monster. Had breakfast and coffee with fresh eggs. Did a bit of housework and worked on his amp meter, which by the way is not working.  If anyone out there knows about motors, please stop by Ron's wagon and give him a hand.

 People stopped by all day and gave him goodies.  The horses were hanging under big cottonwood trees and content.  He was all geared up t...
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Posted by Teri Freeman on Wednesday, August 12, 2009,
Howdy - after a brief stay at the Rusty Cowboy in Ennis, Montana, Ron Dakotah is on his way to Billings, Montana.  He is camped in a ditch 20 miles outside of Columbus.  He had an easy day yesterday, but had to go through 3 fences.  Lo and behold, while on the interstate for a brief time, the highway patrol came up behind him to give him the thumbs up - whew! What a relief.  While he was in 3 forks, the newspaper did a wonderful story about Ron.  Ron just had a birthday (69) and he is headed ...
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Brett Thomas-DeJongh
Big Horn County News

There’s a great scene in the 1939 John Ford movie Stagecoach, where the infamous Ringo Kid, played by John Wayne, offers his awkward version of a proposal to Dallas, an independent, brave and fetching woman.

Handier with a six-shooter than with words, the Ringo Kid tells Dallas, played by Claire Trevor, “… well, maybe I'm takin' a lot for granted, but... I watched you with that baby - that other woman's baby. You looked... well, well I still got a ranch across the border.

There's a nice place - a real nice place... trees... grass... water. There's a cabin half built. A man could live there... and a woman. Will you go?”

The Ringo Kid is a “trees… grass… water” kind of guy. In his frontier world, those are the things a man and a woman need to make a life together. And John Wayne makes you believe it. The movie makes you believe it.

If there’s anyone around these days who is living his life with this set of necessities, he calls himself Ron Dakotah, and he travels the highways and byways of the West aboard a nearly two-ton sheep wagon pulled by four horses.

A slight man in his late sixties, Ron “Dakotah” McGilvery has been on the road for 26 years, he says, and there are indications he may be looking to settle down. For now though, he’s on the road. “I been out 26 years,” he said, “And as long as I can shoe the horses, that’s the important thing.”

He rolled into Hardin Thursday and stayed for a few days at the home of Mike Martinsen, where the Big Horn County News caught up with him.

Logistically speaking, he says his chief concern is keeping his horses fed and watered. Each horse gets a gallon of oats in the morning, and one at night. He buys alfalfa and hay as he goes, and the horses graze when he camps for the night, often not far from the highway. “Most of my camps are in a ditch by the side of the road,” said McGilvery.

Whether he’s camped by the side of the road or on the land of someone he’s met on the road, he strings up a generator-powered electric fence that keeps the horses from wandering off.

His makeshift camps and slow-moving vehicle have landed him in trouble with the law on many occasions. He says he’ll never go back to California because of the way he’s been treated by law enforcement there. “I think it was so unusual,” McGilvery said. “People just couldn’t deal with it.”

He says he follows the law wherever he goes, and that law enforcement in Montana has been helpful. Ouside of Reedpoint, he was stopped by a Montana Highway Patrol officer who he says told him, “I want you to know you are completely legal and there’s no problem. I’m just making sure you are alright.”

This is the attitude that greets him most of the time, and it’s what sustains him. McGilvery is upfront about the fact that he lives by the kindness of strangers who may feed him or give him water for himself and the horses. “The best thing about this is the people I meet,” he said.

He’s says he’s not sure why people respond so well to him. “There’s something about a horse and wagon,” said McGilvery. “It’s not a scam. It’s real life.”

One person who has responded especially well to Ron “Dakotah” McGilvery is Teri Freeman, a woman who runs what she calls “a cowboy store” in Ennis, Mont.

She recently met McGilvery when he was passing through Ennis and her roommate told her she should check out this guy in a sheep wagon. “He’s handsome, he’s got horses, and he’s headed to Texas,” Freeman recalled the roommate saying.

“He said he needed a place for him and his horses, and I have some land.” Freeman said. So he camped at her place, and the two hit it off. “We got to be really good friends,” said Freeman. “Maybe more than that.”

Actually, it’s a good bet that it’s more than that, because not two minutes after saying they might be more than friends, Freeman said, “Nobody has ever touched my soul the way he has, and I’m sixty years old.”

Freeman keeps in contact via cell phone with McGilvery and has set up a Web site, located at, to chronicle his travels. Freeman, who hopes to meet him in Texas this winter, said she’s trying to convince him to settle down in the town of Bandero. “That’s the cowboy capital of the world – they’d love him there.”

For his part, McGilvery, who has been married three times, seems equally smitten with Freeman. “I fell in love with her as soon as I saw her,” he said. She’s kind of a horse gal.”

And for a horse guy like McGilvery who doesn’t need much to get by, that might be enough to build on. Now they just need to find some “grass… trees… water…”


Ron Dakotah in his fringe on the front porch of the Rusty Cowboy

Ron Dakotah pouring a cup of joe in his wagon