Buffalo Ridge, South Dakota: 1880 Cowboy Town

Abe Lincoln never visited South Dakota, but his robot is part of a fake 1880s South Dakota main street, built by a retired school teacher. Wild West robots and cryptic displays, too.

Visitor Tips and News About 1880 Cowboy Town

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Corn Sheller.

Cowboy Ghost Town

We stopped at the Buffalo Ridge Ghost Town mainly due to it was animated. The South Dakota tourism information on this landmark was not the reality. It states that there were 50 animatronic displays, but there were only 10, and only about six worked. We barely could hear the voices. Apparently neglected for decades. Abe Lincoln's arm is a PVC pipe, duct-taped on. Very disappointing. It wasn't worth the $8 admission. Even though it is supposed to feel like an old ghost town, you can tell that it has been neglected.

[Doreen Metts, 09/16/2019]

We may be wrapped too tightly in our own duct tape and PVC pipe, but what you describe sounds wonderful to us. Part of the appeal of 1880 Cowboy Town (now called Buffalo Ridge Ghost Town) is that its builders had a lot of great ideas, and technology limitations and maintenance issues have turned them into a kind of Westworld nightmare.

1880 Cowboy Town

1880 Cowboy Town

We drove by this place twice, thinking it had long been closed. On third pass we noticed a man pumping gas at one of the circa 1970 pumps outside and decided to go in to purchase water. I told the man at the counter that it was a shame that the cowboy town was closed, and he proclaimed that it wasn't, and asked if we would like to see it.

After paying our $8 admission, the man followed us into the the other part of the building and provided us with two quarters to view the first exhibits, as he stood nearby to make sure we watched and listened in its entirety. He is very proud of this place, and excited to tell you all about it. From there he offered the golf cart, or we could walk onto the grounds to see the rest.

This was one of the most entertaining stops on our trip -- especially if you're into quirky roadside attractions.

[Kris, 06/22/2019]

Abe's eyes.

1880 Cowboy Town

As of July 2018, Abe's eyes are unveiled in all their creepy glory! There is no more button to push for the speech. Use your imagination to narrate what must be going through his head. Price as of now is $8 for adults, $4 kids under 15. No dogs allowed in the ghost town, as the neighboring bison don't like dogs!

[Gretchen, 07/13/2018]

Abe Lincoln, 2017.

1880 Cowboy Town

Abe no longer talks these days, just kinda stands there and contemplates State's Rights. Dean Songstad passed away December 23, 2016. Brad is still running 1880 Cowboy Town and imparting western knowledge. Come check the place out!

[Ron Renken, 06/12/2017]

Our forensic scan of Ron's photo notes these changes since our 2008 discovery: 1) his wonky eyes were never repaired, but since the stovepipe hat over them was also traumatizing children, he was outfitted with Lost and Found shades; 2) when Abe's face started sliding off, duct tape secured it to his scalp (hidden beneath his hat); 3) his hat finally fell off, perhaps blown by the cruel winds of entropy.

1880 Cowboy Town.

1880 Cowboy Town

Weird and creepy as ever. Many of the robots no longer had a button that worked. Entrance to 1880 Cowboy Town was $8 per person over 12 years old.

[Kristin, 06/11/2017]
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1880 Cowboy Town

Buffalo Ridge Ghost Town

Address:
46614 W. Hwy 38, Buffalo Ridge, SD
Directions:
Out behind the Buffalo Ridge Country Store. I-90 exit 390, then drive west a quarter-mile on Hwy 38.
Phone:
605-528-3931
Admission:
Adults $8, kids under 15 $4.
RA Rates:
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In the region:
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