In September 1883, Theodore Roosevelt came to the Badlands of North Dakota, shot a bison bull, and invested $14,000 in cattle and cowboys, the money inherited from his father’s death nearly five years before. He returned to New York City, celebrating his twenty-fifth birthday in October and his November re-election to a third one year term in the New York General Assembly. On February 14, 1884, Theodore Roosevelt watched his mother die from typhoid fever and his wife die of Bright’s disease.
By the summer of 1884, TR was back in the region of Medora in the Dakota Territory, a cattle rancher operating the Chimney Butte/Maltese Cross south of the young village. The Elkhorn Ranch downstream would soon follow, and TR’s investments eventually ballooned to some $80,000. That was significant money in 1883-1887.
To know Theodore Roosevelt, you do need to know of his experience in the Badlands. His response to loss and tragedy was to seek hard work, adventure, strenuous living. He did that here along the scenic Little Missouri River, hunting the game and birds for the table. Of course, TR healed, married Edith Carow, and, together, they reared six children.