Get Outta Dodge; it’s April Fools (and Egg…uh…Book Giveaway Day)

MargaretBrownley-headerEaster logo 2015a

The popular TV show Gunsmoke is credited for the term “get out of Dodge,” but the phrase actually has a more colorful and interesting history.

It all started in the little town of  Sidney, Nebraska. The town once had such a bad reputation it was called Sinful Sidney and the Wickedest Town in the West. Is there small wonder that they buried their dead in what was called the “Bad Man’s Cemetery?”


200 murderers, robbers and the like were buried there and those were just the ones who got caught. There were numerous lynchings, including one cowboy who somehow managed to get lynched twice. Sidney created so much news it had three newspapers.

In 1880, a robbery to end all robberies occurred and what today would amount to five million dollars was


stolen. Things were so bad that the Union Pacific railroad threatened to pull out stakes if something wasn’t done to curb crime. In an attempt to clean up the town, an edict was issued which told the bad guys to “Get out of Sidney, forever.”

aprilSince the edict was issued on April 1, some outlaws thought it was an April Fools joke. A hanging from the tree in front of the courthouse soon relieved them of that notion.

Reportedly over 200 thugs fled town. Word spread and soon other towns, including Dodge City, used Sidney’s crime-ridding blueprint to clear out their own criminals. Now you know the true story of “Get out of Dodge” and that’s no joke.


Petticoat Detective coverundercoversmall  Working Undercover

is No Job For a Lady

   To celebrate Easter I’m giving away a copy of

Petticoat Detective.

All you have to do is share an April Fool or Easter memory and you could be a winner!



+ posts

53 thoughts on “Get Outta Dodge; it’s April Fools (and Egg…uh…Book Giveaway Day)”

  1. Once, at the place where I worked, a young co-worker came in and proudly announced she was engaged and would be getting married in a few months. Many people’s jaw dropped as they new another co-worker was crazy about her and too shy to ask her out. It broke his heart. The girl, later in the day, shared that it was all an April Fool’s joke but many of us didn’t laugh as we were saddened at how hurt the young man was. Well, it took awhile but the two young people finally started dating so maybe it was the catalyst that the young man needed to make his move.

    I would love to win a copy of your book.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  2. My junior year of HS I broke my toe the evening of March 31st. The next day I was limping around school and everyone thought it was an April Fool’s joke.

  3. My favorite Easter memory (and also April Fool’s memory) was finding out I would get another sibling. Mom called the nurse on April Fool’s Day (Good Friday, that year) to ask if the symptom’s she was having were menopause related. The nurse asked if she’d taken a pregnancy test. She did and on Resurrection Sunday, Dad told us Mom was pregnant. There’s a 20 year age gap between me and my little brother. God blessed us a lot that year! 😀

  4. I really don’t have much in April Fools day memories except for the time I put a fake tattoo on the back of my neck and my mom freaked out. I didn’t plan it to be a joke. I didn’t even think about the day.

  5. My mom’s last remaining bachelor brother surprised the family when I was 18, having actually proposed his girlfriend. They set a date very quickly and picked April 1st for the wedding. Word of the date went around long before the invites, and due to my uncle’s sense of humor, there was definite discussion that it could be a joke. But they did marry on April Fools, legally and before God, with no tricks or jokes at all.

  6. You uncover the most interesting historical tidbits, Margaret. So fun.

    One of the ladies in our office (my day job) coordinated an April Fool’s joke on our boss this morning. We all texted in individually that we came down with the stomach bug that has been going around campus. (I work at a university.) He was so nice to each of us, telling us he hoped we felt better soon. Then we all showed up to work to surprise him. He’s a smart fella, though, and his suspicions were raised when ALL of us got the bug at the same time. He didn’t play the fool after all, but he was a good sport about the whole thing. And probably very happy that he didn’t have to manage the entire office on his own today. 🙂

    Happy April 1st!

  7. One day, a few years ago, I was making my husbands sandwich for him to take to work the following day. It was a ham and cheese and I decided to pull an April Fool’s Day prank by putting peanut butter and jelly in his sandwich instead of mayo. He ended up eating all of it even after he discovered the prank. 😉

    I would love to win this book. I have it on my Amazon wishlist. =)

    • Hi Melissa, I’m trying to imagine what a peanut butter, jelly, ham and cheese sandwich would taste like-yuck! Your hubby is either a very good sport or was very hungry.

      Thank you for sharing!

  8. Even though the memory may be small I always use to get so excited every Easter morning when my mom (Easter bunny) ???? would have our Easter baskets full of yummy treats and little presents! Then to make things even better we would go outside and try to find the eggs we colored, that my mom had hid all over yard or in the house if it rained.

    Another great memory was when I started dating my husband his family never did anything for Easter so we introduced him to our traditions, which he took to instantly and loved! Even to this day I’m almost 31 years old and my mom still sends my husband, kiddos and myself Easter baskets haha.

  9. Margaret, you always find the most interesting things! I loved this. Sidney, Nebraska sure must’ve been wild and wooly. Thank goodness the people got fed up. I don’t blame them.

    Happy Easter!

  10. We used to do a treasure hunt for our girls…it was really fun to do running around the house looking for the next clue then at the end we would have the ‘loot’ for them instead of just candy Easter baskets:). I should probably do it for them now as they’re older and it would still be fun as when they were toddlers:). It’s about the memories…not the stuff;)

    • Hi Becky, I’m sure your girls would love going on a treasure hunt. I plan one every year for my grandkiddies and we have a blast. It absolutely is about the memories.

      Happy Easter!

  11. as a kid growing up we always had a basket filled with goodies,,and then easter clothes and church followed by dinner at my Grandpas house,with all of my Dads 7brothers and sisters and their children present,then the BIG easter egg hunt for all us kids after dinner, was such a fun day and lots of sweet memories,,now they have all passed and just us cousins left and live so far apart,,im so happy that I have those memories of such a sweet and pure childhood,,this was back in the late 60s early 70s

  12. Wow, very interesting!
    I have never been a prankster… an Easter memory… always loved going to the egg hunts… so I brought the enjoyment to my little nephew’s life… first we had a little one for him in the backyard for a couple of years… love the pics of him searching for the eggs! I have to see if my sister took him to one this year…

  13. Hi Colleen, it’s fun planning egg hunts for the little ones, isn’t it? My church has a glow in the dark Easter egg hunt. I’ve never been but I bet that’s fun too.

    Happy Easter!

  14. Fun post, Margaret. I had no idea! I have great Easter memories. I’m guessing one special one was being in London. But we had such bad jet lag, we missed services as Westminster Abbey. Sob.

  15. I used to love watching Gunsmoke. Loved your post. I don’t do a lot of April Fools jokes but I did tape up the kitchen sink sprayer and got my son good. Sprayed him down good.

  16. Such cool stuff to be found here. My Easter memories are of my mom hiding our Easter baskets around the house when we were little. As we got older, we children hid each other’s baskets instead of mom. My older brother always waited until last, because in the process of looking for a hiding place for the basket he was to hide, he’d find his – so he’d put the sibling’s basket where his was and then hid his basket in his room. Of course, the sibling who hid older brother’s basket didn’t ever think to look in the spot where they’d hid his, making it a long search for their own basket.

  17. Hi DebH,

    What fun it must have been to hide each other’s baskets. Your brother sounds like a real fun guy, but I bet you all caught on to his tricks.

    Thank you for sharing.

  18. I use to hide plastic eggs filled with goodies in the house. My two girls would get up sooooo early that day that one time my husband crawled into the youngest’s crib while they hunted (it was a lot of eggs lol). My youngest is an artist and had talent early on. She drew a picture of my husband that looked like he was in jail but then it hit us, it was the time he was in her crib – we still laugh about it because we could just imagine what the preschool teacher thought.

    • Hi Catslady, your story made me laugh. Oh, yes, I can well imagine what that teacher thought. When I taught kindergarten I told the parents that I wouldn’t believe everything I heard about them if they didn’t believe everything they heard about me. There were many occasions that this turned out to be good advice. 🙂

  19. Margaret, great post. I had never heard of Sidney! How did I miss that? I’m so glad I learned about it here.

    I was never much of one for April Fool’s pranks, but Easter was always a really special time at our house, and growing up during the time I did (60’s) we had to all go shopping for Easter dresses, shoes, purses, and when I was young, the white gloves and Easter hats. I still remember how special I felt as a little girl, all decked out in my Easter clothes, and how exciting it was to look forward to going to my grandmother’s house for the holiday to hunt Easter eggs.

    My mom used to say I would have hunted Easter eggs until I was a grown up. The other day my daughter (28) and I were talking and I said, “Jessica, I bet you’d hunt Easter eggs right now if I hid them.” She said, “Well, I bet you’d hunt them if I hid them for YOU.” LOL

    I had to admit, I probably would.
    Happy Easter, Margaret!

    • Hi Cheryl,
      I think places like Dodge City stole Sidney’s thunder, which is probably why you never heard of it.

      I remember white gloves and Easter hats. What a shame today’s youngsters miss out on the fun of dressing up like that.

      I can picture you running around looking for Easter eggs. LOL.

      Happy Easter to you and your family!

  20. “Just the ones who got caught”? One cowboy managed to get lynched twice? Good heavens! I may have to base a fictional town on that place. 😀

    Margaret, this was such a fun post! I’d never even heard of Sidney — which may be because the town got so clean, it became boring by Wild West standards. 😉

    Thanks for sharing this with us! Have a wonderful Easter. 🙂

  21. Hi Kathleen, I think you’re right about Sidney becoming a clean town and not living up to Wild West standards. It was a fun post to write.

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful Easter!

  22. No big April Fools jokes or memories stand out in my mind. My son’s teacher really scared him today at school. She told him she had decided to give his spelling test a few days early and that he would have to write every word he missed 5 times. He’s 8 and he panicked. He was so relieved when she said April Fool’s.

  23. My favorite Easter memory….hunting eggs! If it happened to be raining, my mother hid hem in the living room for me. I loved it!

  24. My brother put a raccon skin in our grain bin in the goat barn. We all hid around the corner with a movie camera and caught my mom’s reaction! One of the better April fool’s jokes he came up with. 🙂

  25. My favorite Easter memories are going to the sunrise easter service at church, then having a big church breakfast that I got to serve at and going to my grandparents farm for a fun easter egg hunt.

  26. Hi Maryann,
    Ah, yes, attending sunrise Easter services is one of the joys of Easter. We once attended the service at the Hollywood Bowl and I’ll never forget it.

    Thank you for sharing.

  27. When my siblings and I were kids, we’d have two Easter egg hunts at home. Mom would boil eggs for us to decorate; those would be hidden outside for us to find. The candy eggs were hidden in the house. There were six of us kids so Mom and Dad went to great lengths to be sure there were an equal number of eggs for each of us to find. It seemed like every year there were some eggs that just couldn’t be found. Months later, someone would come across one of those eggs. If I remember right, it was usually the indoor eggs that we couldn’t always find.

Comments are closed.