You might have heard the term Buckskin Joe, but did you know it was once a Western-style theme park and railway just 8 miles west of Cañon City?
Remnants of Buckskin Joe still remain along the road to the Royal Gorge Bridge. Features included gun fights, 30 authentic buildings from the Colorado 19th century frontier, themed entertainment, full-service saloon, and a restaurant. There was also the Mystery House and a horse-drawn trolley ride. The town’s mayor was a donkey that roamed the park and resided in a small building.
Buckskin Joe was built as a movie set in 1957 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer director Malcolm F. Brown. He brought together old buildings from around central Colorado and assembled them into an old western-style town. The name was taken from the former mining town, now a ghost town, Buckskin Joe, west of Fairplay, Colorado. The only building in the theme park from the original Buckskin Joe was the general store originally owned by Colorado pioneer Horace Tabor. In 1958 the owners began admitting tourists between filmings and developed the location into a western theme park.
Buckskin Joe was sold in 2010 and moved to billionaire William Kock’s ranch near Gunnison, Colorado.