10 Tiny Towns with Big Tourism Dreams

Medora, N.D.
The stage for the Medora Musical certainly looks the part of Old West town. © Franz-Marc Frei/Corbis

Population: 111 [source: City Data]

For a town with all of 111 inhabitants, Medora is actually doing quite well as far as tourism goes [source: Metcalfe]. It abuts Theodore Roosevelt National Park, in itself a big draw, and also holds a prime spot in the history of the Wild West. Medora was the starting point of a key Gold Rush trail to Deadwood.

In 2012, though, the town's mayor decided to boost Medora's tourist appeal, and he went bold: He would stage a gun fight, a trial and a mock hanging in the town, 20 minutes from start-to-finish (short attention spans and all), to give visitors a taste of the Old West. The catch? He would be the one hanging from the Hollywood-prop gallows [source: Smith].

The mayor's suggestion certainly achieved the goal of drawing attention. His plan was written about in newspapers around the world [source: Metcalfe]. Unfortunately for reenactment lovers, the mayor's idea was shot down by townspeople. They found it rather crude [source: Metcalfe].

Medora, then, will be sticking with its 200,000 visitors per year who come for the national park and stay a bit for the town's other attractions, including Wild West shows and a Medora-to-Deadwood horseback excursion, just like the speculators did it, only catered [source: Metcalfe].