Theodore Roosevelt And The Badlands Boat Thieves
Some stories are too good for the big screen. They’re for the history books.
One icy morning, a ranch hand ran to the Billings County Sheriff claiming a boat had been stolen, a severed rope and a red mitten as proof. The idea of pursuing armed and dangerous thieves on a flooded and ice-filled river was a life-threatening task. However, this sheriff lived for rugged adventures. His name was Theodore Roosevelt.
In the 1888 book “Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail,” he recounts the tale of battling the Missouri River through rolling clay buttes and zero-degree weather. When they approached the camp, Roosevelt wrote, “For a moment, we felt a thrill of keen excitement and our veins tingled as we crept cautiously toward the fire.” Using the element of surprise, all three thieves were apprehended. The trip took 36 hours and 300 miles – all for a replaceable boat – and was only made possible with Roosevelt’s undying sense of justice and need for adventure.
Stories like these tested his resolve, and are part of the reason he said, “I would not have been president if it had not been for my experience in North Dakota.” Today, you can visit the area where this happened at the Elkhorn Ranch in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
For more information on North Dakota, visit NDTourism.com.