Best Local Alternative to Tombstone - 2008
Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass
Kitschy? Yes. Cliché? Sure. Silly? No doubt. But this most accessible of local theme spots is celebrating its 37th year in the business of "providing quality 1880s-style family entertainment" for a reason — it works. Rawhide didn't miss a beat last year when it moved across the Valley from Scottsdale to the Wild Horse Pass on the Gila River Indian Community. Though it's obviously kid-friendly, grownups are known to show up sans the little ones, most often to wolf down some meat at the sprawling steakhouse and then to check out the sights for a spell. Those sights include the faux-cowboys who stroll up and down the wooden sidewalks in full regalia (and character), the train that circumnavigates the property, a stagecoach, a petting zoo, the obligatory mechanical bull, the panning for ersatz gold, and so on. Hey, Tombstone is a good three-plus hours to southern Arizona, and after watching the tiresome "shootout" at the OK Corral, there's not a lot to do but figure out which overpriced trinket or T-shirt to take home. Rawhide is a better bet, even if we continue to scratch our heads about its presence on a darned Indian reservation.