There are few towns more steeped in western lore than Idaho City, one of the state's oldest communities. Gold brought miners and the rustic veneer of civilization into the basin in 1862. Back then, it was common to use gunfire to settle a dispute.
On a warm summer days, gun shots are again echoing off the town's weathered buildings. The National Cowboy Fast Draw competition is in town. "What intrigues people is the romance and the legend of the old west," says Cal Eilrich, quick draw champion. "We all know the legends and people want to remember the American old west, not such much maybe the way it really was, but the way they would like to think it really was."
Cowboy shooters in the desert west of Rexburg have their own shootout interpretation. Old Western movie sets are their stage as the gunslingers act out the best cinema scenes in a friendly competition. "I rely on what people say who come here. They say this is the best in the west," says Deon Davenport, cowboy shootout scene designer. "When they talk amongst themselves they say you really haven't shot unless you've shot at Rexburg. You gotta try out Rexburg. It's the best place."