And you keep expecting some gunfighter to pop out of an alley – maybe push his poncho back and bare his Colt six-shooter while he chews on his Virginian.
But then you surface from that dream and realize you are in Lonesome Dove, a small western village on the High Lonesome Dove Ranch, roughly seven miles north of Tilden off state Highway 16.
The ranch – about 4,500 acres – is owned and operated by Charles and Nancy Hundley. The Hundleys began to build the village in earnest in 2004.
The Hundleys have cattle, manage white-tailed deer. Doves, quail, hogs and other wildlife as well as maintain an eco ranch.
“We take visitors on a tour of the ranch and show them water conservation and provide information on brush country, feed for cattle and farming. We do have bird watching for those who would like to see the birds during migration. We have some birds all year round,” Nancy said.
The village – its water tower says “Population 13” – features numerous scenes that are reminiscent of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “High Noon,” “Lonesome Dove,” the TV series “Gunsmoke” and other classic westerns.
The Hundleys are big fans of westerns, and that is a large part of the reason they constructed the village.
But the primary reason for the village of Lonesome Dove is to provide unique lodging for hunters, fishermen, boards of directors, small corporate groups, other groups and retreats.
The village fronts are not facades like those in Hollywood. These buildings are complete, through and through.
Nancy said she designed all the interiors of the village buildings. And the rooms are filled with antiques.
She said she prefers the old Victorian look rather than the rustic look, saying, that in the 1800s, people who moved west took their Victorian furniture with them.
So inside most of the buildings, a visitor will see plush antique Victorian furniture – much like the decor of the rooms in the series “Gunsmoke.”
The village’s hotel has eight rooms, but there are eight other queen or king-size beds housed in the various buildings in the village. The jail has single beds.
So 16 guests could be accommodated for overnight stays. And the Longhorn Cafe is a great setting for meals with a fully, modern-equipped kitchen that Nancy says she uses to cook the meals with the help of a couple of assistants.
However, arrangements for larger groups to meet can be made, Nancy said.
Also, the village has the Church on the Leoncita, the perfect setting for weddings.
Inside the church, a painting of Christ is at the front of the church where the lectern is. Nancy said an artist from Spain painted the work.
For large weddings, hay bales are lined up outside for guests to sit on. And the wedding takes place on the steps of the church.
The bride is carried to the wedding in a plush, elaborate stage coach.
In all, there are about 16 buildings in the village, including a general store, barber shop, school house, Texas Ranger station, bank, pool house with pool and more.
In the works are an emporium, dental office and assay office.
“We should be finished in October,” Nancy said.
All of the village’s buildings are filled with antiques. For example, the barber shop has antique chairs and accessories, and the school house has the traditional painting of George Washington hanging on the wall.
“We’re looking for a dunce hat to add to the school house,” Nancy said laughing.
The village has all the conveniences that a hunter and fisher could ask for while providing an experience remembering for a lifetime.
A special building designed for hunters to process their trophies is available.
The Hundleys received state recognition for land stewardship in 2008. The certificate was signed by Gov. Rick Perry.
Nancy said interested parties can phone 210-492-1216 to make arrangements to stay at Lonesome Dove.
While the ranch’s village looks right out of an old western, it has modern amenities, such as fiber optics that provide TV, telephone, WiFi and Internet.
Lonesome Dove offers the best of both worlds – old and modern.