During the 1870s, Palisades, Nevada, got a reputation as one tough little town because train passengers on rest stops there often witnessed stagecoach robberies, shoot-outs, and even Indian attacks. In reality, though, it was all a big joke.
A conductor had once mentioned to a Palisades resident that his passengers were disappointed that the Wild West wasn’t like they’d read about in dime novels. The townspeople decided to give the greenhorns what they wanted.
They recruited members of the community, the railroad workers, and even a local Indian tribe to join in. Over the next three years, the locals thrilled travelers with a thousand fake gunfights, using blanks and gallons of beef blood from a local slaughterhouse.
Palisades got the reputation for being a dangerous town, and sometimes even got written up in newspapers by journalists who weren’t in on the joke.
Behind the facade, though, Palisades was so peaceful that it didn’t even have a sheriff.