What is Medora | Medora, North Dakota
Medora, North Dakota Title

a wild west boom

Medora began as a military cantonment called Little Missouri. It was officially named Medora in 1883 by the Marquis de Mores, an entrepreneurial French nobleman with a big dream for a meat-packing empire. He named the town after his wife, Medora von Hoffman.

That same year, a young Theodore Roosevelt made his first visit to Medora — where he would later find solace and strength after the death of his wife. Many years after that, he would tell an audience in Fargo: “I never would have been President had it not been for my time in North Dakota.”

In 1888, a brutal blizzard wiped out the majority of Medora’s cattle industry — and the town spent decades approaching “ghost town” status. But the story doesn’t end here…

Marquise and Marquis
The Von Hoffman House is a National Register Historic Place, built by Medora’s parents, the Baron and Mrs. Von Hoffman.
See the cabin that sheltered Theodore Roosevelt as he built himself into the man who would become our nation’s 26th President.
See the bronze statue of the Marquis de Mores, donated by his family members.
Harold in seats

the cowboy businessman

In the 1950s, Harold Schafer—North Dakota-born businessman and owner of the Gold Seal Company—took an interest in a worn-out cowtown called Medora.

He purchased and revitalized the historic but run-down Rough Riders Hotel. He acquired an amphitheatre built into the side of a butte and helped create the Medora Musical. Then, in 1986, he retired from business and donated the entirety of his Medora properties to establish the non-profit Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

Medora is now North Dakota’s #1 tourist destination—thanks to the passion and generosity of Harold Schafer, the cowboy businessman.
The Greatest Show in the West! It’s a family-friendly experience that Harold Schafer envisioned and brought to Medora in 1965.
Stay in the historic hotel that dates back to Medora’s early days, and was restored by Harold Schafer in the 1960s.
Learn even more about the legendary North Dakota businessman who took an interest in Medora.

more to explore than ever!

Harold Schafer’s investment in Medora kick-started a revival of this historic town. And that revival continues today!


Medora’s official population is just over 100. Each summer, that population more than quadruples as a workforce of over 300 seasonal employees arrives to serve the traveling public.


And thanks to the Schafer family’s decision to donate their entire Medora investment to create the non-profit Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, the town is growing every year! We can’t wait to welcome you and your family to Medora.

Town of Medora
Dinner with a view, seven nights a week! Grab a delicious steak, cooked on a pitchfork in a fondue pot, steps from the Medora Musical.

Start your morning in Medora with a guided Badlands hike with Joe Wiegand, our very own Theodore Roosevelt reprisor!

The most inspiring show in Medora, hosted by the Queen of the West, Emily Walter! Endless brunch favorites and inspiring music.