The procession left the Commercial Club at 2:30 that afternoon, moving slowly on foot to the soulful dirge and steady thump of muffled drums from the Rotary Club’s Boy’s Band. The impressive group of city officials, Boy Scouts, firing squad, veterans from World War I and the Spanish and Indian Wars, and a solitary horse with boots reversed in the stirrups and a saber hanging from the saddle led the flower bedecked wagon carrying the casket. The procession was bound for the crest of the rims.

This day, the 26th of June, 1929, was warm and pleasant, typical of the season here in the magnificent valley of the Yellowstone River. It was a day he would have appreciated.

Addresses were made, tributes were paid. The firing squad fired a volley into the azure sky while the American Legion buglers played taps – a thin plaintive cry like that of that of a wolf, now a memory in this valley. As was the man in the flag draped coffin.

And so now, it was finished. After nearly four score years and a life that most little boys imagine will somehow be theirs and most old men reach back for wistfully, Luther Sage Kelly had come home to his beloved Yellowstone Valley.

Read the expanded version of  this account in the prologue of “The Life of Yellowstone Kelly” by Jerry Keenan.

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