Upper Louisiana Territory, early 1800s: a mostly lawless frontier of beaver trappers and hired killers, a coonskin Thunderdome whose only moral code was the brutal law of naked survival. Many territory residents drank more whiskey than water. Amoral swindlers peddled vitriolic elixirs from one isolated trading post to the next. Lunatic backwoods messiahs commanded private armies of fevered fanatics, while predators, both animal and human, stared hungrily from the shadows of the forest.
But even this rough-hewn dystopia was blessed once a year by the merry spirit of the Yuletide, when men's hearts glowed with gentle goodwill, and the laughter of children balmed all worries. The historic Daniel Boone Home and Boonesfield Village (1868 Highway F, near Defiance) recreates a frontier Christmas with the Candlelight Christmas Tour, a nighttime stroll through the reconstructed town lit only by natural fire. This particular Boone home was his last: The wily frontiersman died here in 1820. His home and the entire settlement ring with the joyful tidings of period singers and musicians. All decor, costumes and refreshments are in the early nineteenth-century style.
Tours run from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday (December 3 through 11). Buy advance tickets ($8 to $12) at 636-798-2005 or at the event, as space allows ($10 to $15). -- Jason Toon
Put It in Your Pipe
And ski it
Driving to ski country from St. Louis is a bit treacherous, especially if you're heading to the Snowmass/Aspen area. That part of the Rockies doesn't look so far from Denver on a map -- oh, but it is. And when it's snowing, you haven't slept, and the skis and snowboards keep falling off the damn car, you wish you would've stayed home. Or at least headed to the Galleria 6 Cinema (Saint Louis Galleria, Brentwood Boulevard and Clayton Road, Richmond Heights; 314-863-6633), where Warren Miller's film Impact screens. Beginning at 7 p.m. watch as former Olympian Kelly Clark, snowboarder Dave Downing, Paralympian Sarah Will and others tear up (and down) mountains from Snowmass to Bulgaria. Tickets are $7.50 in advance (recommended) and $10 at the door. -- Alison Sieloff