Ft Hayes Chuck wagon dinner and show

Chuckwagon dinner

I am a sucker for a corny dinner show and the Ft Hayes Chuck Wagon Dinner and Show did not disappoint.   Good food, good fun, and more to see and do than I had expected.

Dinner seating was at 6:15 pm, so we arrived at the recommended time of 5:30 to look around. Little old rustic shops making pressed pennies, tin plates, and ropes smattered the right hand side of the venue next to the RV/bus parking.

An old model T ford, carriages, a jail cell great for photos, what looked to be a knife throwing area, and a rusty farm tool exhibit for those old enough to know not to touch sat in the middle area of the property.

In the back was the chuck wagon dinner theater

Movie paraphernalia from the Dancing with Wolves movie and a trinket shop also lined up at the back of the property.

All of it was interesting and they were right, 5:30 allowed us plenty of time to see it all before being seated.

As my Deep South husband would say, it was “coming up a cloud” (i.e. it would rain soon) as we were preparing for dinner.  Off in the distance you could see fantastic dark billowy clouds and lightening.  Too far even to be heard but a gentle breeze blew our way and was quite refreshing.  There were great places around the back of the building to see off into the South Dakota country and fall in love all over again with this states charm.

Making our way back toward the dining hall/chuck wagon was a little ice cream and coffee shop where we got our desert first (before dinner) while we looked out across the countryside.  An ice cream cone only cost you $1.50.

Inside our assigned seats were at picnic tables on gravel separated by concrete walkways.  I have never seen this set up before.  But it makes sense if you are needing to theater seat a building with picnic tables.  The walkways appeared slightly slanted and the tables were level.  Buckets sat at each table with silver ware and napkins.

When it is your rows turn your get in line to be served one of three meat options, beans, applesauce, baked potatoes, biscuit, and spice cake.  On your way back to your table, you also can grab a tin of lemonade, coffee, or water. The perfect meal for a chuck wagon dinner.  Wouldn’t you agree?

The food was delicious.  And the price was on par for the quality of the food and show.

What I liked best was…. The same man that served us ice cream, MC’d the evening, served our beef brisket, and played in the band.  In fact, I think all the band members served food but I could be wrong.  The family feel of this place was incredible. The atmosphere seems like it would be a great place to work as well.

Chuck wagon dinner show

During dinner was an incredible rain storm.  Leaving in its wake a beautiful double rainbow arcing across the South Dakota sky.  We laughed, we danced, and we had fun as a family.

I would highly recommend this Chuck wagon dinner show for anyone interested in a good time in Rapid City, South Dakota.


A couple pointers:

  • They also serve breakfast! I don’t think there is a show for breakfast but the food should be good
  • It was a bit loud (think concert) in the main dining hall. My sound sensitive children preferred to hang out in the front room after dinner.  It was just as much fun and we could easily see through some open double doors. It just happened to be half as loud up there.
  • Make time to look around outside. It really is a fantastically curated set of junk.
  • Don’t forget your camera.
  • Inside the dining hall they also sell pie and carbonated drinks.
  • Out front they sell used tin plates, cds and dvds of the performance.
  • Get your silverware and napkins out early. They took up the table supply buckets earlier than I had expected.


Don’t miss this show if you are going through this area!!

A Wife, Mother, horseback riding, RV-ing, travel enthusiast always looking for the next adventure. As the Matriarch of a homeschooling family of four we keep our suitcases packed and our atlas handy. Join us on our adventures.