BIRCHWOOD (WCCO) — A Minnesota family’s trip ended early after a fake Wild West shootout became all too real.

Carrol Knutson of Birchwood, Minn. was on vacation with her husband and grandson. She made it through six fun days, but when she got to Hill City, South Dakota, the dream vacation turned into a nightmare.

Walking along Main Street, the family stumbled upon a western-style gun fight, which locals do to raise money for charity.

Knutson, who started watching as a spectator, left as a victim.

“There were lots of shots, and I just felt something really sharp in my leg. It hurt really bad and I looked down and there was blood shooting out of my leg. And I suppose I started panicking,” she recalled.

Her teenage grandson, Jake, was there holding her hand.

“I remember her saying, ‘Ow! Ow! Help!’ And the next thing I know, I’m supporting her,” recalled Jake. “The whole scene, at first, it was kind of funny, I guess, but it turned out not to be so funny after chaos broke out.”

Two other people were also hit by bullets.

On Tuesday night, Knutson returned to the Twin Cities after spending a few nights in the hospital.

Now, she will spend the next two months recovering.

“I can’t plan anything, obviously, because I can’t do things that I normally do,” she said.

Knutson has a lot of time to think about how she conquered nearly 900 steps at the Jewel Cave National Monument during her trip. She also has time to think about how she’ll likely conquer her next task, which is getting better.

“We’ll get through it,” she said.

Police are still trying to determine just how this happened. So far, they’re not sure whose gun the bullet came from, whether it was from an actor’s gun or if it came from someone else’s gun.

The Wild West shows are now on hold until the police investigation is finished.

Comments (12)
  1. john says:

    wow it takes a real moron to mix live rounds in with blanks. they are very noticably different.

  2. Phil Mcackin says:

    The west is still wild I guess.

  3. Norge says:

    Many participants use a ‘wax’ bullet, or a cotton ‘wad’ or some combination of the two, as some resistence is neccessary to build up pressure in the chamber to have complete powder burn. These normally disintigrate within several feet of leaving the barrel But often newbies do the mixture wrong, or even some experienced players use ‘blank’ ammo thats been left sitting for a couple of years and has ‘hardened’. Especially the ones that are a mix of wad and wax, then you can end up with a projectile that while seldom leathel, is heavy enough to cause serious injury. Notice they did not mention the composition of the ‘bullet’ removed from the wound…..maybe because it detracts from the ‘drama’ of the story if it mentioned that it was a ‘wax’ bullet and not a real one? Accuracey in reporting is no longer relevent at CBS…it is all about the ‘story’ not the facts. Dan Rather elevated it to an art-form and got away with reporting out-right lies for years. Now it is drama by omission. Hope she feels better soon, BTW.

    1. Todd W. Olson says:

      One of these buffoons made a serious, potentially lethal, error and a completely innocent bystander was seriously injured as a result. Are you, perhaps, being just a teensy bit defensive? Granted, this article doesn’t come right out of the NRA playbook…

  4. TW says:

    Good thing they weren’t doing a reenactment of a hanging. That one might be really bad for tourism. Should have gone to Wall Drug instead.

    Hope they get their stuff together, that was really bone headed however it happened. I bet the lady will get a nice settlement out of it after they work out the compensation for pain and suffering. Was there ever a case where that phrase fit any better?

  5. Drunken Dissed Orderly says:

    Might have made more sense to get firearms that can ONLY chamber a blank round and won’t fit a live round instead of using real firearms and wax handloads.

    1. Lefty says:

      I gotcher “hand load”

  6. Ronald Raygun says:

    Aint shootin guns great?

    1. retphxfire says:

      Wait a minute, didn’t you know that we have ONE amendment, the Second, I guess the First got lost) that encourages fools owning guns? I know that it is the only amendment to the Constitution, unless you are ‘surprised’ there are other and you need to recognize any of the other 26. (read with tongue-in-cheek)

  7. Gooch Janus says:

    this woman and her family are known frauds here in birchwood. would not be surprised if a fruitless lawsuit is filed.

    1. retphxfire says:

      So the other two people shot were also ‘in’ on the conspiracy? sheesh

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