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Sam Kelly Sites

Happy Valley RM 10, Saskatchewan, S0H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1999/06/14

Entrance to cave where outlaws reportedly hid from the authorities, 2003.; Government of Saskatchewan, Carlos Germann, 2003.
Outlaw Cave
View of turtle effigy feature outlined with fieldstones, 1982.; Government of Saskatchewan, 1982.
Pat Giles Turtle Effigy
View of kidney-shaped fieldstone ceremonial feature, 1973.; Government of Saskatchewan, 1973.
Dick Giles Ceremonial Circle

Other Name(s)

Sam Kelly Sites
Giles Ranch

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/02/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Sam Kelly Sites is a Municipal Heritage Property consisting of 256 hectares of land located in a branch of the Big Muddy Valley near the United States border. The property contains at least nine archaeological sites, including stone rings and effigies, caves and homestead remains.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Sam Kelly sites lies in their association with important local and regional historic themes. The stone rings and effigies reveal information regarding both everyday and ceremonial aspects of precontact First Nations culture. First Nations still hold these sites in high regard for their spiritual significance and as symbols of cultural continuity.

Other sites on the property have associations with individuals who embody the mythology of the western frontier. Around the turn of the twentieth century, outlaws such as Sam Kelly, Dutch Henry, and the Nelson Jones gang reportedly used the valley's caves to hide out from American authorities. The homestead remains are related to Monty Montana, a singing cowboy, trick roper and occasional movie actor renowned for appearing in sixty Tournament of Roses parades.

The Sam Kelly sites are also valued for their contribution to the local community’s sense of time and place. Residents take pride in the distinctive character of their district, which derives in large part from the history represented by these sites.


Rural Municipality of Happy Valley No. 10 Bylaw No. 1-99.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the Sam Kelly Sites resides in the following character-defining elements:
-all of the property’s archaeological objects and features, especially those in their existing locations, such as stone rings, cairns and effigies, cellar depressions, caves and artifacts;
-the near pristine natural setting which evokes a sense of the past;
-use of the site by First Nations for ceremonial purposes;
-use of the site by community residents for educational, leisure and tourism purposes.




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (SK)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act, s. 11(1)(a)

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Food Supply
Farm or Ranch


Undetermined (archaeological site)
Exposed Site
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Aboriginal Sacred Site

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Department of Culture Youth and Recreation Heritage Resources Branch 1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK File: MHP 2002

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

MHP 2002



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