See G. L. Hall, The Two Lives of Baby Doe (1962); D. A. Smith, Horace Tabor: His Life and the Legend (1973).
In 1857 Tabor returned briefly to Maine to marry Augusta Pierce, daughter of his former employer William B. Pierce, then returned with her to Riley County. In 1859, as rumors of gold began to spread, the couple moved west with the "Fifty-Niners" to Denver (still in Kansas Territory at the time). The Tabors soon relocated to the Oro City area where Horace sought gold until 1877, when they settled in Leadville, Colorado. There he continued prospecting while also engaging in business and politics. The couple ran Leadville's general store and postal system and, following his election on January 26, 1878, Tabor served as mayor of Leadville for one year. It was Tabor who first hired lawman Mart Duggan, who is credited with finally bringing Leadville's violent crime rate under control.
Also in 1878, Tabor was elected Lieutenant Governor of Colorado and served in that post until January 1884. He served as U.S. Senator from January 27, 1883 until March 3, 1883, following the resignation of Henry M. Teller. On March 1, 1883, Tabor finally legalized his relationship with Elizabeth "Baby Doe" McCourt in a public (and, to some, scandalous) wedding ceremony at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC after securing a divorce with Augusta. This marriage produced two daughters, Elizabeth Bonduel Lily and Rosemary Silver Dollar Echo. From his marriage to Augusta, Tabor fathered one son, Maxey.
When he became terminally ill with appendicitis in 1899, Tabor's final request of Baby Doe was that she maintain the Matchless claim. She returned to Leadville and lived in poverty and insanity in a shack beside the Matchless mine for thirty-six years, although at that time the mine no longer belonged to her. Her corpse was found in March 1935, frozen with her arms crossed peacefully across her chest. It is unknown whether she perished from natural causes or froze to death. Her story would eventually inspire many artistic pieces, by Douglas Moore and others.
When Tabor himself died in 1899, flags were flown at half staff and 10,000 people were reported to have attended his funeral. His body was interred at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Denver and later reinterred at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, in Jefferson County, Colorado, where it now rests beside that of Baby Doe. In his remembrance, there is a Tabor Lake at the base of Tabor Peak approximately 12 miles southwest of Leadville, just south of Independence pass.