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Johnson County’s Rich History

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Johnson County emerged during some one of the most wild and western days in history. From outlaw country to Indian territory, get an inside peak into the stories and even stand in the exact places where this history was made.

Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid

A notorius bank and train robber, and leader of the Wild Bunch Gang, Cassidy was known as the “Robbin Hood of the West” for sharing his loot with folks whose lives were ruined by cattle barrons and bankers. 

Considered a “gentleman” who perferred bowler hats and the finer things in life, it is reported that he never killed a single man throughout the entirety of his “career”.

Between robberies, the Wild Bunch would lie low at the Hole-in-the-Wall. Outlaw gangs the likes of Jesse James (among others) holed up at famous hideout southwest of Kaycee as well.

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See it for yourself

Hoofprints of the Past Museum Head to the museum in Kaycee, immerse yourself in the history of Outlaw Country and sign up for a guided tour of this and other historical areas. www.hoofprintsofthepast.org

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Johnson County Cattle War

During the late 1800’s the Johnson County Cattle War erupted between homesteading ranchers and the cattle barons of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.

Homesteaders were excluded from roundups and forced off their land. In retaliation, they founded their own cattle association to protect their herds during the roundup season.

The WYSGA put out a “hit list” of these homesteaders, who were labeld as rustlers.

Leader of the homesteaders assocation efforts, Nate Champion, was considered their most wanted target. In the spring of 1892, the WYSGA invaded Johnson County with intentions of taking control of the area, and cornered Champion and Nick Ray at the KC Ranch.

Champion & Ray held them off long enough for news of the invasion to reach Buffalo, but were gunned down after the burning down of the ranch house.

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Learn more:

Jim Gatchell Museum – Buffalo – www.jimgatchell.com

Hoofprints of the Past Museum – Kaycee – www.hoofprintsofthepast.org

Take a Walk into Indian Territory

The Dull Knife Battle:

In 1876, Dull Knife, chief of the Northern Cheyenne, reluctantly led his people fo fight alongside Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull at the Battle of the Little Bighorn against Custer.

That winter, Dull Knife and his people fell victim to the U.S. Army’s retaliation campaign while they were camped along the Powder River near Kaycee. The raid that ensued was the last great frontier battle, and Dull Knife’s final fight for freedom.

Located on what is now the Red Fork Ranch, visitors still find spent rifle shells from the battle. Contact the Red Fork Ranch for tour info. www.redforkranch.com

Fort Phil Kearny:

The site of the preserved Fetterman Massacre and Wagon Box Fight battle sites, the Fort Phil Kearny Interpretive Center offers additional Native American history, guided tours, events & dramatized historical accounts.

Just 12 Miles north of Buffalo. www.fortphilkearny.com

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Before you dive in, please note:

safety first

Johnson County, Wyoming, and our local businesses and attractions are taking necessary safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during this unprecedented time. Before you make your plans to go to any of the locations listed on this website and in the articles, please visit their website to familiarize yourself with their guidelines. And please, wear your favorite face covering while visiting Buffalo and Kaycee, Wyoming.

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