Buffalo, Wyoming is 6 hours north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 4 hours minutes from Cody, Wyoming, 30 minutes from Sheridan, Wyoming, 3 hours from Laramie, Wyoming and 4 hours from Yellowstone National Park. This town with a population of 4584 in northern Wyoming, is tucked into the rolling plains of the Bighorn Mountain foothills. Buffalo is the site of the Johnson County War (a battle among ranchers and settlers over the use of rangeland), and not far from the Hole-in-the-Wall country. The town’s name was not named for a shaggy beast – settlers drew names from a hat, the winner had written his New York hometown.
Downtown Buffalo’s Main Street is lined with historical buildings restored with quaint shops, galleries and restaurants. Margo’s Pottery was a great find with local artists – I purchased a mug made by Stephen Mullins from Red Bison Studio. The Bucking Buffalo Supply Company located in the Longmire Headquarters Building had amazing mens and women clothing along with Longmire souvenirs. Large murals painted on the side of the corner brick buildings show the lifestyle of the area. The town has Wyoming’s largest free public swimming pool and a public golfcourse, Buffalo Golf Club, rated by Golf Digest in 2009 as Wyoming’s “Best Municipal Golf Club”.
The Occidental Hotel looks like it did 140 years ago when it had guests from the past like Butch Cassidy, “Wild Bill” Hickok, Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, Tom Horn, “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Calamity Jane, Owen Wister (author of The Virginian-see link below to the book), General Sheridan, General Crook, President Teddy Roosevelt and many more. All of downtown Buffalo is now listed by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a part of their National Register of Historic Districts.
Buffalo lies on the route of the Bozeman Trail, which cut through the hunting grounds of Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes. Forts were built to protect travelers from the resentful hostile tribes, like Fort Phil Kearny, who sustained massacres of Fetterman Massacre and the Wagon Box Fight.
Outside of Buffalo 18 miles northwest, is the UCross 20,000-acre Ranch and Foundation established in 1981. The mission of the UCross Foundation is to “foster the creative spirit of deeply committed artists by providing uninterrupted time, studio space, living accommodations and experience the majestic High Plans while serving as a good stewart”. Artists of all disciplines, writers, composers, visual and performing artists can apply for residency from 1 week to a month and stay for free while studying their creative art. Artists come from all over the world and the list is impressive who have won Golden Globe, Tony Awards, Pulitzer Prizes and National Book Awards are impressive.
One of these artists was Craig Johnson from Buffalo a writer who went on to have his books developed into a Netflix TV series “Longmire” (check out the link below for the complete paperback series). I was able to get a signed copy from one of the shops in town Every summer “Longmire Days” happen in Buffalo during the summer.
Looking for Craig Johnson Books? Check out this link to Mystery Mike’s bookstore.
The history of how the UCross Ranch came to be established is amazing. In 1878 towards the close of the Indian wars, four ranches which were previously on Indian hunting grounds were incorporated by four partners. Big Red, Big Corrals and Powder River ran approximately 16,500 cattle on this land. Big Red became the headquarters of the ranches, a post office was operated in the late 1890s and it was on the stagecoach route to Buffalo and Clearmont.