The historic downtown of Laramie, nestled in a valley between the Medicine Bow Mountains and the Laramie Range, has several quaint buildings, some of which date back to 1868, the year after the railroad arrived and the city was established. For a time it was a tough "end-of-the-rail" town. Vigilantes took care of lawbreakers, hanging them from convenient telegraph poles. Then in 1872 the city constructed the Wyoming Territorial
Prison on the bank of the Little Laramie River. One of its most famous inmates was Butch Cassidy. The prison has since closed, and things have calmed down in this city of approximately 30,000. It's now the center of open-plains ranching country and the site of the University of Wyoming, Wyoming's only state university.