This enchanting, fully restored grand hotel, founded in 1880, served emigrants on the Bozeman Trail, two U.S. presidents, and some of Wyoming's most colorful characters. Owen Wister immortalized the Occidental in his 1902 novel The Virginian, about the Johnson County Cattle War. After winning a high-stakes poker game in 1918, one family held on to the hotel for 58 years, keeping intact all of its original furnishings and architectural accents. A lavish $1 million–plus
restoration under current owners John and Dawn Wexo spruced up the Victorian-style rooms and tin-ceiling lobby, saloon, and restaurant, sparing this living treasure from the wrecking ball. Most spectacular among the many nostalgic suites are the Clear Creek, with its six-post cherrywood bed, adjoining sitting room, and spacious bathroom, and the elegant Teddy Roosevelt Suite, furnished with a high-back walnut bed, an antique hardwood desk, and a claw-foot tub. Down in the saloon, the 25-foot bar, stained-glass shade, and tin ceiling look brand new—except for 23 bullet holes, revealing origins in the cutthroat, quick-draw era. On Thursday nights nowadays there's a bluegrass hootenanny jam-packed with friendlies.