Buffalo is a trove of history and a hospitable little town in the foothills below Big Horn Pass. Here cattle barons who wanted free grazing and homesteaders who wanted to build fences fought it out in the Johnson County War of 1892. Nearby are the sites of several skirmishes between the U.S. military and Native Americans along the Bozeman Trail. Buffalo is 182 miles due west on I–90 of Sturgis, South Dakota. The first week of every August, Sturgis hosts a very popular and legendary bikers’ conclave. So, if you’re passing through at this time of year, don’t be surprised to hear the occasional roar of hogs.

Buffalo’s Occidental Hotel may be the best place to begin your visit to the Big Horn region, particularly on a Thursday night. That’s when you’ll find bluegrass music flowing through the doors of its Western-style saloon, and virtually the entire town assembled there. It’s a good chance to meet the locals, enjoy some great music and refreshments, and contribute to local charities, for which the gathering has raised thousands of dollars. This is as friendly as the West gets.

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Fodor's Montana and Wyoming: with Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Parks

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