Near the base of the Bighorn mountain range, the City of Buffalo was founded in 1879 after the end of the Indian War Campaigns. Buffalo originally serviced soldiers from Fort McKinney located 3 miles south on the Bozeman Trail. In the years that followed, the town became a center for the cattle and sheep industry. As the influence of agriculture grew, Buffalo took center stage when conflicts between large cattle interests and local homesteaders led to an event known as the Johnson County War. In 1892, large cattle interests hired 50 Texas gunmen to seek out and kill suspected cattle rustlers in the area around Buffalo. Known as the "Invaders", the armed men made their way through Johnson County and were stopped at the TA Ranch 13 miles south of Buffalo. During a prolonged battle at the TA Ranch, 200 armed citizens confronted the "Invaders" and President Harrison dispatched soldiers from nearby Fort McKinney to quell the escalating violence.
The City of Buffalo has numerous buildings that showcase the atmosphere of a bustling late 19th and early 20th century western town. The Buffalo Main Street Historic District exhibits historically significant buildings dating from 1900 to1932 highlighting Buffalo's unique position as a crossroads of commerce, entertainment, and agriculture. Of particular note are the Occidental Hotel
(made famous by Owen Wister, the author of The Virginian), the Johnson County Courthouse (one of the oldest structures in Wyoming built in 1884), and the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum (formerly an Andrew Carnegie Library). Historic sites in the surrounding area include Fort McKinney and Fort Phil Kearney which served as frontier outposts in the 19th century. Fort Phil Kearney is a Wyoming State Historic Site and is open year round for visitation.