Serving as a western gateway to the Black Hills, Crook County, Wyoming is a place of beauty and diversity. The varied terrain includes the state's lowest elevation, 3,125 feet, situated north of the town of Aladdin, while rugged Warren Peak rises to a height of 6,800 feet. Among the county's many communities is nearby Sundance from which famous desperado Harry Longabaugh took the name "Sundance Kid" after being imprisoned there for horse stealing.
Long a favorite hunting ground of Plains Indian tribes, few white men had entered what is now Crook County before 1874. In that year, an elaborate military expedition led by Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer passed near this point prior to discovering gold in the Black Hills. Hoards of gold hungry prospectors quickly descended on the area, although the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 had reserved the Black Hills for the Sioux Nation. Bloody conflict ensued, but General George Crook, for whom the county is named, played an instrumental role in defeating the Indians and confining them to reservations. Crook County was thus opened to white settlement.
In 1876, gold seekers founded Beulah, Crook County's oldest town. Despite the initial lure of gold, ranching provided the county's enduring wealth. After the Civil War, great cattle drives brought Texas Longhorns to the Northwestern plains.
Herds were driven through Moorcroft and western Crook County on the Texas Trail, leaving in their dusty wake the beginnings of a cattle kingdom in Wyoming. Stockraising, lumbering, oil and tourism all play an important role in the modern day Crook County economy. Tourists enjoy the abundant recreational opportunities offered by scenic Devils Tower — the nation's first national monument — the Black Hills National Forest and Keyhole State Park.