Situated at the confluence of the North Platte and Laramie Rivers and named for early trapper Jacques La Ramee, the fort was purchased in June of 1849 by the U. S. Army to protect emigrants and travelers along the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails from Indians.
Soon after the discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1875, a wagon road was established between Fort Laramie and Custer City, linking the Black Hills gold camps with the fort and Cheyenne to the south.
Fort Laramie soon became a major staging point for military operations along the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage route, protecting travelers from Indian attacks and highway robbery. The sutler's store provided supplies and served as a resting point along the route. It also became a haven for frequent gambling between travelers, soldiers and Indians.
The Long Hunt: In the early morning of February 24, 1877, Bret Maverick was playing poker with six other men at the sutler's store at Fort Laramie. After a string of winning hands, Bret happened to beat another player's four of a kind, and was accused of cheating. Threatening to kill Bret to get their money back, he decided to jump on his horse and get away from Fort Laramie as fast as he could. The six men gave chase into the late morning and caught up to Bret along the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage route several miles to the south. A shot made Bret missed Bret but made him fall from his horse, which ran off. Fortunately for Bret, Lefty Dolan was waiting in ambush to hold up the next stage. Dolan, believing Bret was a fellow road agent being chased by a posse, fired his rifle at Bret's pursuers and chased them off.
01. Fort Laramie Park History, 1834 – 1977, Merrill J. Mattes (September 1980) (retrieved November 24, 2014)
02. Fort Laramie National Historic Site
03. Maverick, The Long Hunt (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
04. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails
Sutler's store at Fort Laramie, 1877.
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