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A moderate climate shelters this land from the harsh winds and extreme temperatures familiar to much of Wyoming. Excellent grass and pure water drew both Indians and cattlemen to this country. The original Red Angus breed of cattle was developed in this area. Timbering on the Bighorn Mountains provided the ties for the railroad and coal mining brought miners from Europe.
To the west, clear streams flowing from the Bighorn Mountains provide both irrigation and drinking water. To the east, they converge into the Power River as it traverses through arid plains that receive an average of only 13 inches annual precipitation. The Powder River is said to be “one inch deep and a mile wide.” Traveling north, it becomes a major tributary to the Yellowstone River.
The diversity of agriculture includes internationally renowned polo horses as well as a wide variety of livestock breeds. Alfalfa and grass hay have replaced sugar beets, wheat and corn as the primary crops. The area contains some of the oldest ranches in the state, many established by British royalty, along with the oldest operating dude ranch in the United States. The legend of the cowboy and the west is still alive and apparent on working ranches in the area.