History

While outlaws roamed the windswept high plains, canyons and mountains of post Civil War Wyoming, the territorial legislature was planning a state-of-the-art penitentiary at Rawlins in anticipation of statehood.

This new Wyoming State Penitentiary, which would serve from 1901 until 1981 would send a strong message to freewheeling desperadoes... Wyoming would no longer be a haven for the lawless!

The Old Pen, as the Wyoming Frontier Prison is affectionately called today, is “haunted by history” around every corner. Tales of great train robbers, wily escapes and of women driven to crimes of passion are told on the scheduled guided tours offered from April through October. Group tours and off-season tours are also available.

Visitors may browse through history in the prison museum where historical information sits side by side with confiscated inmate made weapons and an exhibit of the movie “Prison” filmed on location at the Old Pen.

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