Much of the rich history and culture in Osage County is credited to the Osage Nation, which relocated here in 1872. The American Dream began in this part of the country for oil barons such as Frank Phillips and E. W. Marland, who gathered around the Million Dollar Elm in Pawhuska to bid on oil leases to make their fortunes. Today oilmen continue this legacy, pumping oil throughout Osage County.
Cowboys began driving cattle over this part of Indian Territory during the civil war, fattening them on abundant bluestem grass. Today you can see over 250,000 head of cattle grazing the same Osage grass along with an estimated 10,000 bison. And where there was money to be had and good places to hide, there were always outlaws; Jesse James, Belle Starr, and the Dalton brothers hid out in the hills and caves throughout the county. Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve continues an almost century old tradition by hosting the Cow Thieves and Outlaws Reunion event every fall. This was historically hosted by oilman, Frank Phillips, at his Woolaroc ranch. The story goes that the outlaws and lawmen of the day were all invited to a grand party at the ranch with the agreement that when the party ended, the outlaws got a head start ahead of the lawmen. Leave it to the negotiating abilities of an oilman-genius to forge out that agreement, but he got it done! Outlaws and lawmen are pictured together at this event in photos in the Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve located between Barnsdall and Bartlesville off Hwy 123.