Stanford is the county seat of Judith Basin County and had its beginnings as a station on the Fort Benton-Billings stage route. It was also a favorite hangout for the cowboys who worked for the numerous cattle companies surrounding the area before the homesteaders and sheep ranchers moved in.
In 1880, the Bower brothers, Calvin and Edward brought a thousand head of sheep and purchased 100,000 acres to graze them on. When the settlement got a post office, the Bowers named the town for their old hometown, Stanfordville, in New York.
For years legends of white wolves roaming the area proliferated. One huge one, "Old Snowdrift," was a legendary outlaw. A mounted white wolf can be seen at the Basin Trading Post.
A young cowboy here got his 15 minutes of fame when he rode a horse the local cowboys said couldn’t be ridden. "Kid" Amby Cheney took the bet and rode the horse. He earned $65 for his effort when a hat was passed around for his benefit.