The Washita River rises in north Texas and flows east for thirty-five miles to enter Roger Mills County. From the state line the stream flows southeast for 260 miles emptying into Lake Texoma and the Red River in Johnston County.
As the stream was a favorite campground for nomadic tribes, the upper Washita was the scene of much military activity during the sporadic Indian wars; Col. George A. Custer's attack on Black Kettle's village, known as the "Battle of the Washita", occurred near present-day Cheyenne, on November 27, 1868. The Indian siege of Capt. Wyllys Lyman's wagon train took place near the Washita in Hemphill County, Texas, on September 9-14, 1874.
Hide hunters frequented the upper Washita, as did early ranchers, for whom the stream was a favorite place to water their herds.