Laurel is a city in Yellowstone County, Montana, United States. It is the third largest community in the Billings Metropolitan Statistical Area, and is located in the Yellowstone Valley, as an east–west terminal division point of the Burlington-Northern Railroad. The population was 6,781 at the 2010 census.
Laurel is home to a Cenex Harvest States oil refinery and Montana Rail Link's Laurel Yard, the largest rail yard between St. Paul, Minnesota and Pasco, Washington.
Before Laurel became a city or a community, people passed through the site during the gold rush period, when gold was discovered at the Clarks Fork headwaters. They came by team and wagon, and by small steamer vessels up the Yellowstone River. The government was in the process of planning a railroad to the west coast, and had surveying crews out to map the country on the most direct route. Many of the prospectors that went west in search of gold, felt gold might be found in other parts of the state, so some returned to the Yellowstone Valley, and others came from the East to settle here. However, this did not take place until after the Custer Massacre in 1876. It was not until 1877 that the white man felt safe in the Yellowstone Valley, after the power of the Sioux was broken.