The relative lack of objective data delineating rural needs has limited the development of creative training programs. The authors describe the process of developing a network approach to teaching psychiatric emergency skills. Using information collected from questionnaires, they defined the attributes of the rural setting, the emergency services, the staff, and the patients, and then tailored a program to meet these needs. The questionnaire results suggested that the extensive informal network of crisis care providers gives rural emergency services their unique character. The authors conclude that a successful training workshop should gather together members of both informal and formal networks to address group process and teaming issues. The faculty, consisting of urban and rural staff, must also overcome regional differences to build an effective working alliance.