By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Black Hills, Mid-Continent Resort - American Resort Series No. 4
Author: Williams, Albert Nathaniel
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Black Hills, Mid-Continent Resort - American Resort Series No. 4" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

                            The Black Hills
                          MID-CONTINENT RESORT

                         BY Albert N. Williams

    [Illustration: Southern Methodist University Press Logo]

                          AMERICAN RESORT SERIES NO. 4

                  Southern Methodist University Press

                          COPYRIGHT, 1952, BY

                         AMERICAN RESORT SERIES

  No. 1: Gatlinburg: Gateway to the Great Smokies, _by Edwin J. Foscue_
  No. 2: Taxco: Mexico’s Silver City, _by Edwin J. Foscue_
  No. 3: Estes Park: Resort in the Rockies, _by Edwin J. Foscue and
          Louis O. Quam_
  No. 4: The Black Hills: Mid-Continent Resort, _by Albert N. Williams_

                               For Chris


The research on early Black Hills and Badlands history was ably assisted
by Miss June Carothers, whose services were provided the author through
a generous grant-in-aid by the University of Denver’s Bureau of
Humanities and Social Development.

Miss Ina T. Aulls, Mrs. Alys Freeze, Mrs. Opal Harber, Miss Margery
Bedinger, Mrs. Margaret Simonds, Mrs. Elizabeth Kingston, and Mrs. Clara
Cutright, all of the Denver Public Library, are particularly to be
thanked for placing the resources of that institution at my disposal.

For assistance in preparing the manuscript, I wish to thank Miss Helen
Kiamos, Miss Edith Goldfarb, and Miss Lillian Helling.

I am indebted to Bell Photo of Rapid City for the photograph of the
Needles highway; to Ned Perrigoue of Rapid City for that of Sylvan Lake;
to the Denver Public Library Western Collection for those of Calamity
Jane, Wild Bill Hickok, and Deadwood Gulch in 1881; and to Mr. A. H.
Pankow of the South Dakota State Highway Commission for that of a Black
Hills stream.

And finally, as always, thanks go to my wife, Ann, for her patient
editorial help.

                                                      Albert N. Williams

  _University of Denver
  Denver, Colorado_

                      Books by Albert N. Williams

                         ROCKY MOUNTAIN COUNTRY
                        THE WATER AND THE POWER
                          THE BOOK BY MY SIDE


  I The Black Hills: The Forbidden Land                                 1
  II The Formation of the Black Hills                                  15
  III The Hills Today                                                  27
  IV History I: Indians and Gold                                       47
  V History II: Deadwood Days                                          78
  VI The White River Badlands                                         115
    Bibliography                                                      126
    Index                                                             127


  Along the Needles Highway                              _facing page_ 34
  Harney Peak—older by ages than the Rockies                           35
  The Four Great Faces: Mount Rushmore Memorial                        50
  Sylvan Lake mirrors great granite shields at an elevation of 6,250
          feet                                                         51
  Calamity Jane, during her carnival days                              82
  Wild Bill Hickok, from an early portrait                             82
  Cheyenne—Black Hills Stage carrying bullion guarded by shotgun
          messengers                                                   82
  Deadwood Gulch in 1881                                               83
  Modern Deadwood—seventy years later                                  83
  One of the Black Hills’ many streams                                 98
  The Badlands: Desolate, empty, and seared                            99


I have had an opportunity to enjoy one of the most readable accounts of
the Black Hills I have ever come across. It is written to acquaint
traveling America with an area which was long off the beaten path of
tourists, and which has only during the past quarter century been
recognized as a place where people who wish to “Know America First” may
profitably spend some time.

Mr. Williams has outlined the historical reason why this small
wonderland was so long outside the consciousness of America, and he has
devoted a chapter to telling about the methods of nature in producing
the intricacies of this formation, older by far than the Alps or the
Himalayas. He has made the subject live, and he includes enough expert
terminology to satisfy the reader that he knows whereof he speaks.

In his chapter on “The Hills Today” Mr. Williams outlines what the
tourist should see, and how to see it. For that chapter alone his book
would be well worth the attention of every prospective sight-seer. He
has two chapters pertaining to the history of the region, the first
speculating on how the whole economic growth of the West might well have
been altered had a confirmed story of “gold in the Black Hills” been
released fifty years before it was spread-eagled on the pages of the
_Chicago Inter-Ocean_. It is an interesting speculation, and he gives it
a pleasing reality.

Another chapter deals with the lives of some of the characters exploited
and given semi-permanent fame by the old dime novels. Deadwood without
these characters would be just another picturesque town set down in a
mountain valley; with them it becomes one of America’s better-known hot
spots, vying with the Klondike and Leadville.

Mr. Williams’ last chapter on the Badlands, a neighboring phenomenon, a
place of amazing mystery and strange disorder, serves to depict what
might be termed the undepictable in terms exactly calculated to excite
the reader’s absorbed interest.

                                                        Will G. Robinson

  _South Dakota State Historical Society
  Pierre, South Dakota
  December 17, 1951_

                              CHAPTER ONE
                            The Black Hills:
                           The Forbidden Land

The thing to remember is that the Black Hills are not hills at all. They
are mountains, the highest mountains east of the Rockies, with Harney
Peak rising to a height of 7,242 feet above sea level. Inasmuch as the
prairie floor averages, at the four entrances to the Hills, only 3,200
feet in elevation, these are mountains of considerable stature.

The title “hills” was by no means given the area by early white
settlers. Indeed, if that majestic domain had not already been named the
Black Hills by the Indians, George Armstrong Custer, who in 1874 made
the first full-scale exploration of the region, would no doubt have
dignified it with a more appropriate and properly descriptive name—the
Sioux or the Dakota Mountains, in all probability.

From time beyond remembrance, however, the region had been known to the
Indians as Paha Sapa, exactly to be translated as “Black Hills,” and
very properly that name was accepted by government geographers. The use
of the word “black” possibly fulfilled several functions, for not only
do these massive peaks appear decidedly black when seen against the
horizon across distances as great as a hundred miles, but they were, to
the superstitious braves of the Teton Sioux, the abode of the Thunders
and studiously to be avoided.

This taboo fastness was one of the last regions in the great American
West to be explored and settled. For one reason, it enjoyed an isolation
from the centers of development that served to discourage any but the
most hardy of explorers. Lying in the extreme western end of present-day
South Dakota, the Black Hills were two hundred miles west of the
settlements around Pierre, on the Missouri River, and two hundred miles
north of the towns along the North Platte, the valley of the
Oregon-California Trail. The most important reason, though, for its
belated opening was that gold was not discovered in the Black Hills
until 1874, and it was the discovery of gold in various sections which
more than any other single set of circumstances dictated the pattern of
the development of the trans-Mississippi West.

Even today this fascinating region remains nearly the most remote of all
America’s resort and recreation areas. The Grand Canyon lies but an
hour’s drive from a major east-west transcontinental highway. Estes
Park,[1] in the Rockies, is only seventy miles from the city of Denver.
Glacier Park is easily served by the Great Northern Railroad on its
overland run, and Yellowstone enjoys direct service by three railroads.
But the Black Hills lie beyond the privileges of railroad stopovers, and
in order to visit them the tourist has no choice but to plan a vacation
trip for the sake of the Hills themselves and not as a side venture from
any of the traditional tours of the West. The Hills are worth the

The Black Hills occupy a rectangular realm which is roughly one hundred
miles long, north to south, and fifty miles across its east-west axis.
The White River Badlands, which are customarily visited on any Black
Hills trip, form a depression in the high prairies some forty miles long
and fifteen miles across the widest part. This stark and empty waste is
to be found some seventy-five miles east of the Black Hills, or, more
precisely, east of Rapid on U.S. Highway 14-16.

There are five major access routes to the land of Paha Sapa. From the
west, which is to say from Yellowstone Park, five hundred miles distant,
the Hills can be reached by U.S. Highways 14 and 16. These routes come
in together across the high plains of northern Wyoming, and separate a
few hours’ drive from the South Dakota border, 14 veering to the north
and 16 continuing through the central section of the Hills.

From the south, U.S. 85 comes up from Denver, four hundred miles
distant, crossing the Lincoln Highway at Cheyenne, and continuing along
the route of the old Cheyenne-Deadwood stage.

From Omaha and points in the southeast, the Hills are best reached over
U.S. 20 across the top side of Nebraska. Although this route is not a
major east-west route for interstate tourists, it serves a busy
agricultural section and is generally in fine repair.

    [Illustration: The Black Hills; The Badlands]

From the east U.S. 14 and 16, again, bring the tourist through Pierre,
on the Missouri River, past the Badlands, and into the Hills through
Rapid City. From Minneapolis the distance is just over six hundred
miles, while from Chicago it is very nearly a thousand.

For those entering the region from the north, U.S. 12 from Miles City,
Montana, is in all probability the best route.

The gateways to the Black Hills are the towns of Hot Springs in the
south, Rapid City on the eastern edge, Spearfish or Belle Fourche at the
north, and Custer in the west. All these towns offer entirely acceptable
accommodations for a touring family; in fact, no one need drive more
than twenty or thirty miles from any point in the area to find suitable
lodgings at a desired rate.

Hot Springs, on U.S. 18-85A and State 87, is situated at an altitude of
3,443 feet and has a population of approximately five thousand. It is
the one sector of the Black Hills that does not owe its original
development to the gold rush of the seventies, but was sought out from
the earliest days for its natural thermal springs.

The town is located in a large bowl of the southern hills known as the
Vale of Minnekahta, from the Sioux name for “warm waters.” Situated as
it is on the rim of the Hills region, it was not included in the general
taboo that cloaked the rest of Paha Sapa to the north; and for nearly a
century before its discovery by the white man in 1875, it was a favored
health resort of the Indians. As a matter of fact, Battle Mountain,
which overlooks the town, takes its name from a legendary war between
the Sioux and the Cheyenne for the exclusive privileges of the hot

Not long after the discovery of the springs a syndicate of investors who
had come into the Hills from Iowa bought the ranch claims that had been
taken out in the Minnekahta Canyon, and sought to develop the region as
a spa. This was in the late eighties when salubrious waters were in high
fashion as a cure for arthritis and other joint and muscular disorders
of various degrees of complexity. Colonel Fred T. Evans, who had made a
fortune operating a bull-team freight line from Fort Pierre to Rapid
City, built an elaborate resort, the Evans Hotel, which even today is
imposing in its last-century splendor; and with the arrival in 1890 and
1891 of two railroads, the Chicago and Northwestern and the Burlington,
wealthy cure-seekers from all over the United States made it their habit
to spend the summer months in this pleasant town.

    [Illustration: Highways leading into the Black Hills.]

Healing waters have long since gone out of vogue as a form of
recreation, and although several clinics still treat a modest number of
visitors for one indisposition or another, the town of Hot Springs has
ceased to be a tourist center of any consequence. Also, the fact that
the Springs are located a considerable distance south of U.S. 16, the
main east-west route through the Hills, has contributed to the
increasing isolation which this town enjoys, drowsily seeing to the
wants of the occasional visitor who strays into Paha Sapa from the south
along U.S. 85. But do not mistake it, it is a pleasant town to stop in,
with excellent motor courts and a good selection of restaurants.

The town of Custer, a scant fifteen miles from the Wyoming border on
U.S. 16, is little more today than a tourist stopover. It is almost two
thousand feet higher than Hot Springs, at an altitude of 5,301 feet, and
contains, according to the latest estimates, nearly two thousand

As the tourist enters the town he will immediately be amazed by the wide
main street; but if he ponders for a moment the problems of turning a
freight wagon behind sixteen oxen, the reason will become clear. Custer,
the western gateway to the Hills, was, until the coming of the
railroads, a major way station on the busy Cheyenne-Deadwood stage and
freight route; and for fifteen years the great bull wagons teamed into
this busy center where, in most cases, the goods were unloaded and
trans-shipped by lighter wagons into the various mining centers
throughout the northern and central Hills.

Custer, the oldest of the white man’s settlements in Paha Sapa, was
founded in 1875 by gold-seekers who flocked into the territory following
the reports of yellow metal sent back by George Custer after his
exploratory campaign of 1874. In the first spring and summer of its
existence more than five thousand miners swarmed into the region to pan
gold. This invasion was a violation of the government’s treaty with the
Sioux, and the military forced the argonauts to leave.

By 1876 the Indian problem had come to a head with the defeat of General
Custer on the Little Big Horn in eastern Montana; and as one phase of
retaliation the federal government redrafted the Sioux treaty, allowing
American citizens to enter the Black Hills, until this time reserved for
the Indians. Although for some time the tribal leaders could not be
persuaded to sign the revised agreement, the restrictions on settlers
were removed, and back into the Hills rushed the prospectors—this time
to the new strikes in Deadwood Gulch, in the north.

By the middle of 1877 Custer, where gold had originally been found, had
a population of a mere three hundred souls, all of them concerned
primarily with the operation of the stage stations and hostels. True, a
few grizzled placer miners still worked the streams near by, and do to
this day; but hard rock mining in Deadwood was the new order of affairs.

The visitor to this section of the Hills today will find it pleasant to
stay the night in any one of a wide choice of tourist courts and other
reasonable billets, and he may see much of historical interest within a
few miles’ drive of Custer. A settler’s stockade, reconstructed to the
original model of 1874, is a remarkable site to visit, and the Jewel
Cave is best reached from this point. For sheer color and pageantry the
annual celebration of Gold Discovery Days, which is held at Custer late
in July—near the date of the discovery of gold, July 27—is an affair not
to be missed during a Black Hills vacation at that time of year.

The town of Spearfish is the point of entrance to the region on U.S. 14,
or, coming in from the north, on U.S. 85. This tidy metropolis, called
the Queen City of the Black Hills, never knew the heady history that
marked the early days of Custer, of Deadwood, of Rapid City, or even of
fashionable Hot Springs. Lying outside the magnificent natural bowl of
mineral deposits, Spearfish was founded and exists today for the simple
purpose of supplying the inner Hills with food and produce. It has a
population of between three and four thousand people, most of whose
energies are devoted to agriculture and livestock.

Spearfish has, however, carved for itself a fame and renown even larger,
in many quarters, than that enjoyed by the gold rush towns of gustier
memories. It is the home of the Black Hills Passion Play.

This beautiful and stirring performance, which is given in a large
amphitheater on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday evenings throughout the
summers, is a resurrection in an American atmosphere of the
centuries-old Passion of Luenen, in Germany. The man who plays the
Christus, an inherited responsibility through many generations, is Josef
Meier, who fled from Europe in 1932. For six years, with a reassembled
cast, he toured the United States, performing a much trimmed-down
version of the historic morality on college campuses, in civic
auditoriums, and at summer encampments. It was at such a performance at
the Black Hills Teachers College that the citizens of Spearfish were
inspired to offer the touring company a permanent home. Meier and his
group eagerly accepted the offer, and the town constructed an outdoor
theater seating eight thousand people. Now, each winter the Passion Play
continues its tour of the United States, but all during July and August
it remains in residence, acting its moving and majestic pageant to
constantly packed houses.

The eastern gateway to the Hills is Rapid City, a metropolis of thirty
thousand people which lies on the level prairie just to the east of the
final ring of foothills. Founded, like Spearfish, not as a mining center
but to serve the near-by gold regions, Rapid City has developed a maze
of industrial and commercial enterprises. Shipping, of course, has been
a basic form of commerce from the earliest days, with the two most
heavily traveled trails into the Black Hills, that from Fort Pierre and
that from Sidney, Nebraska, on the Union Pacific, entering the gold area
at Rapid City. Lumbering, manufacture, banking, and livestock quickly
became prominent as the gold fever subsided and the more permanent
settlers began coming into the region to take up the rich cattle and
farming lands in western South Dakota. A final guarantee that Rapid City
will continue to flourish may be seen in the selection by the Air Force
of the high, level prairie land just ten miles to the east of the city
as the nation’s major mid-continent bomber base.

Rapid City is served by U.S. Highway 14-16, and South Dakota state
highways 40 and 79. Two railroads and a major airline assist in handling
the heavy summer tourist travel, and from Rapid City practically every
point of interest in the Black Hills can be reached by car within three

                              CHAPTER TWO
                    The Formation of the Black Hills

One of the most rewarding features of a visit to the Black Hills is the
opportunity for the average individual, who has no technical training,
to see with his own eyes a museum of the earth’s ages and a living
sample of practically every one of the many aeons of the planet’s

The Hills, which is to say the rock substances of the region, are older
by hundreds of millions of years than the stone out-juttings of the
Rocky Mountains. Layer after layer of slates and schists from the very
foundations of this globe lie visibly exposed as the end result of a
doming of the region, a vast blistering, as it were, which raised the
entire structure, layer upon layer, several thousand feet in the air.
Following this doming process, a vigorous program of erosion commenced.
Stratum by stratum the winds and rains cut across this huge blister in a
horizontal plane, eventually laying the core open at the height above
sea level at which we find the Black Hills today. From that core,
extending in every direction in the general form of a circle, the
various strata which once lay so smoothly one upon another have been
laid open as one might slice off the top of an orange.

    [Illustration: The Doming of the Black Hills

    Rock Strata being shifted into a dome at the time of the great
    continental uplift.

    The forces of erosion—wind and water—have levelled the dome and
    opened the seams to view.]

In order to get an even clearer picture of how this amazing phenomenon
came about through the aeons, let us fold back the ages to the very
birth of this planet.

For centuries men have attempted to determine the earth’s exact age, but
except for the famed Archbishop James Ussher of Ireland, who gravely
calculated that the earth was formed at precisely nine o’clock on the
morning of the twelfth of October in the year 4004 B.C., no scientist
has been able to come closer than a few million years in the figures.
Through a number of trustworthy measurements, however—including, in
recent years, the examination of the deterioration of radioactive
elements in rocks—geologists have agreed that the oldest known
ingredients of the earth’s crust have been in existence at least two
billion years, and, according to some very recent calculations, possibly
as long as three and a half billion.

In what is known as the Archean period, the most ancient of which we
have any geological knowledge, a vast sea covered much of North America,
bounded by certain masses of land, the extent of which has never been
discovered. From this land mass remnants of mud and sand were broken
away by waves and deposited on the floor of the sea. Eventually, under
the pressure of its own weight, this material formed shales and
sandstones to an undetermined depth—many thousands of feet. Those
particular sandstones and shales underlie the entire Black Hills area
and extend in nearly every direction for a considerable distance,
suggesting perhaps that the area of the Hills was at one time the bottom
of this watery bowl.

The Archean period came to an end some five hundred million years ago.
By then the seas had withdrawn, and the new land formations which had
lain under the early ocean merged with the vestiges of the first land
mass. But this metamorphosis, which can be described in such calm
fashion, was by no means a gentle affair. It took place largely as the
result of a shifting and rising of certain ocean bottom areas, among
which was the region where we now find the Black Hills.

At the time of this uplift, and possibly contributing to it, there was a
tremendous disturbance in the lower regions of the earth which sent
great streams of molten matter up into the several-mile-thick layer of
shale, through which it poured toward the surface, breaking through in
monolithic forms and hardening into granite. The New Mexico writer,
Eugene Manlove Rhodes, describing a similar geologic phenomenon in the
valley of the Rio Grande, has called it “like sticking a knife through a
tambourine,” and indeed it was. Harney Peak, in Custer State Park, is
just such a granite finger pointing up through the original shales
toward the sky.

When this disturbance took place the granite juttings did not rise above
the surrounding landscape as they now do. In many cases they did not
even reach the surface of the shale beds, but ceased their flow and
hardened short of the crust of the earth, as it was then to be found.
When, however, the region was domed, many millions of years later, the
subsequent weathering of the huge blister did not attack these granite
formations with anywhere near the vigor with which the softer sandstones
and limestones were eroded. What actually occurred, then, was a peeling
away of the softer rocks, leaving the granite formations near their
original sizes, but at last above the ground level in the form of peaks,
needles, and spires.

But we have gotten ahead of our story. Following the Algonkian period,
when the molten matter was injected into the layers of shale, there came
what is known as the Cambrian period. The Cambrian occupied the first
80,000,000 years of the Paleozoic era, which in itself covered the
entire period from 510,000,000 to 180,000,000 years ago.

During the Cambrian period the land subsided again, perhaps because of
the weight of the uplifted sedimentary formations. During this
subsidence the waters once again covered vast portions of North America,
and additional muds and slimes were deposited on the bottom. It was at
this period that life first appeared on the earth, in the form of simple
marine organisms which have left fossil remains. These deposits made in
the Cambrian period can be seen in outcroppings all through the region,
although they are most notably found in the area about Deadwood. Because
of their structure they indicate to the geologist that the shoreline of
the ancient Cambrian sea was near at hand, and also that this covering
of water was by no means as extensive or as deep as the earlier Archean

The deposits of sand and mud, which were eventually pressed into stone,
occasionally reach a depth of as much as five hundred feet, although
they were laid down extremely slowly, as eddying mud is laid at the
bottom of a pond. In the locality of Deadwood they contained a rich
infiltration of gold, and the entire conglomeration was thoroughly
intermixed with a vast outcropping of much older rock—this effect
undoubtedly having taken place later, during the great continental
uplift, when the final doming occurred.

                           THE AGES OF EARTH

   MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO  (Pre-Cambrian Existence back to 3½ Billions
                          of years)

           PALEOZOIC ERA
                          Cambrian Period—First fossils deposited.
                          Marine life.
                          Ordovician Period—Invertebrates increase
                          Silurian Period—Coral reefs formed. First
                          evidence of land life.
                          Devonian Period—First forests. First
                          Mississippian, Pennsylvanian, and Permian
                          Periods.—Reptiles and insects appear.
                          Continental uplift at end of this period.
            MESOZOIC ERA
                          Triassic Period—Small Dinosaurs. First
                          Jurassic Period—Dinosaurs and marine
                          reptiles dominant.
                          Cretaceous Period—Dinosaurs reach zenith of
                          development then disappear. Small mammals.
                          Flowering plants and development of hardwood
                          Paleocene Epoch—Archaic mammals.
                          Eocene Epoch—Modern mammals appear.
                          Oligocene Epoch—Great apes appear.
                          Miocene Epoch—Grazing types of mammals
                          Pliocene Epoch—Man appears.

The next period of the earth’s age—the Ordovician period, which extended
from 430,000,000 to 350,000,000 years ago—has left its mark just as
visibly upon the Black Hills. It was during this period that the many
species of invertebrate marine life reached a zenith of development, and
that a bed of sediment was laid down and later compressed to a pinkish
limestone. The fact that this Ordovician bed is less than forty feet
thick indicates that the land mass from which the muds and sands were
drawn was very low, and that the Cambrian sea was relatively shallow,
entertaining only minor erosive currents along its shores.

The next two ages, the Silurian and the Devonian, which brought our
earth down to a scant 250,000,000 years ago, did not see the deposit of
any silting in the Black Hills region. No doubt the waters which covered
the locality dried up gradually. The Mississippian period, however, was
a time of great depositional activity. A layer of limestone between five
and six hundred feet thick was set down over the entire section. In
later periods this limestone underwent much decay and water erosion,
which formed the amazing caverns for which the Black Hills are known.
Wind Cave, now the site of a National Park, Crystal Cave, and Jewel Cave
are the best-known tourist attractions among the many, although there
are a number of lesser ones, some even today only partially explored.

The chemical activity which accomplished this erosion was caused by the
seeping of rain water down through later accumulations of sediment on
top of the layer of limestone. As it seeped through rotting vegetation
and timber the water collected carbonic acid gases which, when it
reached the level of the Mississippian limestone, eroded the structure
and ate out huge hollows in it.

The thickness of the Mississippian deposit indicated that at this time
the earth had again sunk beneath the waters to a considerable depth. The
shallow sea which had not offered sediment to a greater depth than a few
feet was replaced by active currents which carried heavier sedimentary
materials from great distances, laying them down on the floor of the sea
in various strata to a depth of several hundred feet. Finally, after an
unknown number of millions of years, but perhaps during the Triassic
period, the land again rose above the level of the waters. A red shale
suggests a time of great aridity when the region must have been a near
desert, and certain discernible patterns in the shales suggest periods
of rapid evaporation and a consequent change in chemical activity.

Finally the land subsided again, for the last time to date. At times
salt water covered the region, and at other times fresh water left its
chemical mark. At some levels in this last layer of sedimentary rocks an
abundance of fossils can be found, indicating deep water, and at others
ripple-marked rock indicates very shallow water. It remains a period of
great mystery. How long this final submersion continued we do not know;
but in all probability it lasted nearly a hundred million years, and
then was terminated by the vast upending of North America which created
the Rocky Mountains. This upheaval did not take place suddenly, as a
volcanic eruption or a series of earthquakes, but apparently commenced
about sixty million years ago and lasted, as a continuous series of
shiftings and slow upheavals, for about twenty million years.

At the beginning of this mighty uplifting the region of the Black Hills
was covered by the various layers of sedimentary deposits to a depth of
nearly two miles. Slowly this rectangular area was lifted as a dome over
the surrounding prairies. We do not know how high above the level lands
this dome reached, but we do know that several thousand feet of later
deposits overcapped the granite upthrusts which were planted in the
fundamental shales. Those granite fingers, which have now been exposed
to view, stand from five hundred to four thousand feet above the plains,
and thus the original dome may be assumed to have extended from eight to
ten thousand feet above our present-day sea level.

Almost as soon as this era of upheaval first started, as soon as the
first land of the Black Hills was elevated above the great sea, the
forces of erosion set to work. Wind and rain worked their terrifying
magic on the slowly rising terrain, carving away the softer rocks and
the loose dirt and leaving only the granite outcroppings. Down from the
sides of the great dome poured the waters of melting snows, gushing
springs, and torrential rainfalls, digging out rivers, canyons, and the
deep and narrow cuts which characterize this beautiful region. Slowly
the land continued to rise and the oceans to fall until at last an
equilibrium was reached, a static state of affairs which remained much
the same until our own period, when the base of the dome was at last
revealed, with the surrounding lands drifting away in every direction on
a gentle incline.

From that day the structure of the Black Hills has changed but little.
The high winds off the Dakota plains and the annual spring run-off and
seasonal rains cut their minute etchings in the landscape; but Nature’s
greatest effort in the Black Hills part of the world has, it seems, been
made. It must be remembered, though, that Nature has had other
responsibilities. At the time of the doming of the Black Hills the Alps
had not yet been formed, nor the Pyrenees, nor the Caucasus. And on the
site of the mountains we know today as the sky-piercing Himalayas, the
swampy waters still moldered.

                             CHAPTER THREE
                            The Hills Today

It is this writer’s personal opinion that no other resort area in the
United States possesses such a wealth of tourist attractions as the
Black Hills. This profusion of happy endowments can be separated into
three categories, each of which deserves individual study and enjoyment.
Two of these, the region’s folklore and its memories of the gold rush,
belong to the amazing history of the Hills. But of course the visible
landscape and the natural wonders of the area are the primary objects of
the tourist’s visits, and it is proper that they be considered
immediately and in detail.

                              _Wind Cave_

The Wind Cave lies ten miles north of Hot Springs on U.S. 85A. The
cavern is the focal point of interest in its own National Park, which
takes in forty square miles. Nearly half of this park is enclosed with a
high fence, behind which one of the last great bison herds roams
contentedly. Protected antelope, elk, and deer also enjoy this game

The cavern was discovered, according to legend, by a cowboy who heard a
continued low whistling noise in the weeds and, investigating, found air
rushing from a ten-inch hole near the present entrance to the cave. And
indeed it is this very phenomenon that makes Wind Cave different from
other notable caverns, such as the one at Carlsbad. Even on the stillest
of days a steady current of air can be felt rushing in or out of the
cave’s opening—into the earth if the barometer is rising, and out of the
ground if the pressure is falling.

The National Park Service conducts tours of the cave, the complete
excursion lasting some two hours. Fortunately, although the visitor
descends to a great depth as he searches out the various chambers on the
route, the tour ends at an elevator which whisks him swiftly to the
surface near the starting point.

The entire cavern is a little more than ten miles long, although there
are portions of it which have not even yet been explored so that their
size may be known with accuracy. It is not graced with the growths of
stalactites and stalagmites normally to be found in limestone
formations, but nature has compensated for that lack by fashioning a
peculiar box-work which looks for all the world as if the cavern had
been subjected to an interminable frosting process. These beautiful
fretwork deposits, which are not to be found in any other cave, are the
result of a strange chemical process that took place in the limestone
stratum where Wind Cave is located. Surface water seeping into the stone
became charged with carbon dioxide gas from the decaying organic matter
through which it passed. This gentle acid then dissolved the limestone
only to redeposit it in cracks and crevices around other limestone
fragments. The precipitated limestone was of a different chemical
composition and resisted later onslaughts by the eroding acids—which,
however, did eat away the fragments around which the precipitate had
formed, leaving the maze of hollow crystalline formations that can be
seen in the various chambers of the cavern.

The National Park, being relatively small, is not equipped with
overnight facilities; but this does not matter, for the town of Hot
Springs is but twenty minutes’ drive from the park, and the town of
Custer is only twenty miles away. There are, however, camping grounds in
the park, and the Park Service operates a lunchroom at the entrance to
the cave.

                          _Custer State Park_

Custer State Park is located almost in the center of the Black Hills.
Containing nearly one hundred and fifty thousand acres, it is one of the
largest state parks in America. It was originally set aside as a state
game refuge, and it was not until the advent of summer touring as a
national pastime that the state of South Dakota purchased additional
private lands which contained scenic wonders, incorporating all of them
into the one large area.

Today the park is the center of all tourist activity in the region. A
number of excellent lodges, camp grounds, and tourist courts along every
road make it particularly easy for the tourist to stop at will for a day
or more to enjoy the various recreational facilities as his fancy
dictates. In every respect the park is effectively administered: food
and lodging prices are held to a reasonable figure, the cleanliness of
the buildings and grounds is regularly inspected, and the landscape is
protected from commercial exploitation.

The center of the park’s activities is the Game Lodge, a monstrous
Victorian hotel built in 1919 and operated under a private lease. Close
by the Game Lodge are cabins, stores, eating establishments, the park
zoo, a museum, and the offices of the state park officials. The Lodge,
those with a flair for nostalgia will recall, achieved international
renown in 1927 when President Coolidge made it the summer White House.
It lies on US. 16, thirty-two miles from Rapid City and seventeen miles
from the town of Custer.

It behooves the writer to mention at this point that the museum
connected with the Game Lodge is by no means the drab and dusty sort of
collection of impedimenta associated with the vicinity that is so often
found in museums at scenic sites. Indeed, this fine attraction is an
assemblage of geological, paleontological, and historical items which
trace with rare discernment the whole history of the Hills through the
ages, and up to our own day. The visitor who fails to pass an hour in
this exciting spot will have missed the heart of the Hills entirely.

                             _Harney Peak_

Harney Peak stands like a sentinel in Custer Park. The highest point in
the Black Hills, it rises to an altitude of 7,242 feet, 4,000 feet above
the prairie floor outside the Hills. Higher by 900 feet than Mount
Washington in New Hampshire, it is the highest mountain east of the

High as it is, Harney Peak is by no means the typical mountain which
tourists come to expect after a trip through Colorado, for example, or
western Wyoming. It is older by ages than the precipitous and craggy
Rockies, and the winds and waters have worked their slow erosion on it,
cutting away what high shelves and escarpments might originally have
existed and leaving it, except at the top, a gentle and easy mountain
that may be climbed over a trail which will scarcely tax the laziest

On the top of the peak will be found the core of granite that originally
broke through the Archean shales. This granite, subject to the
mechanical ravages of wind, rain, and frost, is rugged and coarse, a
steep dome covered with a thick lichen. From this eminence the entire
Black Hills area can be seen, rolling away in every direction—great
waves of pinnacle and mountain, gradually subsiding and disappearing in
the haze of distance which covers the prairies. Especially striking from
this spot is the view of Cathedral Park, with its hundreds of
needle-like spires and organ pipes, and, sheltered in a quiet recess,
that amazing phenomenon, Sylvan Lake.

                             _The Needles_

The Needles Highway, a fourteen-mile stretch of road, branches off U.S.
16 about five miles west of the Game Lodge. At the time of its
construction in 1920-21 it was regarded as an engineering marvel,
although later exploits of American highway builders, such as the road
to the top of fourteen-thousand-foot Mount Evans in Colorado, have since
far overshadowed this accomplishment.

The road winds and curves in an interminable pattern, finding its way,
by trial and error it seems, among the great granite spires that give
the region its name. These “needles,” through the last of which the
highway actually plunges in a tunnel, are the remains of a great granite
plateau which once covered that entire portion of the Black Hills.
Contrary to popular opinion, the rocks are not outthrusts, the result of
some ancient upheaval, but the last thin vestiges of this once-solid
plateau. The age-old process of erosion has carved them into the shapes
they now have; and the inquiring visitor can see the process still at
work, for upon close inspection this granite is found to be not the
impregnable stone it appears, but rock in a late stage of
disintegration. Rot is the word which actually describes this formation,
and in many spots whole chunks can be picked from the side of a spire by
hand. It was, as a matter of fact, this situation which made the
construction of the Needles Highway possible. Had the granite been
solid, the task of cutting the Needles and Iron Creek tunnels would have
been so expensive as to prohibit the entire undertaking.

                             _Sylvan Lake_

Not all of the scenery in the Black Hills was created by Nature. Sylvan
Lake, in many respects the most beautiful corner of the region, was made
entirely by hand.

It was near the turn of the century when two hunters, Dr. Jennings of
Hot Springs and Joseph Spencer of Chicago, got the intriguing idea of
having an additional tourist attraction in the vicinity of Harney Peak—a

    [Illustration: Along the Needles Highway]

    [Illustration: Harney Peak older by ages than the Rockies]

Some lakes are difficult to construct, while some are relatively easy.
Sylvan belongs in the latter category. The two imaginative gentlemen
merely bought a small tract of land between two great granite shields
and built a dam seventy-five feet high between the boulders. The waters
of Sunday Creek, which flowed to their dam, together with local springs,
at last contrived to fill the area back of the dam. Today this loveliest
of lakes basks peacefully high above the world at an elevation of 6,250
feet, actually on top of a ridge, at the north terminal of the Needles

It is easy for any lover of water scenes to become enthusiastic as he
describes the colorations of his favorite lake, so I shall merely state
that Sylvan never looks the same in two consecutive moments. Not having
the symmetry of natural lakes or the tremendous depths of glacial pools,
this body of water plays the role of mirror to the fabulous rock shapes
which surround it; and indeed it is a source of never-ending delight to
watch the cloud and sun patterns as they wrestle with the shadows of the
rocks on its surface.

For many years Sylvan Lake and its environs were operated privately. A
hotel catered to the tourists who bounced over the privately built road
in buggies and horse-drawn busses. In 1919 the property was purchased by
the state of South Dakota, and since that time it has been operated as a
public facility. When the original hotel burned, in the thirties, the
state built with funds procured from the federal government a
comfortable and modern hostelry, the most amazing feature of which is
the expansive dining room with picture windows looking out over the lake
to Harney Peak.

The hotel is small, as resort hotels go, containing only fifty rooms,
and the tourist would do well to arrange for accommodations in advance
of his visit. There are, however, a number of cabins operated in
conjunction with the main building, and except at the height of the
season rooms can probably be found in the annexes. Along the lake shore
an excellent restaurant, independent of the hotel, serves the needs of
the traveler who has only a few hours to spend at this stop.

                            _Mount Rushmore_

From Sylvan Lake around back of the north side of Harney Peak it is a
drive of but a few miles to the second man-made wonder of the Hills—the
Mount Rushmore Memorial.

Perhaps no one thing has done so much to make the Black Hills known
throughout the world as this incredible undertaking—the carving in the
natural granite face of a mountain of the faces of our four most revered
presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
“Teddy” is included for his lasting service to the people of the United
States as the president who saw the Panama Canal project through
Congress and into being. The military and economic values of that
enterprise so deeply impressed the sculptor of this mammoth frieze that
he insisted upon elevating TR into the august company of the other three
great statesmen.

The whole story of the memorial would fill several volumes, and indeed
has already done so. Briefly, the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, wished to
perpetuate a patriotic motif in stone figures so large that they would
attract visitors from every corner of the country and impress upon them
the glories of the democracy which the four presidents had done so much
to build and sustain. The sculptor’s own words were: “I want, somewhere
in America, on or near the Rockies, the backbone of the continent, a few
feet of stone that carries the likenesses, the dates, and a word or two
of the great things we accomplished as a Nation, placed so high that it
won’t pay to pull it down for lesser purposes.”

The actual construction work started in 1926, and the formal dedication
was made by President Coolidge in the summer of 1927. Between nine
hundred thousand and a million dollars went into the gigantic task,
including money for supplies, wages, and the sculptor’s own personal
needs during the fifteen years he spent on the project. He died in 1941,
and the work was completed a few months later by his son.

The immensity of the undertaking can be grasped when the dimensions are
noted. The face of each of the figures, for example, measures sixty feet
from chin to forehead.

The rough carving was done by dynamite. Borglum, working from a
carefully constructed model, would mark on the sheer sides of the great
mountain the lines where he wanted the stone peeled away. Then a blast
would be set off in the hope that the rock displacement would
approximate the lines marked out, and from that point the work had to be
done by hand. At first, taking lessons from the miners working for him
who had many years of experience in blasting the hard granites of the
region, Borglum was able to reach only within a foot of the final figure
by dynamiting. As he became more proficient in the use of the explosives
he got to the point where his original blasts would shed the stone to a
matter of an inch or less from the final cut surface. The head of
Washington was finished in 1930, that of Jefferson in 1936, that of
Lincoln a year later, and that of Theodore Roosevelt, the final figure,
in 1941.

There are no tourist facilities at the site of the Memorial. Like every
other place in the Black Hills, however, Rushmore can be reached in a
few minutes’ drive from any one of a number of near-by points where a
tourist might be stopping. Borglum’s studio, situated on a prominence a
few hundred yards from the carvings, gives the best view of the scene
and is open to the public.

                             _Crazy Horse_

It is not entirely accurate to refer to the Mount Rushmore Memorial as
_the_ other man-made wonder in the Hills. At the moment it is the only
such marvel outside of Sylvan Lake; but in twenty-five or thirty years
it will have to share that honor with the Crazy Horse Memorial, a statue
carved on top of Thunderhead Mountain, between Harney Peak and the town
of Custer. This gigantic carving, which will be an entire figure and not
a mere bas-relief, will be an equestrian statue of the great Sioux
chief, Crazy Horse, who led his nation during the desperate years
between 1866 and 1877. The chief will be mounted on a prancing steed,
his hair blowing, as if in the wind, behind him.

The Indians themselves can take the credit for this fabulous idea. Chief
Henry Standing Bear, a resident of the Pine Ridge reservation, is said
to have had his inspiration after a visit to Mount Rushmore. Why not, he
wondered, erect some monument to an outstanding red man, so that when
the last of his people have been assimilated into the white man’s
society, visitors to what was once the heart of the Indian country can
reflect for a moment upon the greatness of that lost race?

Standing Bear wrote his idea to Korczak Ziolkowski, an energetic and
imaginative sculptor, and suggested that Chief Crazy Horse would make a
fitting symbol of the Indians’ struggle for existence. This was in 1940.

The sculptor took to the idea, but because of the events of World War II
he was unable to commence work on the project until 1947. Since then he
has been setting off two blasts of dynamite a day, carving away the rock
at the top of Thunderhead. But even yet the first faint outlines of the
eventual statue are only barely discernible. Ziolkowski estimates that
the entire task will consume a quarter of a century, if not more, and
will cost not less than five million dollars. If this figure sounds high
compared with the less than a million spent on Rushmore, perhaps the
measurements will provide an explanation: the horse upon which the chief
will be seated will be four hundred feet from nose to tail, and the
entire work, from pedestal to top, will be more than five hundred feet
in height.

                            _Mount Coolidge_

In this same general region lies another prominent Black Hills landmark
which every tourist should take time to visit—Mount Coolidge. With a
height of 6,400 feet, this peak is by no means an outstanding mountain,
being ranked by a good half dozen higher within the Hills. But from its
summit, which can be reached by an auto road leading off U.S. 85A a few
miles to the north of Wind Cave Park, an amazing vista can be seen. To
the east, on a clear day, the White River Badlands loom as a great
valley sixty miles away. To the south one can see across the high
rolling hills all the way into Nebraska, and to the west landmarks in
Wyoming are clearly visible. On the summit a stone lookout tower has
been built for the convenience of visitors.

                       _Jewel Cave and Ice Cave_

Since the Black Hills are underbedded so widely by limestone, it is not
surprising to find in them not one but several memorable caverns. There
are, as a matter of fact, a dozen or more well-known large caves; but
outside of Wind Cave, only Jewel Cave has been opened and fully prepared
for public visit. The expense of exploring, lighting, and carving trails
in the others has kept them off the market, so to speak, for in a region
so packed with scenic delights two great caverns are about as much as
the traffic will bear.

Jewel Cave lies some fourteen miles west of Custer on U.S. 16, almost at
the Wyoming-South Dakota border. It is a small cave, with only two tours
marked out in it, one a mile long and the other two miles. It is noted
for its wealth of colorful crystalline deposits, totally unlike the
delicate filigree work to be found in Wind Cave.

The cave was discovered by two prospectors, who proceeded to develop
their property for commercial gain. In 1934 they sold the cave and such
of its environs as they owned to the Newcastle, Wyoming, Lions Club and
the Custer Chamber of Commerce. These two organizations sought to
popularize it further as a lure to tourists who would have to travel
through their towns to reach the scene. In 1938 the federal government
took it over and made a national monument of it.

Not far from Jewel Cave is the famous Ice Cave. This cavern gets its
name from the current of cold air which blows from its mouth, cold and
clammy on even the hottest of summer days. The Ice Cave is not
officially open to the public, and has not even been totally explored.
Forest rangers and Park Service employees have charted some of it and
have searched out certain channels in the strange formation, and from
their meager reports it would seem that if Ice Cave is ever fully opened
it will vie with New Mexico’s Carlsbad in beauty and grandeur.

For the curious tourist the only possibility at the moment is to take
the lovely off-route trip to the cave’s entrance, a natural arch twenty
feet high and seventy-five feet wide.

In addition to Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, and Ice Cave, there are a number
of other caverns of varying interest and underground beauty which have
been opened and exploited by private individuals. In many cases these
are but indifferently arranged for public inspection, but can be tracked
down by the visitor by means of the garish signs which too often manage
to clutter the otherwise unblemished scenery.

                             _Just Scenery_

The foregoing are only a very few of the scenic wonders of the Black
Hills. Detailed information on the various other scenic features is
easily to be had at any of the hotels and tourist courts in the Hills,
and brochures covering practically every landmark are available gratis,
thanks to the enthusiasm of the local chambers of commerce, the Black
Hills and Badlands Association, and the state of South Dakota. The area
is crisscrossed with good roads, and no matter which route one takes to
his eventual destination, every mile will be marked by breath-taking
views and natural wonders.

The region, except at the summits of the peaks, lies at an average
altitude of some five thousand feet. Cool nights are thus guaranteed,
regardless of the temperatures by day. The highest mean temperature
ranges, during the six months between April and November, from 60 to 85
degrees. Light outing clothes are suggested for day wear, and light
wraps are always in order after dark.

The rainfall during this same six-month period, averaged over fifty
years, amounts to three inches per month; what small showers do occur
take place most usually in an hour or so of the early afternoon, and
refresh rather than hinder the tourist.

The hillsides are covered with a mass of shrub and tree growth, and an
earnest searcher can find specimens of no less than fifty-two varieties.
Yellow pine, spruce, cedar, ash, aspen, alder, dogwood, and cottonwood
are most in evidence.

The bird lover will find the Black Hills nothing less than a vast
aviary, more than two hundred species having been seen in the region.
Animal life is almost as widely represented, although the casual visitor
is not likely to come upon a native mountain lion or gray wolf. The
assistance of forest rangers and Park Service employees is available in
locating the habitats of some of the rarer varieties of wildlife.

As might be expected, the fisherman will find plenty of opportunity to
ply his pole in this region. There are nearly 150 miles of stream and
lake frontage in the Black Hills, and the waters are liberally stocked
by the state hatcheries. In addition to trout, the angler will encounter
pike, pickerel, bluegills, black bass, and perch.

Finally, there are the annual celebrations and fairs, which are always
of interest to the outsider, for they help dramatize the particular
region where they are held and its historical background. July and
August are the months for these celebrations, and notices of coming
events will be found posted prominently’ along the tourist routes. Four
such outstanding occasions are Black Hills Range Days at Rapid City,
Gold Discovery Days at Custer, the Belle Fourche Round-Up, and the Days
of ’76 at Deadwood. The Deadwood celebration, it might be added,
celebrates not the Revolutionary War, but the discovery of gold in
Deadwood Gulch in 1876.

                              CHAPTER FOUR
                      History I: Indians and Gold

Gold, they say, is where you find it. In California in 1848—in Montana
in 1852—in Colorado in 1858—in Arizona, in Nevada: when they finally
found it in the Black Hills in 1874, the Gold Rush West had nearly all
been settled and the bonanza days were forever gone, for all the likely
places had been searched.

The question posed is an obvious one. With sourdoughs plowing and
digging up the bed of every stream and rivulet in the West from 1849 on,
how did it come about that the Black Hills, lying a considerable
distance closer to home than California and the other gold rush regions,
had kept their glittering secret until so late?

The truth of the matter is that the mysterious and brooding dark
mountain-land was a good place to hide secrets. Gold had been discovered
there, as a matter of fact, as early as 1834, which was just seven years
after the country’s first gold strike—the 1827 Georgia rush. But
unfortunately those first lucky gold-seekers—there were six of them—did
not live to enjoy their taste of the Black Hills’ incredible wealth.
Fifty-three years later, not far from the town of Spearfish, one Louis
Thoen found a piece of limestone upon which was crudely but legibly
engraved this melancholy message:

  came to these hills in 1833, seven of us DeLacompt Ezra Kind G. W.
  Wood T Brown R Kent WM King Indian Crow All ded but me Ezra Kind
  Killed by Indians beyond the high hill got our gold june 1834

On the back of this somber relic were the blunt words: “Got all gold we
could carry.”

Yes, there was gold in plenty, but Paha Sapa of the Hills was a jealous
spirit who guarded the forbidden portals with a great vengeance. It is
interesting, though, to speculate upon how the course of western history
might have veered had Ezra Kind made his way out of the bleak region to
report his discovery. Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and most of the Missouri
Valley would have been skipped over in a rush to the prairie West, left
to be filled in and settled later. The upriver ports of the Missouri,
rather than St. Louis, Kansas City, St. Joseph, and Omaha, would have
been the outposts, and there would have been no Santa Fe Trail, no
Platte River—Oregon Trail, but rather a heavily traveled National Road
winding out from St. Paul and from Chicago. Rapid City would have been a
metropolis the size of Denver, and when eventually the Union Pacific was
built it would have been three hundred miles north of its present route.
And the Indians? There would have been a far different story in that
regard, perhaps a much bloodier and more tragic tale.

But Ezra Kind was killed and his secret slept, and thus we are as we are
today. Actually it was the Indians who kept the Hills so long
forbidden—Indians of the Teton Sioux, the same tribe who put Ezra’s
party to the tomahawk.

Before the California gold rush life on the Great Plains had proceeded
pretty much on an even keel. The mighty Teton Sioux, all seven tribes of
them—the Oglalas, the Unkpapas, the San Arcs, the Brules, the
Minniconjous, the Blackfeet, and the Two Kettle—roamed the prairies at
will, from the Missouri Valley to the Rocky Mountains. Of course they
had their misadventures with the fur companies, but just as often their
dealings with the Mountain Men were profitable, for the Indians, when in
the mood, scouted, trapped, and hunted, all for the white man’s pay.

With the great exodus to California, though, the situation took on a
different hue. Immigrants by the hundreds and the thousands poured up
the rolling valley of the Platte, and it was not many months before the
haphazard Indian attacks took on a new strength and design. Long burned
the council fires in the dark nights, and all up and down the great
plains the war raged. To protect the wagon trains the government sent
its shrewdest and most experienced Indian agent, Thomas Fitzpatrick, a
veteran fur trader since 1823, the famed “Broken Hand” of western
legend. Summoning the tribes to Fort Laramie in 1851, Fitzpatrick
managed to subdue them, but only by promising that he would confine the
settlers to specific ranges and would keep them steadfastly out of the
Dakotas and the Black Hills.

In the meanwhile the eastern tribes, the Santee Sioux, were beginning to
feel the pressure of settlement in the rich Minnesota valleys. In 1862
they revolted, and the terrible battle of Wood Lake was fought, with the
score of massacred settlers reaching into the high hundreds. The leaders
of this outrage were, of course, apprehended and punished, but whole
tribes fled into the western plains, into the land of the Black Hills,
where they eventually joined forces with their Teton cousins.

    [Illustration: The Four Great Faces: Mount Rushmore Memorial]

    [Illustration: Sylvan Lake mirrors great granite shields at an
    altitude of 6,250 feet]

By 1865 matters had come to a head again, because although the great
Sioux, numbering between thirty and forty thousand, had kept to
themselves, the white man had broken his side of the bargain and was
cutting a new route into the forbidden country. This passage was the
famed Bozeman Trail, which drove north from Fort Laramie, on the Oregon
Trail, directly through the Sioux country to serve the new gold fields
of Montana.

To protect the wagon trains on the Bozeman the army called upon General
Grenville Dodge, who was later to build the Union Pacific. Dodge,
Commandant of the Department of the Missouri, was an old hand at Indian
warfare. He rushed into Wyoming a full force, four columns of men, who
swiftly brought the angered tribes to heel.

The immediate result of this engagement was the signing of a halfhearted
and inconclusive treaty at Fort Sully, near Pierre, in October of 1865.
The treaty attempted to settle some old differences of a fundamental
nature, but inasmuch as neither the Oglala nor the Brule were
represented it failed of its mission.

A year later a further powwow was staged at Fort Laramie to pursue the
matter of keeping the Bozeman Trail open through the forbidden Sioux
country. Perhaps matters might have proceeded equably had not General
Carrington arrived in the midst of the delicate negotiations to announce
that he had enough soldiers to protect the trail, treaty or no treaty.

Carrington’s blustery announcement, backed up by a show of seven hundred
courageous but misguided cavalrymen, brought the talks to an abrupt end
and sent the two most important Sioux Chieftains, Red Cloud and Crazy
Horse, scurrying for the council fire and the war paths. In all the
great plains there were not to be found braver or more single-minded
Indian strategists than these two. For the better part of two years
roving bands of tribesmen under Red Cloud and his stalwart colleague
amply proved that Carrington could not have kept the trail safely open
if he had had seventy times his seven hundred men. It was, as a matter
of fact, the only time in our long history that Uncle Sam’s troops ever
took a downright beating.

At last even Red Cloud could see that the white man, for all his
braggadocio and poor planning, would eventually win the turn; and
although his savage troops had tasted victory in almost every
engagement, he consented in 1868 to negotiate once more. Presumably both
sides were wiser by then, for a pact, sometimes called the
Harney-Sanborne Treaty, was dutifully signed and accepted in April of
that year. The United States agreed to close the Bozeman Trail and to
abandon the forts. The Black Hills were utterly forbidden to the white
man, and except for an agreement to let the Northern Pacific rails cross
the upper prairies unmolested, the high plains from the Missouri to the
Big Horn were returned by federal order to their historic isolation.

After that fiasco the situation remained comparatively quiet for a few
years. Eastern Dakota was being settled bit by bit, and the rails were
pushing forward, ever so slowly but ever so surely. The Missouri River
was the frontier line, dividing the settled Dakotas from the Sioux
lands; and Fort Lincoln, on the river (not far from the site of today’s
Bismarck), was the outpost that overlooked the troubled territory.

From month to month trappers, gold-seekers, and would-be homesteaders
slipped inside the Sioux curtain from the Cheyenne-Laramie country on
the south, from the rich Niobrara country in northwest Nebraska, or from
eastern Dakota itself. There was not much that the army could do about
these treaty violators except worry, for the borders to be patrolled
were vast and the forbidden lands inviting.

But the army did worry, endlessly. There were increasingly frequent
rumors of the existence of gold in the Hills, and year after year
General Sheridan, commanding the Departments of Dakota, the Platte, and
the Missouri, urged stronger fortification of the Sioux boundaries to
prevent trouble. Trouble was particularly to be expected because several
bands of Sioux, specifically those under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse,
had not agreed to government supervision in 1868 and seemed thirsting
for a fight.

Thus it was to make a military survey that Sheridan sent an expedition
through the heart of the Hills in 1874. His force of more than a
thousand soldiers moved under the command of George Armstrong Custer;
and, strange impedimenta for an army, the luggage in the lorries
included mining picks and pans, the belongings of H. N. Ross and William
T. McKay, who were officially attached to the command. Presumably Custer
was looking for something more than mere military sites.

The Indian fighters of an earlier day—Kit Carson, the Bents, or Sibley,
for instance—would have stood gaping in the stockade as Custer’s force
moved leisurely onto the empty Dakota prairies. This was no ragtag army
in buckskin, but an orderly procession of one hundred and ten wagons,
six ambulances, a dozen caissons, and two heavy field pieces. Each wagon
and ambulance was drawn by a sprightly hand of six sleek mules.

In addition, three hundred head of beef cattle browsed slowly along the
way in mooing testimony that this expedition would live off the very
fattest of the land. The personnel included, in addition to Custer’s
highly trained troops, a hundred Indian scouts, a platoon of expert
white guides and trappers, and, mounted upon docile mares, a special
contingent of botanists, geologists, geographers, and assorted expert
college professors. Also, as has been reported, there were two miners.

To the north of the Hills, crossing the Belle Fourche River first, the
army made its gentle way, and then down the west slope of the forbidding
mountains, seeking for an easy pass into the dark interior. Tall in the
saddle rode golden-haired George Custer, for he was commanding the
strongest army ever put into Indian country. It is little wonder that he
slept quietly at night, or that he wrote in his diary: “It is a strange
sight to look back at the advancing column of cavalry and behold the men
with beautiful bouquets in their hands while their horses were decorated
with wreathes of flowers fit to crown a Queen of the May.”

In that holiday mood the army moved down inside the great bowl of
mountains on its sightseeing tour, and presently it camped about three
miles west of the present town of Custer. All this while the miners had
not been inactive, but had plied their pans here and there as the
company passed across various streams. Until this bivouac, though, they
had had no luck, and, as a matter of fact, had actually been expecting
none. They had come along to quell the rumor of gold as much as to bear
it out. Preferably to quell it, if General Sheridan were to have his

On August 2 of that year, 1874, McKay turned out to try his implements
once again on French Creek. An early account gives this dramatic version
of the famed discovery: “When the earth [in the pan] was gone, he held
up his pan in the evening sun and found the rim lined with nearly a
hundred little particles of gold. These he carried to General Custer,
whose head was almost turned at the sight.”

Through the magic of his discipline Custer managed to keep his army from
beating their ration tins into placer pans and “claiming” on the spot.
Getting under way almost immediately, the men continued their march
eastward through the heart of the Hills, and on August 30 emerged from
the great park and headed back to Fort Lincoln.

In the meanwhile a messenger had been sent ahead with the news of gold.
Scout Charley Reynolds, who was to die with his commander just two years
later, was detached from the base camp and sent scurrying down to Fort
Laramie, to the nearest telegraph station. Within an hour of his arrival
at the post, two hundred miles to the south and west of the Black Hills,
the tremendous news was burning over the wires to General Sheridan in
St. Louis.

It was also burning some operator’s ear along the way, for the great
secret, which was to be handed only to the high command in Washington,
made its way on that very day into the editorial rooms of the old
_Chicago Inter-Ocean_—where, naturally, it was treated with great
respect and splashed across the headlines with all the vigor of an
announcement of the Second Coming.

There was actually a genuine religious fervor in the proclamation, for
the locust had been upon the land for many months in the eastern cities,
and the bread lines had been growing. It had threatened to be a cold
winter until ... until this last bonanza burst upon the nation.

Men had all but forgotten what a gold rush was like. It had been so long
since the last great hegira to the Pikes Peak region that a new
generation had come into manhood, a generation that knew California only
as a state, Colorado as a prosperous territory, and the Union Pacific as
the proper way to cross the empty West. There were none of the desperate
winter marches up the Continental Divide this time, no lost wagon trains
on the salt deserts, no Indian massacres. This rush left Chicago on the
“cars,” as noisy and as highhearted as fans following a football club.

And there was another great difference between the foray to the Black
Hills and the earlier gold rushes. In this case the argonauts did not
get to the diggings. The troops saw to that. Deploring the untimely leak
of official intelligence concerning the presence of the yellow metal in
the Dakota outcropping, the War Department issued stern warnings to all
settlers to keep away. The existence of the treaty with the Indians was
proclaimed in every paper—and, though less resoundingly, the danger from
the Indians was also mentioned.

Nonetheless, before the end of that crucial year a sizable group of
foolhardy settlers broke through the blockade and made themselves at
home. Erecting a strong stockade at the scene of the first strike, they
soon carved themselves a town in the wilderness, gratefully naming it
Custer, and even that early providing for the wide main street where ox
teams could make a U-turn. Throughout the first winter these illegal
townspeople managed somehow to survive the cold, the lack of rations,
and the danger of Indian attack; but late in the spring General Crook’s
cavalry arrived to “escort” them out of the Hills and back to the
railroad at Cheyenne.

Many of the citizens of that first town took their eviction with fair
grace, turning to other means of employment than gold mining—and there
were plenty—in Cheyenne, Denver, and the other near-by and rapidly
growing settlements. One group, though, the Gordon Party, apparently
enjoyed leadership of a tougher sort. They refused to be intimidated by
the troops. Setting up camp on the very boundary line between the
forbidden country and the permitted Platte Valley, they just waited.
Actually, an increasingly large number of immigrants waited on the
border only until nightfall, and then set out into the unknown. Some
were apprehended by the cavalry and returned, some were killed by the
sullen tribesmen, but hundreds of them managed to find their way to the
vicinity of French Creek. More than that, they managed to stay.

It might be thought that gold mining, with all its necessary
paraphernalia, supplies, and general confusion, could not very well be
carried on in an atmosphere suggesting the more modern practice of
moonshining; but the truth of the matter was that there were just too
many settlers and too few soldiers. Time and again the troops would
swoop down on some busy little gathering and hustle the miners out to
the nearest courts, where they would hastily be acquitted and released
to go back to their workings. Under the very fist of forbiddance a score
of towns had sprung up, among them the reborn Custer City.

Finally the government gave up all hope of keeping the eager immigrants
out of this last frontier. By the fall of 1875 the border towns of
Sidney, Nebraska, Yankton, South Dakota, and Cheyenne and Laramie,
Wyoming, were bursting at the seams with gold-hunters who demanded
“their rights as citizens.” Bowing to the inevitable, the government
sent a treaty commission to wait upon the Sioux. This body of earnest
men offered the Indians six million dollars for the right of entry into
the Hills. Although the treaty Sioux agreed to sell, the price they
asked wavered between twenty and one hundred million. Crazy Horse, who
did not attend the council, refused to sell at any price and solemnly
warned the white man to stay out.

Frustrated, the treaty commissioners returned to Washington in despair,
while the embittered Sioux disappeared into the west river country to
nurse their grievances. Upon this turn of affairs, the government washed
its hands of the matter and opened the lands to settlement.

That was in June of 1875. Within a matter of weeks after the bars had
been let down, the Hills were populated by uncounted thousands of men,
women, and children. Many simply came out of the woods to claim honestly
the diggings they had been working dishonestly; but many, many more came
from the East by every train, now that the country was legitimately

It was a motley assembly that took part in this Black Hills rush. In
earlier bonanzas the type had been pretty well formalized, for the
difficulty of the overland journey to California, for example, or across
to the Pikes Peak region, had kept all but the roughest—and toughest—at
home. But on this occasion the West was by no means as wild as it had
been in those earlier days. Distances had been conquered; transportation
methods, even beyond the railroads, were much safer and more adequate;
and the Black Hills, although cold in the middle of winter, offered none
of the climatic ferocities of the Rocky Mountains. Thus, to partake of
this feast of yellow dust hopeful clerks brushed shoulders with
desperadoes, professional men of every accomplishment traded rumors with
crease-faced sourdoughs from the dead land south of the Mogollon, and
oldsters who had thought they might never again hold a pan in their
hands dug alongside mere boys from whom the apron strings had been

In the meantime, even as the good citizens of Custer, Gayville, Central
City, Golden Gate, Anchor City, and a host of other thriving towns, most
of which have long been given over to the ghosts, were bustling about
their exciting business, matters in the west were taking a slow but
inexorable turn for the worse.

The army had let the situation ride for the summer and fall, keeping a
careful watch over the enemy Sioux, but feeling fairly assured that they
would attempt no large-scale raid of the Hills, populated now by at
least fifty thousand people. Summer and fall were not normally times to
worry over, in any case, for the buffalo were still on the range and
forage was plentiful for the tribes. It was in the depths of winter that
the tale would be told—either the Indians would come docilely to the
reservations for their rations, or they would steer clear of the white
man’s soldiers and supply their own necessities by raiding the isolated
ranch and stage line outposts.

By mid-December the reservations were still empty, and General Terry
sent out a call to Sitting Bull, ordering him to bring his people in to
the military posts. January 1, 1876, was given as the deadline. The
haughty Sioux chief paid scant attention to Terry’s order, replying
simply that the general knew where to find him if he wanted to come for
him. Sitting Bull knew that the army would attempt no large maneuvers
with the weather as it was—one of the bitterest winters in recorded

Then he simply waited.

But General Terry was no man to take a short answer. Immediately he
ordered three expeditions to prepare themselves for the field, to move
as soon as weather should permit, and to take the Indians early in the
spring when their ponies would still be thin and unrecovered from the
winter’s rigors. General Crook was to march north from Fort Fetterman,
on the North Platte River; General John Gibbon was to move south and
east from Fort Ellis, in Montana; and General Custer was to come west
from Fort Lincoln.

Unfortunately not only the Indians but the weather as well turned
against General Terry, for with the thermometer standing most of the
time at between twenty and forty below and the prairie covered with the
glaze of incessant blizzards, neither Custer nor Gibbon was able to move
out of camp.

Crook, though, was able to best the winter when March rolled in and to
locate one of the most dangerous of the rebel bands, Crazy Horse’s
renegade Oglalas, deep in the Powder River Valley. This was on March 17,
1876. Had Crook’s men not made certain grave errors of tactics after a
brilliant surprise, the battle might have solved the problem. As it
turned out, the Indians galloped a few circles around the troops and
made merrily off into the forest. Again the weather closed in.

Three months later, when the summer weather made campaigning possible,
Crook’s troops were able to take to the saddle again, and again Crazy
Horse was located, this time encamped on the Tongue River, between
Powder River and Rosebud Creek. Again the battle was inconclusive, for
the troops seemed unable to press the advantage of their surprise
discovery of the Indians.

Eight days later, on June 17, the bewildered but indomitable Crook came
a third time upon Crazy Horse, now on Rosebud Creek. On this occasion
the troops were able to euchre the Indians into a pitched battle—and
were thereupon so thoroughly trounced that Crook’s command was
essentially immobilized where the bleeding remnant lay at the battle’s

By the time the harassed cavalrymen had bound up their wounds and
remounted, Crazy Horse had disappeared over the hills and down into the
Big Horn Basin, where his cohorts joined a host of other bloodthirsty
braves in a great Sioux encampment. Black Moon was there, Inkpaduta,
Gall, and a major roster of other courageous Indian warriors. Counseling
them and performing their good medicine was none other than Sitting Bull
himself, who, it should be said, was not a warrior but a medicine man
and tribal diplomat.

Historians have never been able to agree upon the number of braves
assembled under this battle flag, but all concur in the belief that the
camp could have contained no less than three thousand warriors—in all
probability the greatest single Indian army ever to be put into the
field against the troops.

By this time other help was coming for Crook, as he lay in the south
nursing his ill fortune. General Custer, having scouted out Crazy
Horse’s retreat, had been ordered to stop him from the north and to
pinch the Indians between the prongs of his force and Crook’s.

But it was Custer rather than Crazy Horse or Sitting Bull who met the
pincers. Coming upon the headquarters village of the enemy, Custer
divided his force of 600 men into four groups: Benteen with 140 odd,
Reno with about 125, McDougall with the ammunition and supplies and
perhaps 140 men, and Custer himself retaining the balance.

While McDougall stayed to the rear, Benteen was sent off on a fruitless
errand into a badly broken terrain to the southwest. Custer and Reno in
the meantime proceeded side by side toward the village. Coming over the
last remaining hill before the Indian camp, Custer dispatched Reno ahead
to make a preliminary contact with the enemy, while he rode off in a
somewhat parallel direction, apparently bent on encircling the savages.

Meanwhile Reno did indeed encounter the Indians, and when he realized
how tragically outnumbered he was, he immediately dismounted his men to
fight a delaying action on foot, thereby saving both men and horses. He
obviously adopted this tactic on the theory that he would be supported
from the rear by Custer. When he saw that Custer had decided to make a
diversionary attack on the right flank of the enemy, Reno and his men
gave up the fight and concentrated on scrambling out of the trap and
making their way to the hill which overlooked the village.

From that vantage point Custer and his force could be seen across the
Little Big Horn at a distance of perhaps a thousand yards. Apparently
thinking that Reno was still successfully engaging the Indians, Custer
rode his men down into a ravine where he apparently encountered the full
horde of savages and where he met his death. The details of that last
action have never been made clear, but most experts think that he
divided his pitifully weak force into two segments at the time of the
final charge which took him full into the heart of the great enemy body.
Thus it was that Custer was caught in the pliers of the attack, in which
hopeless position his entire force was wiped out to the last man,
officer, and guide. Custer’s Last Stand, as it has been poetically
called, was in every respect the greatest defeat of white forces in the
history of Indian warfare.

Custer’s death marked the end of the Black Hills controversy. Although
the Indians had been completely victorious, they had spent so heavily of
their warriors and their supplies that they were never again able to
mount a major attack against the whites. Swiftly the troops hunted them
down, village by village, and within a year the great Sioux War had
ground to a stop.

A second treaty commission had been appointed late in 1876, and by
February the transfer of the Black Hills from the Sioux Nation to the
United States had been completed—not for a cash consideration, but only
for the government’s promise to support the Indians until such time as
they might learn, under agency supervision, to provide for themselves.

By that time the question of entry was no more than rhetorical. The
Black Hills were as thickly populated as any region of equal size in the
West. The stage routes in from Cheyenne, from Sidney, Nebraska, and from
the Dakota railheads were well traveled. The last frontier had been

And besides—there was Deadwood and the Homestake.

The original rush had centered in historic Custer, the scene of the
first entrance into the country on French Creek, and the terminus of the
Cheyenne-Black Hills stage line. By Christmas of 1875 the population of
that wilderness settlement was in excess of ten thousand souls, each of
them active and bustling about his business.

On the other hand, there was not a great deal of business to bustle
after. French Creek was a good clue to gold, but that was about all.
Before long most of the good citizens, having found the little brook
something of a snare and a delusion, were casting about for some way to
make their livings from each other. Storekeeping, laundering, ranching,
hostlering, all were honorable occupations which soon found a plenitude
of practitioners.

In that fashion the winter was passed. Ice capped the waters and the
snow hung from the trees, and aside from hoping for spring there was
little the thronging populace could do. Thus a fruitful field was in
fallow for the gossip which started blossoming in March and April. The
tales, whispered—as such stories always are—without definition or
authority, had it that somewhere in the northern Hills there was another
stream that had nuggets the size of ... it is unimportant how large the
nuggets, for a glitter of dust the size of an eye-speck would have been
a windfall in Custer. Day by day the rumor grew, and as is always the
case with such gossip, the precise location of this “Deadtree Gulch” was
never made entirely plain.

The reason for this obfuscation was simple: a rich strike had actually
been made far in the north part of the Hills, and the claimants were
doing their level best to keep it a secret. The fact that Custer held
its population as long as it did was a testament to the sagacity and
close-lippedness of John Pearson and Sam Blodgett, who had stumbled,
late the previous winter, into one of the world’s richest gold basins.

The secret held for only a few months. Trappers, prospectors, and mere
travelers were passing through the spruce trails of the Hills in such
profusion that sooner or later the activity up Deadwood Gulch, as it
came to be called, was bound to be observed. Pearson had found his dream
cache in December of 1875, and he managed to contain the secret only
until March of 1876. Like a forest fire the news of the strike to the
north spread, and by May the southern Hills were deserted. Custer, for
several years the metropolis of the entire region, lost all except
thirty of its citizens in a matter of weeks, and other settlements in
the south and west simply dried up and disappeared.

That Deadwood Gulch, so named for the stand of burned-over timber which
graced its declivitous sides, contained a major deposit was not to be
denied. The rich sands which Pearson had spaded up testified to that,
and later comers were by no means disappointed. But the names and
locations of individual early discoveries have long been lost to all
save the most assiduous researchers, for there was one claim which
outshone all the rest. That digging was the mighty Homestake, which,
from its first days, has produced gold and assorted other precious ores
in such abundance and with such dependability that it has been accepted
the world over as one of earth’s great mines, rivaled in munificence
only by the Portland-Independence of Cripple Creek in Colorado and the
fabulous workings of the Witwatersrand of South Africa.

As with all rich diggings, an appropriate legend attends the account of
the original discovery of the Homestake. It seems there were two
brothers, Fred and Moses Manuel, who had long been addicted to that most
vicious of all unbreakable habits—gold prospecting. Moses had wound his
weary way through the West for a full quarter of a century, plodding the
dusty California gold gulches in ’50, up the steep heights of Virginia
City in ’60, into Old Mexico, and—although he was a full generation too
early—into Alaska. But now, in 1875, he was through with it all and was
going home.

Collecting his brother Fred, who was fruitlessly panning the sands of
the Last Chance Gulch in the high border country of Montana, Moses
started east, passing of course through the Black Hills, to scout down
this one last ray of rumor—that a new strike was in the making. Setting
out their camp in Bobtail Gulch, a mere pistol shot from certain placer
claims in Deadwood Gulch, they went to work in midwinter, hoping to
find, the legend has it, just enough blossom rock to give them a stake
for their homeward journey.

They seem to have hit it with a vengeance, not mere placer gold in the
stream bed but a genuine lode, for on April 9, 1876, they patented the
claim known as the Homestake. Discarding for the moment all idea of
going on home with whatever meager wealth this “last” try should bring
them, the Manuel brothers immediately consolidated their position by
going into partnership with another prospector and taking shares in the
Golden Terra, an adjoining piece of real estate, the Old Abe, and the
Golden Star. The immediate returns, by the ton, are not today known, but
they must have been substantial, for the lucky brothers built an
arrastra—a crude millstone affair for grinding ore—and managed to pocket
more than five thousand dollars in their first year of operation.

In the natural run of events the Homestake and the adjoining parcels
which the Manuel brothers were operating would probably have worked well
enough for a year or so, and would then have suffered the fate of
thousands of other diggings throughout the gold-rush West—the surface
ores would have played out, and because of the high cost of following
the lodes deeper into the earth than a few dozen feet, the mines would
have been abandoned. But in this case a San Francisco syndicate came
into the picture, providing the necessary capital funds for the
searching out of whatever ultimate wealth the Homestake might have.

This syndicate of Pacific Coast businessmen included James Ben Ali
Haggin, a partner in the highly solvent Wells Fargo express company, and
Senator George Hearst, the father of the publisher, William Randolph
Hearst. These vigorous men sent a mining engineer into the Hills in 1877
to canvass the location for possible investments; and in the course of a
detailed examination of whatever properties seemed to be paying well,
this emissary from Market Street came upon the brothers Manuel. A
superficial examination of the Homestake and the Golden Terra sufficed
this engineer, and he optioned them both, the first for seventy thousand
dollars and the second for half that sum. Returning immediately to
California, he delivered to his employers samples of this richest gold
mine in North America, and without delay Senator Hearst went to South
Dakota to see for himself.

What he saw impressed him most favorably, for upon his return to
California he owned both the Terra and the Homestake, as well as several
other claims on the same hill, a total of ten acres of mining property.
That small figure is significant in the light of the fact that the
Homestake Mining Company today owns more than six thousand acres of
mining claims.

With the incorporation of the mining company in San Francisco, the
aboriginal methods employed by the Manuel brothers were discarded, and
the latest in mine machinery was laboriously shipped by train to Sidney,
Nebraska, and then by ox team the two hundred miles to the town of Lead
(pronounced “Leed”), the precise location of the Homestake, two miles
from Deadwood City. The first installation was an eighty-stamp mill,
which began its work in July of 1878. Within five years six additional
mills were in operation, holding a total of 580 giant stampers.

The mine now handles four thousand tons of ore per day and has, in its
sighted reserve, twenty million tons yet to work. The two main shafts
reach into the earth to a depth of more than a mile, with branching
tunnels piercing the mountain at hundred-foot levels; and there are more
than a hundred and fifty miles of secondary tunnels, served by more than
eighty miles of mine railway.

The richness of the Homestake ore has averaged fourteen dollars per ton
for many years now. This may not sound like any considerable amount of
wealth—but the most active gold operation in Colorado, the Fairplay
dredge, is working gravel which pays an average of nine cents per ton.

Finally, the records of the company show that it has mined 70,000,000
tons of ore, yielding a total of 18,000,000 ounces of gold, which has
brought a gross price, at various standards, of $450,000,000.

With the opening of the Homestake, the conquest of the Black Hills was
effectively completed, and the region entered into a period of rapid
development and expansion. Although the great mine at Lead was run
solely as a business enterprise, devoid of glamour and excitement, the
town of Deadwood, two miles away, enjoyed a decade of the lustiest
history ever to be known by a bonanza town. During its years of activity
and arrogance Deadwood contributed to our national folklore several
great figures, among them Calamity Jane, Deadwood Dick, Wild Bill
Hickok, and Preacher Smith.

                              CHAPTER FIVE
                       History II: Deadwood Days

  Sam left where he was working
    one pretty morn in May,
  a-heading for the Black Hills
    with his cattle and his pay.
  Sold out in Custer City
    and then got on a spree,
  A harder set of cowboys
    you seldom ever see.
                                                   —“Legend of Sam Bass”

It has become the literary custom to recall our bonanza frontier less as
an economic phenomenon than as a backdrop for bloodshed, mayhem, and
assorted turns of vigor and violence. Early California, for example, is
today known less as the scene of the accomplishments of James Fair,
Charles Crocker, and Leland Stanford than as the arena for the armed
forays of Joaquin Murietta, Black Bart, Dick Fellows, and various other
gunmen. Since this is the accepted practice, it is entirely appropriate
to introduce the gold-rush days of the Black Hills with a brief account
of the banditry and thuggery which accompanied the early growth of that
last frontier.

The quotation at the head of this chapter is one verse of an old folk
ballad, “The Legend of Sam Bass,” the not particularly inspiring saga of
the life and death of an Indiana-born horse thief and road agent.
Actually, Bass had little to do with the history of the Hills, and as
anybody knows who has ever whistled or sung his song, the bulk of the
chronicle concerns his struggle against the Texas Rangers.

On the other hand, Sam Bass will long live in Black Hills history, for
regardless of his other accomplishments he went to his glory bearing the
credit for having originated the fine art of stage robbery in that
Dakota wilderness. The Black Hills, like every other gold region,
enjoyed but scant holiday from the pestiferous road agents. During 1875
and 1876, when the region was filling up, it seemed that there was
plenty to occupy the imagination of every individual who was able to
make the tortuous trip from the railroad. But by 1877 the area had
calmed down to such an extent that idle hands could occasionally be
counted in the dram shops, and the time was ripe for the devil to get in
his work.

From the point of view of geography the Hills presented ideal conditions
for armed assault. The two major stage lines leading into the region
were the Cheyenne-Black Hills Line, running through two hundred miles of
desolate emptyland, and the Sidney Short Route, less long by some thirty
miles, but passing through equally lonely country. In addition, one
freight and stage line came in from the east, from Fort Pierre, and
another from the north, following the general heading of Custer’s 1874
expedition. The gold, though, most often traveled the fastest route, out
to the Union Pacific at Cheyenne or Sidney.

During the first twenty months or so of the Black Hills gold rush, armed
guards were not normally counted among the personnel of the stage
coaches. As a matter of fact, in most instances it was to be questioned
whether or not any gold rode the stages, for the going was generally
thin in the diggings, and the average operator accumulated his bullion
for several months before amassing a shipment large enough to be worth
the trouble and worry. For all the wealth of the Homestake, the Hills by
no means repeated California’s early history, when every stage worth
tying a horse to carried at least some treasure. And yet, in the
springtime most of the miners cleaned up their winter’s take, it was
commonly understood, and ... well, Sam Bass must have thought, every
good thing must have a beginning.

In March, 1877, Bass organized a gang of cutthroats in Deadwood, and the
brief period when one could ride the coaches in comparative safety came
to an end. It was not much of a gang that the legendary bandit gathered
around him, the five other men being mostly cowardly and quite
worthless, either as adventurers or as strategists. Bass himself was
little more than a “punk,” as he would be called today, and, as a matter
of fact, did not earn his immortality until much later, in Texas, where
he was shot down in a barber chair by a Ranger.

The gang, if they might so be called, foregathered on the snowy night of
March 25 in Deadwood and, after consuming sufficient whiskey to enable
them to stand the cold, made their way down the south road to a point a
few miles from town where they might intercept the incoming stage from
Cheyenne. What genius of diabolical planning led them to attack an
inbound conveyance, which could be carrying little more than ordinary
mail, rather than the “down” stage, which might possibly be loaded with
bullion, has never been figured out, but at any rate they camped
themselves in the snow and waited.

At last the stage hove into sight, and Bass, the trusty leader,
cautioned his hoodlums not to shoot, but merely to stop the coach and
demand the mail pouch. Presumably the sentiments of the period held that
robbery without gunfire was quite condonable, and an entirely different
affair from burglary accompanied by shooting. It is also quite possible
that Bass was only minding his own safety, for the night had already
been marked by one misfortune—one of his men had managed to shoot
himself in the foot while putting on his deadly hardware.

As might be expected, however, Bass’s well-laid plans went very much
agley. In the excitement of calling “Halt!” one of the bandits proved a
bit too eager-fingered, and even as the stage driver was reining his
team to a stop, a shotgun blared out, emptying its charge at close range
into the driver’s chest.

    [Illustration: Calamity Jane, during her carnival days]

    [Illustration: Wild Bill Hickok, from an early portrait]

    [Illustration: Cheyenne-Black Hills Stage carrying bullion guarded
    by shotgun messengers]

    [Illustration: Deadwood Gulch in 1881]

    [Illustration: Modern Deadwood—seventy years later]

With the shot the horses bolted, and shortly thereafter they pounded
into Deadwood, guided by a hatless passenger who had managed to secure
the ribbons as they dangled. Within a matter of minutes a posse had been
formed and riders were making their way into the woods. Inasmuch as Bass
and his companions had been acting suspiciously during the afternoon and
evening, the finger of accusation pointed altogether correctly in their
direction, and before the moon was down Sam Bass was well on his way to
Texas, escaping Deadwood’s justice only to go to his lathered doom.

This tragic foray against law and order set the stage, so to speak, and
before long the spruce trails of the Black Hills, once so still and
harmless, could be passed over safely only in the company of “shotgun
messengers,” as the armed attendants were called. It did not take the
stage companies long to come to this way of operating, for Wells Fargo,
which contracted for the express business, had had a quarter-century of
rugged experience. Bringing their brave talents swiftly to bear on the
situation, the Wells Fargo men steel-plated the coaches to be used for
bullion shipments, and brought into the Hills the famed treasure chests
which had figured so largely in the history of the coming of law and
order to California—metal-bound cases too heavy to be transported
quickly from the scene of crime, and too sturdy to be opened except
after arduous work with chisels and crowbars. The chests had been
developed with the idea that a posse could be gathered at the spot where
a stage had been held up before the gold could be removed from the chest
or the chest itself taken far away.

A more important safety factor than the chests was the reputation of the
shotgun messengers. The express companies went to great lengths to
engage only the most fearless and law-abiding men they could find for
this dangerous task, and time and time again thousands upon thousands of
dollars in bullion rode across the lonely trails with no more than one
man, his shotgun, and his reputation for bravery guarding it.

Wyatt Earp, perhaps the most noted of these messengers, entered his long
tour of Wells Fargo duty through that firm’s Deadwood office. Earp, as
any lover of western legend will tell, earned his vigorous reputation as
marshal in the bloody Kansas cattle towns of Dodge City and Abilene.
After the excitement of these Gomorrahs had worn off, he made his way to
Deadwood in 1876—not as a gold-seeker, but apparently merely in search
of honest and not too dangerous employment. At any rate, his brief stay
in the Hills was given to the profession of coal and wood dispensing
rather than to law enforcement. Either the weather or the lethargy of
the place suited him poorly, for within the year he was casting about
for some means of making his way back to his own plains country.

Taking advantage of the public clamor against road agents after the Sam
Bass affair, he offered his services to the express agent and was hired
for the single trip out for fifty dollars cash and free passage. The
agent was by no means doling out any charity in this exchange, for he
knew the value of Earp’s reputation and looked upon the fifty dollars as
a cheap form of insurance. He advertised in the local newspaper: “The
Spring cleanup will leave for Cheyenne on the regular stage at 7 AM next
Monday. Wyatt Earp of Dodge will ride shotgun.”

Bullion shippers were quick to take advantage of this extra protection,
and it was recorded that no less than two hundred thousand dollars in
bullion was weighed in for that special trip. It would be most dramatic
to recount that Earp’s one trip was marked by attempted mass raids,
burning coaches, and wounded drivers, but the truth of the matter is
that the journey was made on time and in good order. Only one shot was
fired, and that by Marshal Earp, who took offense at the suspicious
actions of a rider whose course seemed to parallel the stage route for
an unaccountable distance. Without stopping the stage or otherwise
alarming the passengers Earp dropped the offending horseman a few miles
out of Deadwood, and the rest of the trip was made without incident.

Despite the vigor with which the treasure coaches were protected, armed
robbery continued to take place sporadically all during the final decade
before the rails pushed through from the East. By and large these
forays, while bloody, were unsuccessful, and not a single desperado was
able to rise to any sort of fame during that period. On the other hand,
there was one robbery which must go down in history for the strange way
in which the loot was recovered.

This particular villainy, remembered as the Canyon Springs robbery, took
place on September 28, 1878. The locale of the outrage was not far out
of Deadwood on the rough way through Beaver Creek and Jenney Stockade
into Wyoming and thence to Cheyenne. The coach, on this fateful
occasion, was rumored to be carrying nearly one hundred thousand dollars
in ingots from the Homestake, as well as from other works; and although
shipments of such size were not altogether rare, they were sufficiently
out of the ordinary to suggest the services of additional shotgun
messengers. It may well have been the mere fact of the scheduling of
additional guards that called the attention of the bandits to this
particular manifest.

The holdup took place in midafternoon, as the driver was stopping the
coach to water the horses. In the gunplay three men were killed, and the
bandits escaped with the loot from the treasure chest, which they
apparently managed to chisel open. Ten miles away one of the guards came
upon a party of horsemen, who returned to the scene of the carnage; but
upon their arrival they found the coach despoiled of its gold.

In many such cases the bandits would have been recognized as local or
near-local citizens; but in this instance all of the desperadoes
appeared to be strangers to the Hills, and consequently the law officers
had very little except guesswork to guide them in their pursuit.
Guesswork coupled with just plain snooping soon uncovered a trail,
however, for one of the stage agents turned up a ranch owner who gave
the information that a small group of men had, on the very evening of
the holdup, bought a light spring wagon from him. Such a transaction was
unusual enough to indicate that the purchasers were by no means
individuals of legitimate calling, and in all probability were the
actual bandits. Setting out on this trail, the agent managed to trace
them and their wagon all the way to Cheyenne, where the group had
apparently turned to the east.

By that time persons who had seen them in passing had recognized them,
and their names were broadcast to the marshals and sheriffs of all the
eastern regions of the plains. Day after day the stage agent followed
their trail east, across the Missouri, across the border of Nebraska,
and on to the pleasant town of Atlantic, in Iowa. By that time the wagon
had been discarded and the gang had broken up, and the agent was
following only one spoor—the track of a young man who was always seen
with a strange, heavy pack on his back.

In the town of Atlantic the trail came to an abrupt end, and indeed the
mystery might never have been solved had it not been for a strange
display in the street window of a local bank. Pausing to see what it
might be that was engaging the attention of a crowd at the window, the
agent was astounded to behold part of the very loot he was pursuing—two
bullion bricks stamped with serial numbers which identified them beyond
a doubt as part of the Canyon Springs treasure.

Upon questioning, the banker proudly asserted that his son had only the
day before returned from a successful adventure in the Black Hills, and
had, as a matter of fact, found a gold mine, which he had sold for the
very bricks making up the exhibit.

Gently the agent disabused the banker of this sad misapprehension, and,
enlisting the aid of the local Sheriff, had the prodigal son arrested.

The unfortunate conclusion to this tale of detective expertness is that
although the gold was eventually returned to the Homestake, the young
bandit escaped from the train which was carrying him back to Cheyenne,
and was never thereafter apprehended. As for the other four robbers and
the rest of the treasure, no further trace of either was ever

Although banditry and skulduggery played a very great part in the tales
of most of the other bonanza gold fields, the Black Hills story was for
the most part happily without extraordinary violence. Much more
conspicuous in the history of the Hills than the desperate adventures of
bandits are the exploits of the folk heroes who rode the Deadwood legend
into immortality. Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Deadwood Dick,
Preacher Smith, all of these amazing personalities achieved a lasting
fame during the early days of this later frontier, not for any deeds of
derring-do in the Sam Bass fashion, but for the old American custom of
living and dying in a high and wide manner.

In all probability Deadwood Dick has carried the saga of the Hills
farther and to a greater audience, both in this country and abroad, than
any of the others, and for that reason, as well as for the strange
circumstance that he never existed, it is perhaps well to tell his story

Dick, who never had a last name, was nothing more nor less than the
happy creation of an overworked literary side-liner eking out a living
in the late seventies. Having exhausted the possible plot complexities
of such heroes as Seth Jones and Duke Darrall, Messrs. Beadle and Adams,
proprietors of that stupendous literary zoo, The Pocket Library
(published weekly at 98 William Street, New York, price five cents),
urged their hack, Edward L. Wheeler, to crank out a new character. This
Shakespeare of the sensational, having recently heard of the brave
doings in Deadwood, of the Black Hills, promptly created a latter-day
Leatherstocking, Deadwood Dick.

Dick’s success was instantaneous, for there was a sense of truth in
these stories which had theretofore been missing. Dispatches in every
post brought the news of Deadwood as it was happening, and thus the
weekly appearance of another Deadwood story was able to hang itself
firmly on the coattails of reality. In one episode Dick courts Calamity
Jane, who actually existed at the time, and finally marries her. In
another, Our Hero is a frontier detective, fighting bravely on the side
of law and order. In still another he has turned to robbery, and at one
point is actually strung by his neck from a cottonwood gallows.

After exhausting the many plot possibilities of the Black Hills, Dick,
who had become as real to his readers as George Washington, began to
work both backward and forward in time and space. In one set of
adventures he is shown to be an active Indian fighter; in another he
turns up with Calamity Jane in the town of Leadville, Colorado, which
came into its glory not long after the strike in Deadwood.

At last the many loose ends of the story so entangled author Wheeler
that he gave up Deadwood Dick as a lost cause and out of nowhere fetched
him a son, Deadwood Dick, Jr., who marched on to the turn of the century
and down into our own time. Indeed, his noble features can still
occasionally be found staring gravely up from a pile of old and dusty
magazines in attic corners.

With such a heritage it is little wonder that as the town of Deadwood
grew away from its infancy, and as its modern Chamber of Commerce turned
to summer pageants as a source of tourist interest, Deadwood Dick should
be revived and paraded. Deadwood’s summer festivals, the gay “Days of
’76,” are built around a town-wide re-creation of the gold rush, with
the natives chin-whiskered, booted, and costumed within an inch of their
lives. During this gusty week otherwise sober and retiring citizens turn
themselves out as stage coach drivers, Indians, and pony express riders,
and the nights are filled with such a bubbling halloo that the tourists,
who come in ever larger droves, are able to go home and report that they
have honestly spent time in a frontier town.

To heighten the effect, the impresarios of this gay divertissement many
years ago decided to raise Deadwood Dick from Beadle’s pages and put him
on the street like all the other self-respecting Calamity Janes and Wild
Bills. Locating an oldster who looked not unlike the artist’s original
concept, they dressed him in an assortment of western oddities and gave
him time off from his duties as a stable hand while the festival was in
session. For several years this simple pretense was carried on, and no
sleep whatsoever was lost over the fact that a mild fraud was being
perpetrated on the visiting Iowans.

In 1927, though, when South Dakota was negotiating with Calvin Coolidge
to get him to spend his summer in the Hills, the stable hand, whose name
happened to be Dick Clarke, was sent to Washington to extend a personal
welcome to the President. Patently a publicity stunt, it fooled nobody
but old Dick himself. The rigors of the trip and the succession of
tongue-in-cheek honors heaped upon him somehow tilted the old man’s
mind, and from that day until his death a decade later he fully believed
that he was the original Deadwood Dick. Frowning down any suggestions
that he doff his beaded finery and return to the care of the oat bins,
he betook himself far from the gentle safety of the Deadwood that he
knew and that knew him, and took to touring the backwoods with
fifth-rate medicine shows and Wild West pageants. Somewhere along the
line he got up a small pamphlet which he sold to the gawking audiences
who thought they were seeing a genuine frontiersman. In this amazing
tract he spelled out such of the facts of Wheeler’s stories as were
coherent and in logical time sequence. The rest, including a date and
place of birth, he soberly filled in for himself.

And that was Deadwood Dick. When he finally died, back in Deadwood in
the early forties, much of the town had come to believe as he did that
there had been a Deadwood Dick, just as there had been a Calamity Jane,
and that this gaffer had been the very person. His cortege was solemnly
followed, and to this day flowers are sprinkled on his grave by confused
but loyal residents of the Hills.

Wild Bill Hickok, on the other hand, actually lived, and actually died
exactly as the legend goes, with aces and eights in his hand. It was
this unfortunate occurrence, as a matter of fact, that gave to that
particular poker hand its gruesome name, Dead Man’s Hand.

Somewhat in the manner of Deadwood Dick, Wild Bill achieved a large part
of his fame through the earnest efforts of Beadle & Adams. That is to
say, much of his renown came after his untimely demise, and much of it
was deliberately generated to satisfy the great western-yearnings of the
avid book-buying public. In addition to the publishers’ efforts on
Bill’s behalf, great impetus was given to his posthumous repute by
Calamity Jane. Nevertheless, in all probability Hickok was actually the
fearless and sterling character his legendeers have depicted, and had he
not been brutally done to death by feckless Jack McCall he would
doubtless have earned even greater fame through his own efforts in later

James Hickok was born into a farming family in Illinois in the year
1837, and passed a quiet and respectable boyhood in the ordinary
pursuits of such an existence. In his nineteenth year he, like so many
other young men of that day, felt the urgent call of the Far West. He
hired himself out forthwith as a teamster in a wagon train to the
Pacific Coast.

Returning at the end of this one visit to the golden shores, he managed
to land in the Platte Valley of the eastern Rockies in the very year
when gold was being discovered in that region. The following two years
he spent in odd jobs around Denver and on the high plains to the east of
that new city. During all this time, however, it seemed as if his heart
were hungering for the lower country. He let his drifting carry him
slowly back into Kansas where, at the beginning of the Civil War, he
managed a station for Hinckley’s Overland Express Company, which was
then staging from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Denver and into Central City.

All these adventures gave ample opportunity for any young man of spleen
to entangle himself a dozen times over in killings, brawls, and assorted
rough businesses, but through this entire period James Hickok gave
evidence of being nothing but a stalwart and well-intentioned

The harmlessness of his pursuits, though, came to an explosive end after
one year in this genial work, when he indulged in pistolry with a
certain McCanles gang. One version of the Wild Bill legend states that
the “gang” were cutthroats, and that Hickok was only defending his
company’s property. Another version, equally trustworthy, has it that
the McCanleses were Confederate sympathizers, attempting to raise a
cavalry unit in the region and thus offending Hickok with his Unionist
leanings. Whatever the reason, the outcome was bloody. No one today
knows for certain how many men were killed, for eyewitness accounts have
included reports ranging all the way from one to six, all of them
presumably slain by Hickok.

The doughty station manager, his helper, and another stage company
employee were speedily brought to trial for the affair, and just as
speedily acquitted of any crime. Shortly after that Hickok resigned his
express company affiliation and joined the Union army, fighting the war
out as a trusted though undistinguished scout.

After his discharge in 1865, he seems to have forsaken forever his once
peaceful way of life, and thereafter blood was more than occasionally to
be found upon his hands. His first postwar killing took place in
Springfield, Missouri, in a duel with a gambler; and later that same
year he was reported to have mortally wounded another card player in
Julesburg, Colorado Territory. In the next year another report,
unofficial like all the rest, had him killing three more men in
Missouri, and in 1867—this _was_ official—he went to the booming cow
town of Hays City, Kansas, where he was shortly offered the post of

That his reputation, whether truthful or legendary, was growing there
can be no question. By 1867 he was accounted to be one of the best
gunmen of his time and place, quite possibly for the simple reason that
he had survived so many fights. For all the shadowy overtones of his
story, he was also reputed to be a devotee of righteousness and order,
although this facet of his character may or may not actually have
existed. He was well known to be a gambler, and his victims were all
(except the McCanleses) supposed to be cheaters at cards. Whether his
vivacity with Mr. Colt’s revolver was intended to rid the earth of
dishonest men or merely to avenge a lost hand is beside the point, for
his acceptance of the position of marshal of Hays City indicates that
for a time, at least, his inclinations lay in the direction of law and

From Hays City he went to a similar post in Abilene, where he bore the
star until 1872. During all this time he was forced to kill but a bare
minimum of unworthy citizens, his ever growing repute as a dangerous man
with a gun apparently frightening would-be desperadoes out of his orbit.
Three notches were all that he placed upon his weapon during his service
in those two hell cities of the prairies—definitely a world’s record in

    [Illustration: One of the Black Hills’ many streams]

    [Illustration: The Badlands: Desolate, empty, and seared]

Apparently the inactivity came to bore him, for he soon gave up police
work to return to the army for two years as a scout. This harsh calling
also failed to satisfy whatever inner wants were making themselves felt,
and in 1874 he resigned to join a traveling show with Buffalo Bill.

In 1875, however, he was to be found no longer behind the chemical
lights, but idling his time away in Cheyenne. During this restless
interlude he married a circus rider named Agnes Lake. Shortly after the
ceremony, which took place in 1876, he followed the trail to Deadwood,
arriving in April and setting up camp with another ex-army scout. The
motives which drew him to that thriving boom town were, in all
probability, those which drew the thousands of others—mere curiosity and
the hope that something might turn up. Indeed, during the four months of
his Deadwood hiatus he did very little but play poker in the famed
saloon known as Number Ten. That he was as accomplished a gambler as he
was a gunman was doubted by no one, and through his ability with the
pasteboards he apparently kept himself in such funds as he needed. He
did not attempt to look for gold, nor did he seek any official post in
the town. He merely played the long hours away at cards.

One might expect such a man as Wild Bill Hickok to meet his nemesis in
open battle with a murderous cutthroat seeking to pay off an old score.
Western legend is filled with such fitting come-uppances. But in this
rare case our hero was killed in a peaceful moment by a total stranger
and for reasons which nobody was ever thereafter able to discern.

On the fateful day of August 2, 1876, he entered Number Ten shortly
after the lunch hour to take up his everlasting hand of cards. Normally,
being a prudent man, he insisted on a seat with its back to a wall, from
which vantage point he could keep his eye cocked for trouble; but on
this day, for some reason, he arrived just too late to take his
customary position and had to accept a chair with its back to the door.
The game proceeded amiably enough for a while, and there was nothing in
the afternoon air to suggest violence of any sort. At last a normally
inoffensive deadbeat, one Jack McCall, turned from the bar where he had
been enjoying a quiet drink and, passing the gaming table on his way to
the door, suddenly and without a word pulled his revolver from his vest
and put a shot through Wild Bill’s skull.

The effect was instantaneous. When the news spread that Wild Bill had
been killed, all work stopped in the city and men streamed in from every
corner, expecting at the very least to find a major battle in progress.
When finally the crowds were quieted down and it was learned that the
killing was nothing more than a mere murder, the populace speedily
hunted up the terrified McCall, whom they found huddled in a near-by
stable, and arranged a formal trial. The facts that Deadwood was at that
time still out of bounds to American citizens and therefore under no
legitimate civil jurisdiction and that the judge, jury, and prosecuting
attorney were elected on the spot by a show of hands, having therefore
no official standing, did not dampen the ardor of the crowd. A trial was
a trial, and its results would presumably be fair and honest.

As a matter of fact, Jack McCall must have been the most surprised
individual of all at the ultimate fairness of the legal machinery which
had been set up in his honor. With the acceptance of his fumbling plea
that Hickok had, at a place unnamed and at a time unnamed, killed his
brother, McCall was acquitted and turned free, and Wild Bill was
sorrowfully buried by the admiring populace.

As soon as he was freed, McCall hurried back to Cheyenne to escape the
reach of any of Hickok’s friends. Unfortunately the story of the killing
followed him there, and under the mistaken impression that he had
undergone a legitimate trial and was therefore no longer subject to
additional jeopardy, McCall took no pains to deny the murder. This was a
most foolish tactic on his part, for he was speedily rearrested and
shipped to Yankton, the capital of South Dakota Territory, where he was
held for a session of the proper court. Inasmuch as he had admitted
before witnesses not only that he had killed Wild Bill, but also that
his earlier plea had been fabricated from whole cloth, he had a very
slender defense indeed, and was quickly found guilty and banged.

To the very end no clue could be found to any sort of sound reason for
his having fired the fatal shot. It was quite definitely proved that he
had never had any dealings with his victim and had never been in any way
offended by him, and that he no more than knew vaguely who he was. It
was apparently a completely aimless killing, the unhappy inspiration of
the moment.

On the other hand, Justice seems forever determined to get to the bottom
of the matter, for _The Trial of Jack McCall_ has become an institution
of the Black Hills, played, like _Ten Nights in a Barroom_, all the
summers long in a popular tavern. Where audiences elsewhere hiss their
Legrees and other purely fictional villains, the proud residents of
Deadwood have their very own and very real scoundrel for the target of
their malisons—the miserable McCall. Tourists are cordially invited to
join in the fun and thereby to spread ever farther the legend of Wild
Bill Hickok.

On June 21, 1951, the legend was further enhanced and improved upon by
the presentation to the city of Deadwood of a brand new statue of Hickok
carved out of a massive chunk of native granite by the ebullient
sculptor, Ziolkowski. An all-day celebration attended the unveiling of
this statue upon its pedestal at the foot of Mt. Moriah, and the zenith
of the day’s gaudy reverence was the reading of an “epic” poem to the
hushed populace of the town over a loud-speaker system from the top of
the mount. The statue is plain to be seen about a block from the Adams
Memorial Museum, and copies of the epic can no doubt be had by
soliciting the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce.

Of a somewhat different character from Wild Bill, but, it is good to
report, no less revered in the Hills, was Preacher Smith.

Frontier towns have been notorious for their hallowing of persons, both
male and female, who were either expertly good or expertly bad. This
strange compounding of affections would suggest that the vice or
godliness in itself was unimportant, but that the rough and crude
citizens who populated our earlier settlements held a genuine admiration
and regard for anyone of any calling who demonstrated authority and

And thus it was with the Reverend Henry W. Smith. A man of exceptionally
little luck in life, he gave up his dwindling congregations in the
States and journeyed into the frontier in 1875, partly because of a zeal
in his heart to bring the Word into the lawless and godless gold camps,
but also, it must be conjectured, to find some form of weekday
employment which would enable him to care for his wife and two
daughters. The wolf had been howling at many doors during those years,
and parsonages which carried even a bare subsistence stipend were few
and far between.

Smith went first to Custer, where he stayed but a short while, finding
little in the way of work and less in the way of souls to save, since
the rush to Deadwood was then in full force. Hiring onto a merchandise
train as a cook’s helper, he made his way to that newer city, arriving
early in May of 1876. In a town of such activity it was not difficult to
locate work, and shortly his hide began to fill out and his purse to
thicken. That purse, it was discovered after his death, was to be used
for the purpose of bringing his family out to join him.

Working diligently and, of course, soberly at his menial tasks from
Monday through Saturday, and bravely setting up his pulpit on the main
street on Sundays, Preacher Smith soon won the respect and even the
genial admiration of the roisterous townspeople. At first his
congregations contained more wandering dogs than people, but week after
week, as he determinedly kept after his work, an increasingly large
crowd gathered of a Sunday morning to listen to his sermons.

Thus the entire town was shocked when he was brutally killed by Indians
while walking to a near-by settlement to preach a sermon. Indians were
bad enough at best, but killing a harmless and unarmed preacher was an
act of violence which shook the consciences of the whole citizen body.
It was on those consciences that the guilt began to press—the guilt of
the knowledge that they had driven him to his death by their slowness to
accept him in their own community and that he had gone to his rendezvous
seeking a congregation, no matter how small, that would house him and
the Master he served.

Belatedly gathering to his support, the citizens passed a sizable hat
for the benefit of the unfortunate man’s widow and daughters. In
addition to the gift of cash, the woman received an invitation to bring
her grieving family to the Hills, where care would be arranged for them,
including a teaching post for the eldest daughter. Unfortunately,
neither the widow nor the daughters were in good enough health to be
able to make the rigorous trip, and in consequence they could not avail
themselves of the hospitality and generosity which were so late in

Although they had failed to bring the parson’s family to Deadwood, the
worthy citizens were undaunted in their efforts to memorialize this
modest itinerant who had stumbled unwittingly into glory. A great chunk
of sandstone was quarried and a local artist of more verve than ability
proceeded to hack out the parson’s likeness. The statue was eventually
propped over his grave atop Mount Moriah, the cemetery-museum where he
lies alongside Wild Bill and Calamity Jane. Unfortunately souvenir
hunters carried on their unworthy custom over the years, until finally
the battered monument, no longer even recognizable, collapsed. In the
Adams Memorial Hall of Deadwood, however, there can be seen a
certificate signed in Preacher Smith’s very writing, and thus his
handiwork lives along with his legend.

All stories of Deadwood in the Black Hills come, eventually, to the
great riddle of Martha Jane Cannary (sometimes spelled Canary), known as
Calamity Jane.

This gusty female, who rolled around the West for nearly half a century,
has been the subject of more controversy and speculation than almost any
other early-day character. In her lifetime she circulated a brief
autobiography which successfully managed to hide the truth about
practically every aspect of her history. In addition, she manipulated
her drab story in such a way that a whole generation of legend-mongers
accepted her as the “true love” of Wild Bill Hickok, and thus by no
means to be thought of as the drunken harlot she most certainly was.

By dint of careful searching, however, some few definite facts of her
early life and adventures have been isolated, and upon them at least the
framework of her true story has been constructed. She appears to have
been born in the neighborhood of 1850—add or subtract a year—in
Missouri. Some accounts have it that her father was a Baptist minister,
which is an unimportant sidelight, for young Martha Jane did not stay at
home long enough for any such influence to gnaw its way into her

How she managed to get from Missouri to Wyoming while still in her early
teens remains a mystery, but nonetheless her career as a camp follower
started when, at the tender age of fourteen, she arrived in the roaring
outpost of Rawlins. Some tales have it that she had gone west as the
consort of a young army lieutenant, and that her mother, remarried to a
pioneer, found her in that boisterous military town and took her to
Utah. In any event she came back into circulation two years later, for
in 1866 she was duly married to one George White in Cheyenne. Following
this felicitous turn of affairs she and her husband journeyed to Denver,
where he was able to support her in a fine, high style. Unfortunately,
she did not take to this pleasant existence, but shortly began to yearn
after the cavalry. Leaving her husband to his Denver duties, she
appeared all during 1867 and 1868 in various forts throughout Wyoming.
It was at this particular time in her career that she was supposed to
have earned the nickname of Calamity Jane. Undoubtedly the title was
bestowed upon her by barroom companions who had learned the sad truth
that Martha Jane’s appearance on the scene boded a long and arduous
night of drinking; but in her maudlin and confused autobiography she
tells of assisting in an Indian fight and for her splendid services
being gratefully given the name by a Captain Pat Egan. In a later
interview Egan denied this, claiming that the only time he had ever seen
the woman was while escorting her out of a barracks so that the men
could get some sleep.

From Wyoming she went to Hays City, Kansas, still following the Seventh
Cavalry, her chosen military unit. Six years later she turned up again,
this time disguised as a man and marching with General Crook’s police
force, which was trying to keep settlers out of the Hills. Her
autobiography claims that she also accompanied Custer’s command on its
famous exploratory march, but this does not appear to be true.

After the discovery of gold in Deadwood, she found the high life in that
town so completely to her liking that she made it her home base. In time
she fastened herself so securely among the legends of the metropolis
that she was thereafter known solely as Calamity Jane of Deadwood.

Taking advantage of the high romance which surrounded Wild Bill’s name
after his death, Calamity made haste to pass the story around that he
had been her only true love; and although there was no evidence of any
sort that he even knew who she was, her last words, when she died in
1903, were a plea to be buried next to him.

In the eighties she became restless again and forsook her beloved
Deadwood for two decades, roving as far south as El Paso, and on one
occasion being seen in California. Her activities at this time of her
life are mostly lost from sight, but it may be presumed that as whatever
charms she may earlier have had faded, her interest to and in the
soldiers waned. During this period she married again, this time wedding
a man named Burke, to whom she bore a daughter. She soon tired of Burke,
however, and drifted slowly north again, passing considerable time in
Colorado and then returning briefly to Deadwood in 1895. Even at that
late date the citizens of the gold town had not forgotten her, nor had
the esteem in which she had earlier been held dwindled; when it was
discovered that she lacked funds to care for her daughter, the
townspeople passed the ever present hat and arranged for the care of the
child. This act of generosity was purportedly to repay a great sacrifice
which Calamity Jane had made in the earlier days, braving the dangers of
the smallpox scourge of 1878 to nurse whoever was ill and without help.
This particular legend has had wide currency in the West, its closest
variant being the tale of Silver Heels, a dancing girl who visited the
mining camps of Colorado’s South Park in the sixties. Silver Heels is
popularly supposed to have ministered to the miners during a similar
plague, for which bravery a near-by mountain was named for her.

After placing her child in a school, Calamity, who was destitute, betook
herself to the vaudeville circuit. Inasmuch as through the dime novels
she had already become a well-known national figure, she was able for a
while to draw large crowds. Had it not been for her unfortunate habit of
getting dead drunk before show time, she might well have amassed a
competence over the years. But her first contract was not renewed, and
after a brief whirl at the Buffalo Exposition she returned to the West,
spending the next several years in Montana.

At last she came home to Deadwood, a sick and broken old roustabout. By
this time she was nothing more than a bar-fly, and she lived out her
last days panhandling food and liquor money from strangers. At last, on
August 2, 1903, she died of pneumonia.

Deadwood turned out in force for her funeral. As she had requested, she
was buried near Wild Bill Hickok on Mount Moriah, overlooking the town.
That she had never really known Wild Bill was quite beside the point,
and anyway, there was none present who knew whether she had or not. The
shoddy story of her “love” for Hickok was nothing that interested the
old timers, but was saved for historians to untangle. That she was no
more than an alcoholic old harlot was of no consequence, either, to the
good citizens, for with her passing the last of the great names of the
frontier was coming home to rest. That the townspeople were proud of
her, and genuinely so, was not to be denied, although there was most
certainly nobody present at that melancholy service who could have told
why. The truth of the matter was that they were burying not a broken old
woman, but the last of the Black Hills legends.

                              CHAPTER SIX
                        The White River Badlands

Any visit to the Black Hills must also be the occasion of a tour, at
least for a few hours, of the famous South Dakota Badlands. This
fantastic National Monument is not a part of the Hills, either
geographically or historically, but because the two regions lie so close
together—a scant fifty miles apart—they are expediently linked as two
great natural wonders in the same region.

The term “badlands” has a loose scientific acceptance, meaning any
region where a specific type of heavy erosion has taken place. Such
regions usually have subnormal rainfall and sparse vegetation. Those
rains that do occur, then, find little on the earth’s surface to prevent
almost complete runoff, which is so vigorous as to act as a powerful
cutting agent. The final ingredients of a badlands are rock formations
known as unconsolidated—lacking any general unity of structure which
might tend to withstand erosion. When all these conditions exist, the
devastation of the rushing flood waters is without pattern, a great gash
being carved in one spot while no damage is visible on a near-by
outcropping. The end result is an almost frightening collection of
gruesome stone monuments rising to the sky and marking the heights once
reached by a general plateau.

Actually, much of the high western plain abutting on the Rocky Mountains
is basic badland formation, and small pockets of distinct erosion can be
seen all through eastern Colorado, western Nebraska, and eastern
Wyoming, in addition to the vast depression in the valleys of the White
and Cheyenne rivers in South Dakota. This one region, though, sixty-five
miles long and five to fifteen miles wide, is the largest and from the
geologist’s point of view the most important of all such regions in the
world. Desolate, empty, seared by ages of sun and wind, it is now a
great gash in the earth’s flesh which exposes to view rock and soil
strata that measure a great span of earth’s history.

In addition to the splendid opportunity to see and study the various
layers of the earth’s surface going back as far as sixty million years,
the very composition of badlands formations makes any such region a
veritable museum of fossils and petrified animal relics. The South
Dakota Badlands have turned up absolute treasures of such
paleontological finds, enabling scientists to trace the evolution of
mammalian life all the way back to the appearance on earth of the first
carnivorous animals—the vastly distant ancestors of the dog. And the
Badlands are noted not only for the great span in geologic time of their
fossil beds, but also for the number of different types which have been
found in their ancient soil, more than 250 different prehistoric animals
having been discovered in various stages of fossilized preservation in
this general region.

The tourist, though, need not be even an amateur student of geology or
paleontology to be thrilled and awed by a visit to this grotesque but
beautiful area. The mere colors of the various rock strata, ever
changing under the light patterns of sun and cloud, provide a
never-to-be-forgotten experience. One of the most articulate tributes to
the grandeur of the Badlands is that of Frank Lloyd Wright:

  Speaking of our trip to the South Dakota Badlands, I’ve been about the
  world a lot and pretty much over our own country but I was totally
  unprepared for the revelation called the Badlands. What I saw gave me
  an indescribable sense of the mysterious otherwhere—a distant
  architecture, ethereal, touched, only touched, with a sense of
  Egyptian-Mayan drift and silhouette. As we came closer, a templed
  realm definitely stood ambient in the air before my astonished
  “scene”-loving but “scene”-jaded gaze.

  Yes, I say the aspects of the South Dakota Badlands have more
  spiritual quality to impart to the mind of America than anything else
  in it made by Man’s God.

The word “badlands,” which now has a genuine scientific meaning, was
taken into our vocabulary from the folk name for this very region. In
the earliest days of North American exploration, far back before the
Revolution, French trappers had braved this empty wasteland on their
endless quest for new fur grounds, and had brought back tales of this
lost world of silence and strange shapes. They were the ones who gave it
the name Badlands, but they were only translating directly the Sioux
name, Mako Sika, which meant, precisely, lands bad for traveling.

To the early explorers the badlands meant only that—high escarpments to
be overcome; twisting, winding, endless canyons from which there were no
outlets; crumbling rock underfoot on the three-hundred-foot crawls from
the canyon bottoms to the table-tops; and the hot, shimmering distances
of this forbidding terrain as far as the eye could see.

It was, as a matter of fact, the existence of this area that helped keep
the Black Hills nothing more than an empty question mark on maps until
the rumors of gold began to circulate. The first American explorers, who
might have discovered the natural wonders of the Hills in the 1820’s,
found their paths diverted to the north and the south by this impassable
valley, and consequently missed the Hills.

The first reliable record of the wonders of this lost world was dated
1847. That year, it will be remembered, was one of great moment in the
history of the western movement—the year that Brigham Young braved the
high prairies and pathless mountains with his great exodus, settling an
empire on the shores of Great Salt Lake. Although the Pacific trails
were fairly well established by then, his was the first of the true
migrations, and the gold rush to California, the Oregon excursions, and
the Pikes Peak mosaid were yet to come.

In this fateful year of 1847 a certain Professor Hiram A. Prout of St.
Louis came somehow into contact with a representative of the American
Fur Company, which ran substantial trapping operations all up the wide
Missouri and its tributaries. How this meeting came about is lost to
record, but we do know that the fur trader gave Professor Prout a
souvenir of his recent travels through the Badlands of Dakota—a fragment
of the lower jaw of a Titanothere, the first fossil ever to be quarried
out of the region and used for scientific purposes.

In that same year a second Badlands fossil turned up, this one a
well-preserved head of an ancestral camel, given to or purchased by the
great scholar, Dr. Joseph Leidy. With true academic ardor both of these
gentlemen, Leidy and Prout, rushed their discoveries into scholarly
print, describing in learned journals the nature of their trophies.
Enjoying the slender circulation of academic publication, the essays
which described these fossil wonders eventually found their way into the
offices of the government’s geological survey, which acted quickly to
dispatch an expedition to the overlooked region of their origin.

That first exploring party, the David Owen Survey, went into the field
in 1849. A prominent scientist-artist, Dr. John Evans, was attached to
the group, and from his pen we have several sketches of this pioneer
adventure into the empty wastelands. If these drawings look more like
studies of Dante’s Inferno than like the breath-taking Badlands as they
really are, it must be remembered that such geological formations had
never before been visited by the members of that party, and, being
completely alien to the America of their knowledge, impressed them every
bit as a visit to the moon might have done.

The Owens party was merely the vanguard of the great army of brave men
and women who have ever since made their dangerous ways into the
remotest distances of the mountain and desert West, seeking neither
riches of gold nor riches of land, but only more minute bits of the
knowledge of the world of our past. Archeologists, geologists, and
paleontologists from universities and learned societies the world over
have spent liberally of their time, energies, and personal safety to
scout out the secrets of mankind’s past in such remote corners of the
earth as the Badlands. Year after year additional expeditions, both
governmental and privately organized, made their way into this
particular area, seeking out the fossil remains which turned up in great

V. F. Hayden of the United States Geological Survey was one of the most
diligent of the early explorers. He made trips into the Badlands in
1853, 1855, 1857, and 1866, carrying on detailed and exhaustive studies
and eventually unraveling the story of the region’s major geologic

As Hayden’s reports became more and more widely circulated, various
universities found projects of specific interest in one or another phase
of the work of uncovering fossil beds; and from year to year Yale,
Princeton, Amherst, the universities of South Dakota and Nebraska, and
other institutions sent groups into the Badlands for summer work.
Gradually, as these several groups exchanged information and reports of
progress, it became possible for their scientists to trace back, through
the skeletal remains of prehistoric animals, the very processes of the
evolution of many entire families in the animal kingdom. Not only are
the fossil beds of the Badlands as richly stocked with remains as any
such bed in the world, but in a great many instances entire groups of
three, four, and five whole skeletons have been found, making it
possible for museum workers to re-create almost perfectly the animals as
they existed and to set up models of the terrain at various intervals
throughout its entire sixty-million-year history.

Perhaps the most noteworthy as well as view-worthy section of the
Badlands is Sheep Mountain, located at the far west end of the Monument.
Down from the summit runs a great canyon, the School of Mines Canyon,
named for the fact that the South Dakota State School of Mines at Rapid
City long ago chose that location for the bulk of its paleontological
research. Under the guidance of famed Dr. Cleophas O’Harra, for many
years president of that institution, groups of Mines students went on
extended annual encampments on Sheep Mountain, unearthing, among other
rarities, full skeletons of the prehistoric midget horse, the
saber-toothed tiger, and camels. It was this last discovery that lent
considerable support to the concept, conjectural at the time of Dr.
O’Harra’s discoveries, that a land bridge had once connected North
America and Asia, allowing the migration of peoples and animals from the
old world into the new. School of Mines Canyon, while some distance off
the main highway leading from Pierre to the Black Hills, is by all means
worth the time required to visit it. The canyon lies only thirteen miles
from the town of Scenic.

The Badlands are reached by Highway 14-16 and by State Route 40. Coming
from the west, from Rapid City, the visitor can take route 40 directly
to the town of Scenic, forty-seven miles distant. From Scenic, in
addition to connecting with the side trip to Sheep Mountain, 40
continues along the north wall of the Badlands all the way to Cedar Pass
and out the east end of the region, merging at Kadoka with Highway 16,
or, by means of a nine-mile connection, with 14.

Should the weather be bad and State 40 not recommended by local
informers, the route is out of Rapid City on 14-16, east fifty-five
miles to the town of Wall, thence by the access road through the
Pinnacles, down into the Badlands halfway between Scenic and Cedar Pass,
and joining State 40.

From the east, Highway 16 goes through Kadoka, from which town State 40
should be taken, leading in through Cedar Pass, and out either through
Scenic and on to Rapid City, or at the Pinnacles, through Wall and back
on 14-16. Coming from Pierre on 14, the tourist must leave that highway
a few miles beyond the town of Philip and make the nine-mile detour on
16 to Kadoka, from there going on to Cedar Pass as described.

Several railroads serve the Badlands and its general region, notably the
Chicago & Northwestern, the Burlington, and the Chicago, Milwaukee, and
St. Paul. This last road, the “Milwaukee,” offers the traveler the best
view of the region, winding up the White River Valley the entire
sixty-five miles between Kadoka and Scenic, and providing the passenger
with unparalleled if hasty views of some of the most rugged and isolated
portions of all the area.


Allsman, Paul T. _Reconnaissance of Gold Mining Districts in the Black
      Hills, South Dakota._ U.S. Bureau of Mines, No. 427. Washington,
      D. C.: U.S. Dept. of Interior, 1940.

Baldwin, G. P., editor. _The Black Hills Illustrated._ Philadelphia:
      Baldwin Syndicate, 1904.

Carpenter, F. R. _The Mineral Resources of the Black Hills._ South
      Dakota School of Mines Preliminary Report, No. 1. Rapid City:
      South Dakota School of Mines, 1888.

Casey, Robert J. _The Black Hills._ New York: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1949.

Dick, Everett. _Vanguards of the Frontier._ New York: D.
      Appleton-Century Co., 1941.

Eloe, Frank. “Rushmore Cave,” _Black Hills Engineer_, XXIV (December,
      1938), 274.

Fenton, C. L. “South Dakota’s Badlands,” _Nature Magazine_, XXIV
      (August, 1941), 370-74.

Glasscock, C. B. _The Big Bonanza._ Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co.,

Hans, Fred. _The Great Sioux Nation._ Chicago: Donahue, 1907.

Hayden, F. V. and Meek, F. B. “Remarks on Geology of the Black Hills,”
      _Academy of Natural Science Proceedings._ Philadelphia: Academy of
      Natural Science, 1858, X, 41-59.

Hough, Emerson. _The Passing of the Frontier._ New Haven: Yale
      University Press, 1921.

Kingsbury, G. W. _History of Dakota Territory._ Chicago: The S. J.
      Clarke Co., 1915.

Lake, Stuart. _Wyatt Earp._ Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1931.

Mirsky, Jeannette. _The Westward Crossings._ New York: Alfred A. Knopf,

Newton, Henry. _Geology of the Black Hills._ Washington, D. C.: United
      States Geographical and Geological Survey, 1880.

O’Harra, C. C. “The Gold Mining Industry of the Black Hills,” _Black
      Hills Engineer_, XIX (January, 1931), 3-9.

——. _The White River Badlands._ Department of Geology, No. 13. Rapid
      City: South Dakota School of Mines, 1920.

Rothrach, E. P. _A Hydrologic Study of the White River Valley. South
      Dakota Geological Survey Report._ Vermillion, South Dakota:
      University of South Dakota, February, 1942.

Todd, James Edward. _A Preliminary Report on the Geology of South
      Dakota._ South Dakota Geological Survey, No. 1. Vermillion:
      University of South Dakota, 1894.

Tullis, E. L. “The Geology of the Black Hills,” _Black Hills Engineer_,
      XXV (April, 1939), 26-38.


[1]For an account of the history and natural wonders of Estes Park,
    readers are referred to a previous book in this series, _Estes Park:
    Resort in the Rockies_, by Edwin J. Foscue and Louis O. Quam.

[2]A treasured manuscript journal kept by the author’s great-uncle, who
    was for many years curator of the Colorado State Historical
    Society’s museum in Denver, reports an interview with Calamity Jane
    some time before her death which convinced him that the facts were
    substantially as they are stated here.

    On the other hand, Mr. Will G. Robinson, the eminent State Historian
    of South Dakota, reports: “On the authority of Dr. McGillicuddy, who
    was a medico at Ft. Laramie, and whose original letter I have, I
    would be entirely certain that she was born at Ft. Laramie, of a
    couple by the name of Dalton. Dalton was a soldier, was discharged
    and went out a short distance west to LaBonte. Here he was killed by
    Indians, although his wife got back into the fort with one eye
    gouged out, after which she shortly died. Her child got her
    name—Calamity—by reason of this disaster. She was not much over 40
    when she died in 1903.”

    The discrepancy between these two accounts, both studiously
    researched and documented by men whose professional careers have
    been given over to solving puzzles of this nature with which western
    history abounds, is typical of the disagreement among
    well-authenticated reports of the birth and early life of this
    female enigma.

    In any event, it is a matter which is still subject to a maximum
    amount of conjecture, and for a much more complete account of the
    variant clues readers are enthusiastically referred to Nolie Mumey’s
    _Calamity Jane_ (Denver: Privately printed, 1949).


  Abilene (Kan.), 84, 98
  Adams Memorial Museum, 103, 107
  Alaska, 73
  Algonkian Period, 19
  American Fur Company, 120
  Amherst College, 122
  Anchor City (S.D.), 63
  Archean Period, 17-18
  Archean sea, 20
  Atlantic (Iowa), 88

  Badlands, White River, 4, 6, 42, 115-17
  Bass, Sam, 79-81, 82-83, 85, 90
  Battle Mountain, 7
  Beadle & Adams, 90, 95
  Beaver Creek, 86
  Belle Fourche (S.D.), 6
  Belle Fourche River, 56
  Belle Fourche Round-up, 46
  Big Horn Basin, 66
  Big Horn River, 53
  Bismarck (S.D.), 53
  Black Bart, 78
  Black Hills & Badlands Assn., 44
  Black Hills Range Days, 46
  Black Hills Teachers College, 12
  Black Moon (Indian Chief), 66
  Blackfeet tribe, 49
  Blodgett, Sam, 71
  Borglum, Gutzon, 37-39
  Bozeman Trail, 51-53
  Brule tribe, 49, 52
  “Broken Hand.” _See_ Fitzpatrick, Thomas
  Buffalo Bill, 99
  Burlington Railroad, 8

  Calamity Jane, 77, 90-91, 94, 107-11
  _Calamity Jane_, 109
  California, 47, 50, 62, 75
  Cambrian Period, 19-20
  Cambrian sea, 20
  Canyon Springs, 86, 89
  Carlsbad Caverns, 28, 43
  Carson, Kit, 55
  Cathedral Park, 33
  Central City (S.D.), 63
  Cheyenne (Wyo.), 4, 59-61, 69, 80-81, 86, 89, 99
  Cheyenne-Black Hills Stage, 69, 80
  Cheyenne-Deadwood Stage, 4, 9
  Cheyenne Indians, 7
  Cheyenne River, 116
  Chicago (Ill.), 6, 34, 49
  Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, 7
  Clarke, Dick, 93
  Colorado, 32-33, 47, 58
  Coolidge, President Calvin, 31, 38, 93
  Crazy Horse (Indian Chief), 40, 52, 54, 61, 65-67
  Cripple Creek (Colo.), 72
  Crocker, Charles, 78
  Crook, General, 59, 64-66, 110
  Crystal Cave, 23
  Custer (S.D.), 6, 9, 10-11, 30-31, 40, 42-43, 46, 59, 61, 63,
          70-71, 105
  Custer, General George Armstrong, 1, 10, 54-57, 64-67, 78, 80
  Custer State Park, 19, 30
  Custer’s Last Stand, 68

  Darrall, Duke, 90
  Days of ’76, 46, 92
  Dead Man’s Hand (poker), 95
  Deadtree Gulch, 71
  Deadwood (S.D.), 4, 11, 20, 46, 69, 81-84, 86, 91, 99, 101, 105-6,
  Deadwood City (S.D.), 76
  Deadwood Dick, 77, 90-94
  Deadwood Dick, Jr., 92
  Deadwood Gulch, 10, 46, 71, 73
  Denver (Colo.), 3-4, 49, 60, 96, 109
  Devonian Period, 22
  Dodge, General Grenville, 51
  Dodge City (Kan.), 84

  Earp, Wyatt, 84-86
  Egan, Capt. Pat, 110
  Estes Park, 3
  Evans, Fred T., 7
  Evans Hotel, 7
  Evans, John, 120

  Fair, James, 78
  Fellows, Dick, 78
  Fitzpatrick, Thomas, 50
  Fort Ellis, 64
  Fort Fetterman, 64
  Fort Laramie, 50-52, 57
  Fort Lincoln, 53, 57
  Fort Pierre, 7, 13, 80
  Fort Sully, 51
  French Creek, 57, 69, 70

  Gall (Indian Chief), 66
  Game Lodge, 31-33
  Gayville (S.D.), 63
  Gibbon, General John, 64-65
  Gold, discovered in the Black Hills, 3
  Gold Discovery Days, 11, 46
  Golden Gate (S.D.), 63
  Golden Star mine, 73
  Golden Terra mine, 73, 75
  Gordon party, 60
  Great Plains, 49

  Haggin, James Ben Ali, 74
  Harney Peak, 1, 19, 32, 35-36, 40
  Harney-Sanborne Treaty, 53
  Hayden, V. F., 121
  Hays City (Kan.), 98, 110
  Hearst, Senator George, 74-75
  Hearst, William Randolph, 74
  Hickok, Wild Bill, 90, 94-97, 100-102, 107-8
  Hinckley’s Overland Express, 96
  Homestake Mine, 69, 72-76, 80, 87, 89
  Homestake Mining Co., 75
  Hot Springs (S.D.), 6, 8-9, 11, 29, 34

  Ice Cave, 43-44
  Inkpaduta (Indian Chief), 66
  _Inter-Ocean_, 58

  Jefferson, President Thomas, 37, 39
  Jenney Stockade, 86
  Jennings, Dr., 7
  Jewel Cave, 11, 23, 42, 44
  Jones, Seth, 90
  Julesburg (Colo.), 97

  Kansas, 96
  Kansas City (Mo.), 49
  Kind, Ezra, 48

  Lake, Agnes, 99
  Laramie (Wyo.), 61
  Last Chance Gulch, 73
  Lead (S.D.), 75
  _Legend of Sam Bass_, 79
  Leidy, Dr. Joseph, 120
  Lincoln, President Abraham, 37, 39
  Lincoln Highway, 4
  Little Big Horn River, 10, 68
  Luenen (Germany), 12

  McCall, Jack, 95, 100-102
  McCanles gang, 96, 98
  McKay, William T., 54, 56

  Manuel, Fred, 73-75
  Manuel, Moses, 73-75
  Meier, Joseph, 12
  Miles City (Mont.), 6
  Minneapolis (Minn.), 6
  Minnekahta Canyon, 7
  Minnesota, 50
  Minniconjou tribe, 49
  Mississippian Period, 22
  Missouri, 97, 108
  Missouri River, 2, 6, 49, 53, 88
  Missouri Valley, 48, 50
  Mogollon (mountains), 63
  Montana, 10, 47, 51, 64
  Mount Coolidge, 41
  Mount Evans, 33
  Mount Moriah Cemetery, 103, 107, 113
  Mount Rushmore, 37, 39, 40-41
  Mount Washington, 32
  Mumey, Nolie, 109
  Murietta, Joaquin, 78

  National Park Service, 28, 30, 43, 45
  Nebraska, 42, 54, 88
  Needles, The, 33
  Needles Highway, 33-35
  Nevada, 47
  Newcastle (Wyo.), 43
  Niobrara River, 54
  North America, 17, 20, 24, 75
  North Platte River, 2, 64
  Number Ten, 99-100

  Oglala tribe, 49, 52, 65
  O’Harra, Dr. Cleophas, 123
  Omaha (Neb.), 4, 49
  Ordovician Period, 22
  Oregon Trail, 51
  Oregon-California Trail, 2
  Owen Survey, 120

  Paha Sapa (Indian name for Black Hills), 2, 4, 7, 9, 10, 48
  Paleozoic Era, 19
  Passion Play, 72
  Pearson, John, 71-72
  Pierre (S.D.), 2, 6, 51
  Pikes Peak, 58, 62
  Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 40
  Platte River, 50
  Platte River-Oregon Trail, 49
  Platte Valley, 60, 96
  Portland-Independence Mine, 72
  Powder River Valley, 65
  Preacher Smith, 90-91, 104-5
  Princeton University, 122
  Prout, Prof. Hiram, 119-20

  Rapid City (S.D.), 4, 6-7, 11, 13-14, 31, 46, 49
  Rawlins (Wyo.), 109
  Red Cloud (Indian Chief), 52-53
  Reno, Major, 67-68
  Reynolds, Charley, 57
  Rhodes, Eugene Manlove, 18
  Rio Grande Valley, 19
  Robinson, Will, 108
  Rocky Mountains, 1, 3, 15, 34, 37, 50, 62, 96, 116
  Roosevelt, President Theodore, 37, 39
  Rosebud Creek, 65
  Ross, H. N., 55

  St. Joseph (Mo.), 49, 96
  St. Louis (Mo.), 49, 57
  St. Paul (Minn.), 49
  San Arc tribe, 49
  San Francisco (Calif.), 74-75
  Santa Fe Trail, 49
  Santee Sioux, 50
  School of Mines Canyon, 123
  Seventh Cavalry, 110
  Sheridan, General Phil, 56-57
  Sidney (Neb.), 13, 61, 69, 75, 80
  Sidney Short Route, 80
  Silurian Period, 22
  Silver Heels, 112
  Sioux Indians, 7, 61, 63
  Sioux War, 69
  Sitting Bull (Indian Chief), 54, 64, 66-67
  Smith, Rev. Henry. _See_ Preacher Smith
  South Dakota, 2, 4, 13, 30, 36, 44, 93
  Spearfish (S.D.), 6, 11, 13, 48
  Spencer, Joseph, 34
  Springfield (Mo.), 97
  Standing Bear (Indian Chief), 40
  Stanford, Leland, 78
  Sunday Creek, 35
  Sylvan Lake, 33-36, 39

  _Ten Nights in a Barroom_, 103
  Terry, General, 63-64
  Teton Sioux, 2, 49
  Texas Rangers, 79
  Thoen, Louis, 48
  Thunderhead Mountain, 40-41
  _Trial of Jack McCall, The_, 103
  Triassic Period, 24
  Two Kettle tribe, 49

  Union Pacific Railroad, 13, 49, 58, 80
  University of Nebraska, 122
  University of South Dakota, 122
  Unkpapa tribe, 49
  Ussher, Archbishop James, 17
  Utah, 109

  Vale of Minnekahta, 7
  Virginia City (Nev.), 73

  War Department, 59
  Washington (D.C.), 58, 61, 93
  Washington, President George, 37, 39, 91
  Wells Fargo, 74, 83-84
  Wheeler, Edward L., 91
  White, George, 109
  White River, 116
  White River Badlands. _See_ Badlands
  Wild Bill Hickok, 90, 94-97, 100-102, 107-8
  Wind Cave, 23, 27-29, 42-44
  Wind Cave Park, 41
  Witwatersrand, 72
  Wood Lake, battle of, 51
  Wright, Frank Lloyd, 117
  Wyoming, 4, 9, 32, 42, 86

  Yale University, 122
  Yankton (S.D.), 102

  Ziolkowski, Korczak, 40-41, 103


                            THE BLACK HILLS
                          MID-CONTINENT RESORT

From taboo Indian fastness to roaring gold camp to modern resort and
recreation area—so runs the history of the Black Hills, Paha Sapa of the
Indians, which are really not hills at all but mountains, the highest
east of the Rockies. Back through geologic ages the story extends, to
the thunderous time when Nature fashioned the intricate formations of
the Hills and their companion geologic marvel, the Badlands.

Here, in racy and fluent prose, Albert N. Williams has brought the full
sweep of this story to life, from its beginning in the mighty geologic
upheaval that, before the Alps had been formed, thrust the giant spire
of Harney Peak up through the ancient shale, to the present quiet rest
of man-made Sylvan Lake, where it lies peacefully reflecting its great
granite shields for the delight of the traveler.

On the way he tells of the discovery of gold in this “mysterious and
brooding dark mountain-land” just when gold-hungry men had decided that
the bonanza days were gone forever; of the Indian fighting that reached
its tragic climax at the Little Big Horn; of the development of the
Homestake, one of earth’s greatest mines; of the hazardous stage-coach
journeys on which “shotgun messengers” guarded chests of bullion; and,
most fascinating of all, of the amazing personalities—Sam Bass and Wyatt
Earp and Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane and Preacher Smith—who
inhabited the Hills in their gaudiest days or, like Deadwood Dick, lived
a no less vivid life in the pages of dime novels.

If this were all, _The Black Hills_ would be a book for any lover of our
country’s natural glories and thrilling history to pick up and be unable
to lay down again until he had finished it. But other chapters directed
particularly to the tourist make it also a book for the traveler to keep
always with him and to consult at every point in his journey through the
Black Hills. All he needs to know is here—the highways to take into the
Hills, the towns with their historic plays and celebrations, the peaks
and lakes and caves he will find, the sports he may enjoy, the places
where he may stay. A trip so guided cannot fail to be filled with the
excitement the author himself has found in the Black Hills, of which he
says that in his opinion “no other resort area in the United States
possesses such a wealth of tourist attractions.”

Albert N. Williams was for many years a writer for NBC in New York, and
for two years Editor-in-Chief of the English features section of the
Voice of America. He is the author of _Listening_, _Rocky Mountain
Country_, _The Water and the Power_, and numerous short fiction pieces
in national magazines. He is at present Director of Development of the
University of Denver.

    [Illustration: Southern Methodist University Press Logo]

                  Southern Methodist University Press
                            Dallas 5, Texas

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Black Hills, Mid-Continent Resort - American Resort Series No. 4" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.