A friend leafs through Pioneer Years in the Black Hills, an edited version of fortune-seeker Richard B. Hughes's diary account of the White invasion of the Black Hills. Hughes had trouble finding gold, but he had no trouble finding a pest that today provokes Republicans to cries for vast government spending:

“On the eighteenth [of May, 1876] we continued down Spearfish Canyon, through a huge ‘deadening’ where the trail was made difficult by the dead trees encumbering the ground and lying in all positions. Many such deadfalls were found in the Hills, giving rise to various surmises as to their cause. Deadwood derived its name from the fact that the stream for a part of its course flowed through such a deadening.”

Hughes added this footnote to the passage: “Later scientific investigation has made it pretty certain that this timber was destroyed by the pine beetle in periodic visits long ago, as within a few years past the timber of the Hills has suffered severely from such a visitation” [Richard B. Hughes, Pioneer Years in the Black Hills, A.H. Clark Company, 1957].

Just think: that little pest gave Deadwood its name. And that little pest is a frequent natural visitor to the Black Hills, a visitor we are now determined to eradicate.