June 7, 2021

History on the Lawn: Horse Thieves and Cattle Rustlers: Vigilante “Justice” in the Black Hills

DEADWOOD – Deadwood History, Inc. and the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission will host a presentation by Wayne Gilbert at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, June 18, 2021, at the Historic Adams House, 22 Van Buren Street, Deadwood. The lecture is free to Deadwood History members and $5 for non-members. Please feel free to bring your lunch and a lawn chair. For more information call 605-722-4800. In case of inclement weather, the lecture will be moved to the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center (HARCC), 150 Sherman Street, Deadwood.

Wayne Gilbert will discuss Black Hills vigilantes and their victims. There were relatively few actual vigilante lynchings in the Black Hills during frontier days and each one comes with an interesting back story. Starting with the infamous incident at “Hangman’s Hill” in Rapid City and continuing to the lynchings at “Fiddler’s Tree” in Sturgis, Wayne Gilbert’s presentation will provide interesting details about the actions of the vigilance committees in the Black Hills and the consequences of those actions. In some cases, clues as to the membership of those committees will be offered.

Wayne Gilbert is a local historian who recently retired from legal research and investigation. After spending nearly forty years in Rapid City, he returned to his home town of Belle Fourche. Gilbert is a member of the board of directors of the West River History Conference, a South Dakota Humanities Scholar, and a life member of the Society of Black Hills Pioneers. He has portrayed Rapid City founder John Brennan and other historical figures. Gilbert’s other presentations include: Crow Dog, Incident at Lightning Creek, The Disappearance of Fossil Cycad National Park, Water Wars, and South Dakota’s own “Hoosiers” or the story of the undefeated State A Belle Fourche High School Basketball team of 1957. He continues to try to get to the bottom of the legendary Ghost of Redwater Hill.

Preservation Thursday is co-sponsored by the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, Adams-Mastrovich Family Foundation, Deadwood History, Deadwood Chamber & Visitors Bureau, and Saloon No. 10.


We inspire the global community by preserving and celebrating the cultural heritage of Deadwood and the Black Hills in the context of the American West through exceptional exhibits, innovative educational programs, and access to extensive collections in unique settings.

Adams Museum, Days of ‘76 Museum, Historic Adams House, Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center (HARCC), and The Brothel Deadwood.