The South Dakota Badlands seldom fails to stir a sense of wonder to those who encounter its surreal landscape for the first time. From a distance, the eroded formations look like the ruins of an alabaster city, but upon closer inspection, the sculptured terrain appears rough and rugged.
Within these pages of historic photographs, the remarkable story of the Badlands unfolds. After the process of geological changes, Indians came to the Badlands on seasonal hunting trips. In the mid 1800s, fur traders, fossil hunters, and freight haulers passed through to places more hospitable. Cattlemen and homesteaders arrived in the 1890s, intent on staying, but most gave up and left. To preserve its grandeur, Congressman Peter Norbeck and his associate Ben Millard worked for many years to set aside thousands of acres of the unyielding land for a national monument in 1939. The Badlands became a national park in 1978.