Bullwacker and Oxen
Photo courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society

     The person who drove the wagons was called a bullwhacker. Some bullwhackers were women. Bullwhackers got their name because they whacked the oxen to keep them moving. The freighters and their wagons brought supplies to the thousands of gold miners in the Black Hills. The supplies first came up the river on steamboats. Then they were put in freight wagons to go over the land. Freighters put food, furniture, and mining tools in their wagons. The trip from Fort Pierre to Deadwood was two hundred miles long. Ox teams pulled the heavy wagons.