Dakota Land

DESCRIPTION: "We've reached the land of desert sweet Where nothing grows for man to eat." "O Dakota land, sweet Dakota land, As on thy fiery soil I stand, I look across the plains And wonder why it never rains." Settlers stay only because "we are too poor to get away"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1891 (a "Nebraska Land" version in The Farmer and Labor Songster, according to Cohen)
KEYWORDS: pioneer hardtimes parody
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Sandburg, pp. 280-281, "Dakota Land" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fife-Cowboy/West 23, "Dakota Land" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Ohrlin-HBT 9, "Dakota Land" (1 text, 1 tune)
LPound-ABS, 86, p. 185, "Dakota Land" (1 text)
Cohen-AFS2, pp. 477-478, "Dakota Land" (1 text); p. 623, "Quincyland, My Quincyland" (1 text, a rewrite but still too close to "Dakota Land to bother splitting); pp. 491-492, "Nebraska Land" (1 text, patently the same as "Dakota Land" except for a change in the name of the stae)
Welsch, pp. 48-49, "Nebraska Land" (1 text)
Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 155, "Dakotaland" (1 text, tune referenced); pp. 248-249, "Sweet Dakotaland" (1 text, 1 tune, perhaps a parody of this parody!)
Silber-FSWB, p. 119, "Dakota Land" (1 text)

Roud #4899
cf. "Beulah Land" (tune)
cf. "Prairie Land" (tune, theme, lyrics)
cf. "Saskatchewan" (tune, theme)
cf. "Webfoot Land" (tune, theme)
NOTES [137 words]: Although the "Dakota Land" form seems to be the most common in tradition, local versions have sprouted for much of the West. Thus the Fifes lists texts for "Dakota Land," "Nebraska Land," and "Missouri Land." "Saskatchewan" also follows this form, but it has been adapted enough that I think it qualifies as a separate song. - RBW
The Pankakes report this to the tune of "O Tannenbaum." Based on the sheet music I've seen, this is common but not universal.
Rose Wilder Lane (daughter of Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder) quotes a stanza of this on p. 6 of Laura Ingalls WIlder, On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894, Harper & Row, 1962; she claims her mother and her aunt Grace sang it in the early 1890s -- but of course she was writing almost seventy years later. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
File: San280

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.