Since your posting, have you located any info on the Dakota goldseekers? I am trying to find out what my Great-grandfather was doing about that time.
The family info says Walter "Bitey" Gould went "out west" from Massachusetts in 1880 aat age 14 and panned for gold, struck it rich, was robbed of all he had, was in a fight and killed a man. He was back in Massachusetts by 1892. I find the whole thing hard to believe, I remember him as a sweet old man, but feisty.
The Homestake Lode in the Black Hills in 1876 sound like news could have leaked back east and tempted a teen-ager by 1880. But no data, much less proof, of where he went "out west".
If you or any of the llisters knows more of any gold-seeking in the 1880's in the Black Hills I would be interested in learning.