In late March, 1977, in the midst of mocking jabs at the televised Nixon interviews, the U.S. Postal service, and genetic engineering, Chicago Tribune cartoonist Wayne Stayskal fired off one quick frame on the plight of newly elected President Jimmy Carter's hometown of Plains, Georgia. The cartoon presented a group of typically chunky, grinning Stayskal characters awkwardly bumping along with a pack of hounds before a solitary wooden shanty labeled “PLAINS.” As they jog along, the guide looks back from his straining hounds to drawl, “Hot dang… th'ar on Billy's trail ag'in folks!” Stayskal's cartoon clearly stemmed from a front page article in the Tribune of the previous day. Entitled “Tourists, Fear Rout Billy Out of Plains,” the story explained how fear for his family's safety in the suddenly popular small town had finally forced Billy Carter to move to an even more remote location several miles away. Yet while this was quite obviously the impetus behind this cartoon, the short notice of Billy's intended retreat from Plains was actually just one of many media references to the changing character of the town in the wake of his older brother's victories at the polls. Beginning in the spring of the previous year as Jimmy Carter suddenly emerged to gain the Democratic presidential nomination, Plains had risen just as rapidly to become the most famous small town in America. And at the peak of its early notoriety in 1977, Roger Brown characterized what this really meant for the town in a complex painting entitled Two Couples Viewing the Spectacle of Erosion at Providence Canyon Near Plains, Georgia (figure 1).