BTW, the outcome of my search, I ended up buying a 1996 Ram 2500 with a V10, ext cab longbed 4x4.
Having previously towed with a V8 version of that, I was comfortable with it. Also, I end up working my trucks pretty hard doing, we are building a new house, and I had 3000+ lbs in the old truck pretty regularly.
So, I have that, and a Honda civic daily driver.
But I agree. Locally, the Dakota can and will work. Two of our club members have used them plenty of times.
Its when you look at, say, kentucky as mentioned, well, those are some BIG hills. So if you are planning that type of thing, then having some weight and bigger brakes goes a long way.