Image #248 – South Dakota

Downtown Deadwood today

Downtown Deadwood today

Okay, quick! What’s the first thing you think of when someone says, “South Dakota”?  Deadwood?  Well, maybe so if you are an HBO enthusiast… or a weekend gambler … or part of a motorcycle club.

As fate would have it I have been staying in Deadwood for the past three nights, using it as a base to visit Devil’s Tower (in NE Wyoming) and the Mount Rushmore area.  I am a fan of the “Deadwood” series on HBO and while I did not purposefully set out to stay in Deadwood because of that, it was kind of fun to see the site of the Gem Saloon, the Bullock Hardware store and more. The “Deadwood” series was, sadly, short-lived. It ran three seasons and portrayed, at least somewhat accurately, the founding and early years of Deadwood, the town. Surely Deadwood’s greatest claim to fame is the fact that Wild Bill Hickcock was murdered here, shot in the back while playing cards.  It is commemorated to this day and referenced throughout the town.

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For anyone who followed the series “Deadwood” you will undoubtedly remember the raw portrayal of a wild west town. The street scenes were particularly vivid with dozens of extras who all seemed to have some commonality — a sad sense of urgency, a mild degree of paranoia, and a taste for the “earthier” things in life.  Remarkably many of those characters still seem to be here, dressed in more modern clothing but with the same look.  Deadwood is mainly a gambling town, with casinos in every storefront.  We arrived on Saturday and the town was in full swing. It was packed and while many did seem to be enjoying themselves there were many others who were exceptionally sad. Sunday morning brought an exodus and new peace.  Families replaced the gamblers and the town resembled a Disney theme park.  All in all a curious place to be…another part of the adventure.  ❧

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