Deadwood Part 1

Today’s drive brings us to the badlands of Deadwood, South Dakota.

Our first stop was the Tatanka Museum to learn about the sacredness of the Buffalo to the Indians. The Museum was dedicated by Kevin Costner, Dances With Wolves. The Indians thought as the buffalo as a sacred animal, it provided them with food, clothing, and weapons, it also played a central role in their spiritual life. It was a strong powerful animal that spirituality could help protect them.

The buffalo almost became extinct because poachers were killing the buffalo to sell their bones for grinding up for fertilizer. The tongue was a delicacy, while a buffalo hide could be traded for a cup of whiskey.

Buffalo bones

We saw Kevin Costner’s costume and a wonderful statue of the buffalo running off the cliffs in Dances with Wolves.

Next we went to Deadwood’s Boot Hill, Mount Moriah where Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Sheriff Seth Bullock are buried.

Wild Bill Hickok
Sheriff Seth Bullock

Our hotel is the Bullock Hotel, built by Sheriff Seth Bullock. It was rebuilt in 1895. In 1892 the town of Deadwood burned completely down and then in 1894 it was destroyed by floods. Today it really makes you feel as if you are in a old western hotel. The rooms are squared off with high ceilings and tall wooden doors.

We decided to do a ghost tour of the old Fairmont hotel. During its day, it was a hotel, bar, gambling hall, and brothel.

Prostitution came to be because of the civil war. There were so many men killed in the war, that it left a lot of widows. As the men in the military moved around they would find women to be with. After the war, the women had to find a way to make a living, thus prostitution began.

We learned that the term cathouse originated in Deadwood. The owner of the brothel had a problem with rats and decided to get cats to help with her problem. She got a cat for every room. The girls had to tend to the cats. Well, prostitution was illegal, and when the cats took care of her problem the men started to lineup to come to her business. There were 20,000 men in Deadwood and about 200 prostitutes. When asked if she was running a brothel, she said she had a cathouse and she had a cat in every room with a girl to take care of the cats. The sheriff said well there ain’t no law against having a cathouse so that’s how the term cathouse came to be. The owners of the brothel also were know to make a payoff of $100 a month to keep their business open.

On the ghost tour, at the Fairmont Hotel, there were some brutal murders in the brothel and gambling hall. The hotel is considered haunted and has had some paranormal reports where they have had tv-shows investigators at the hotel.

Deadwood’s main street is about 8 blocks long and when Sheriff Seth Bullock came to town, he physically took his boot and drew a line across main street designating the lower 2 1/2 blocks as uncontrollable and if you were in those 2 1/2 blocks then you need not look for his help. In those 2 1/2 blocks there were 88 gambling halls, brothels, and bars. These 2 1/2 blocks became known as the Badlands.

A look down main street today

Deadwood is a western town, where the famous Wild Bill Hickok was shot from behind while playing cards at the old No. 10 Saloon. Wild Bill normally likes to set in the back of old saloon No. 10 facing the door, but on this night there was only one seat available in the saloon with his back facing the door. Jack McCall entered the saloon and raised his pistol and killed Wild Bill Hickok. They never knew why he killed Wild Bill, but 2 days later Jack McCall was convicted and hung to death. Wild Bill was holding 2 black Aces, and 2 black eights. Today it is considered a deadman’s hand.

We finished our night off at the Ole No. 10 saloon where we ordered a whiskey to toast our trip. You have to order Whiskey when you are in a western saloon?

Some notable famous westerners to stay in Deadwood were Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Wyatt Earp came with intentions to be sheriff, but when he arrived the job was already given to Seth Bullock.

I am sleeping with our door locked and a gun under my pillow and a knife on the nightstand. Haha Tomorrow look for more adventures of Deadwood.


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