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01. Deadwood: The Golden Years (1981); Watson Parker, University of Nebraska Press

02. Fort Pierre – Deadwood Trail (1989); Delwin Jensen; The State Publishing Company

03. History of Deadwood, SD; (retrieved July 10, 2015)

04. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails

05. Deadwood, South Dakota; Encyclopedia of the Great Plains (retrieved July 11, 2015)

06. The History and Culture of the Standing Rock Oyate: The Taking of the Black Hills; (retrieved July 11, 2015)

07. Deadwood's Political Star; Deadwood Magazine (retrieved July 11, 2015)

05. Maverick, Stampede (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.



Mining town in Dakota Territory.[1]


Situated in the north of the Black Hills, named for the dead trees found in Deadwood Gulch, where the town was built.[1]


In the summer of 1874, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer's Black Hills Expedition announced the presence of gold in the Black Hills. At the time, the United States was suffering an economic recession brought on by the Panic of 1873 and the news precipitated the Black Hills Gold Rush.[1]


The 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie had ceded the Black Hills and much of southwest Dakota Territory to the Sioux, outlawing the intrusion of white settlers. The thousands of gold-seekers suddenly pouring into the area made it difficult for the U. S. Army to enforce the treaty.[2]


In the late summer of 1875, gold was being illegally mined in Deadwood Gulch. By January of 1876, tens of thousands of dollars in gold dust had been mined and the rush into the area was fierce. By March, six hundred miners were staking and working claims.[1]


The town was officially laid out in April of 1876, growing so quickly that, by May, dance halls, saloons, gambling houses and brothels had become permanent structures along both sides of lower Main Street.[3]


About the time of the publication of Deadwood's first newspaper, the Black Hills Pioneer, on June  8,[3] Tony Cadiz and his wife, Coral Stacey, arrived in town and established their Golden Nugget Saloon in a tent. Madame Pompey, also new in town and looking for a profitable establishment in which to run her stable of female entertainers, arranged with Cadiz that month to use his Golden Nugget as her base of operations. The additional profits allowed Cadiz to expand quickly and by July 4, 1876, the Golden Nugget moved into its permanent home on Main Street.[4]


On July 12, a wagon train from Colorado arrived carrying "Wild Bill" Hickok and Calamity Jane. In a poker game at Saloon No. 10 on August 2, Hickok — holding the famous "dead man's hand" of aces and eights — was shot from behind and killed by Jack McCall.[4]


Aside from mining and those establishments catering to miners' vices, legitimate business was booming in Deadwood. In August, the Gannet Express Company, operating out of Grand Ile, established its Deadwood office,[4] and the Bonanza Hotel opened its doors while Seth Bullock and Sol Star opened Star and Bullock Hardware.[3]


Even though Deadwood was built illegally on Sioux land, the gold rush was so overwhelming that the Army had ceased any attempts to enforce the Treaty with the Indians. The town's first charter was drawn up in October. On December 1, the first telegraph lines reached town.[3]


ABOVE: Deadwood, 1876.[5]


With the country still in an economic depression, the U. S. government saw the booming Black Hills as a blessing, but the treaty with the troublesome Sioux was a sticking point. Partially in retribution for Great Sioux War of 1876 and the Battle of Little Bighorn, Washington found justification in passing the Act of February 28, 1877, taking back the western portion of Dakota Territory from the Indians, including all of the Black Hills. As of that date, Deadwood became an official part of the United States.[6] As such, the town was awarded it's first post office on April 10.[7]




Stampede: In May of 1877,[3] Bret Maverick and Dandy Jim Buckley visited Deadwood with Noah Perkins, whom they had recruited to challenge Tony Cadiz's standing offer of two-to-one odds against Battling Kreuger in a boxing competition at the Golden Nugget Saloon.[4]

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