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Joe Riggs (second from left) and his boys stand outside the Golden Bucket Saloon and Casino in Wagon Wheel, Wyoming Territory, 1976.[1]

The Golden Bucket Saloon and Casino in Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory, 1976.[2]


01. Maverick, According to Hoyle (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

02. Maverick, The Day They Hanged Bret Maverick (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

03. Maverick, War of the Silver Kings (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

04. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails

Golden Bucket Saloon and Casino


A chain of brace joints operated by Joe Riggs across the West in the 1870s.[1][2]


In late 1870, Bret Maverick traveled with Big Mike McComb into Wagon Wheel, Wyoming Territory.[3] Bret quickly discovered the Golden Bucket in town ran crooked games. Since Big Mike liked the town, Bret considered partnering with him and open a competing gambling hall to give the residents an honest game and put the Golden Bucket out of business.[1] But Bret was still on the hunt for the Tall Man to clear his and Brother Bart's names of murder charges in Texas,[4] so he decided to move on.[1]


In September of 1876, Bret rode with Molly Sharp past Joe Riggs' Golden Bucket Saloon and Casino in Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory, on their way to face Molly's husband, Cliff Sharp.[2] If not for Bret's urgent errand of clearing his name of the robbery and murder charges rightly attributable to Sharp in Hallelujah, he may have looked into the saloon to see if it was as crooked the Wagon Wheel location.[4]


A few weeks later in October,[4] on the riverboat Stonewall Jackson just out of New Orleans, Riggs tried to take a seat at a poker table where Bret was playing. Bret recognized him immediately, called him a cheat to his face and kept him out of the game. Later that night, having lost thousands of dollars to Samantha Crawford in that same poker game, Bret decided he needed to regain his losses. With Riggs and the Golden Bucket fresh in his memory, he offered to partner with Samantha to invest in their own gambling equipment, go back to Wagon Wheel and put Riggs out of business there once and for all, recouping his money along the way.[1]


In Wagon Wheel, Samantha double-crossed Bret, giving the gambling equipment they had bought to George Cross, who in turn gave it to Riggs in exchange for ten percent of the Golden Bucket's profits for the next three years. Still determined to show Riggs for a cheat, Bret confronted Riggs at his own blackjack table and proved to all the customers that Riggs used marked cards, exposing the saloon as a brace joint. In retaliation, the customers smashed the saloon to bits. Joe Riggs, disgraced and out of power in Wagon Wheel, was forced to sell the new gambling equipment to Ma Braus, who hired Big Mike to manage her own honest casino, the Square Deck, which Bret had envisioned all along.[1]


See: According to Hoyle and The Day They Hanged Bret Maverick











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