Where: Little Big Horn, Montana, USA
When: 1866. The battled lasted for ‘as long as it takes for a hungry man to eat his dinner’.
History: Awesome victory of the Indian tribes united against white gold diggers.
The legendary town of Deadwood near the border with Wyoming is synonymous with the Wild West, and the town where Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickock came to seek their fortunes during the gold mining boom. It is one of the oldest goldmining towns around and you can still find cowboys about town.
During the goldrush the town became massively wealthy. Nowadays most of the large houses have been turned into casinos and hotels. Motels may be cheaper, but at under $50 a night, it’s worth checking into a hotel in town for the authentic Wild West experience.
Gambling was banned in 1905, so the townsfolk made do with betting parlours and brothels for their entertainment. In 1989, around about the same time they closed the last whorehouse, the town voted to bring back gambling, which is as great a part of the Deadwood culture as the Goldrush.
The maximum stake in 1989 was $5, and was raised in 2000 to $100, so it’s a kind of poor man’s Las Vegas. But its not the wins, it’s the history that attracts both tourists and gamblers to Deadwood; the gambling halls are beautifully restored 19th Century monuments of an era of cowboy fantasies. You may not strike gold,but you’ll never leave too poor.
Deadwood is USA largest national preservation project and throughout its colourful history has attracted celebrities, the famous, and infamous like The Sundance Kid, General Custer, Teddy Roosevelt and Calamity Jane. This wild woman rode into town in 1876, bringing with her a fresh shipment of whores from Ceyenne and a notoriety that preceded her. In her tow was her recently wed adulterous lover, Wild Bill Hickock, dashing, brave, and the sharpest shoot in the west.
He was shot just 6 weeks later. The story goes that he was in a gambling joint when a guy by the name of Jack McCauchin came in the door. Wild Bill got up right away and drew his gun. When he saw who it was, he said hello to Jack and put his gun back in his holster and sat down. Jack Mc Cauchin walked around the table took a look at each hand as he went and he came to a stop behind Wild Bill, drew his gun and shot him in the back of his head.
You can still have a drink and a flutter in the seat where Wild Bill placed his last bet at the Old Style Saloon in the heart of town.
Play in the past at Deadwood’s official website.
The Legends and Lore of Deadwood