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October 3, 2008

Deadwood, South Dakota

I first heard of Deadwood when the HBO show of the same name came out. I started to watch the first one and the swearing horrified me. I think I watched about the first ten minutes before I gave up.

When we decided to visit South Dakota we discussed Deadwood and put it on our itinerary because it sounded interesting. Some people call Deadwood a place where Las Vegas meets the Wild West. There’s certainly lots of history in the town with names like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock attached to it.

Deadwood was named for the dead trees found in the gulch. It started its life as an illegal town because the Treaty of Laramie guaranteed the Lakota people ownership. Discoveries of gold changed that and a town was formed. The town gained notoriety when Wild Bill Hickok was gunned down there, shot in the back by Jack McCall. The entire town was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961.


A view of Deadwood, taken from the hilltop cemetery.


A monument to Wild Bill Hickok who died in Deadwood.


The hilltop cemetery where Wild Bill, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock are buried.




Views of the main street of Deadwood.

A few days after we arrived home we purchased season one of Deadwood. We both really enjoy it. Yes, the swearing does grab attention, but after a while we became used to it. Every time Calamity Jane lets loose and swears we both start laughing. They say the language is true to the time and the story lines are great. I’ve fallen in love with Seth Bullock. If you’d like to learn some of the history of Deadwood, the TV series is a good way to get a taste of the wild west.

Yes, I admit it. I’m a Deadwood fan.

Have you visited Deadwood? Watched the TV show? Are you a fan?


  1. Wylie Kinson

    Very cool post, Shelley. Thanks for the pics and the history lesson.
    I did watch season 1 of Deadwood. It premiered when we were still living in Bermuda. By the time we moved countries and settled, I lost track of it… I should rent the DVDs

    I agree with you on the swearing. It took me a couple of episodes to get used to it. Loved the bad guy – whose name escapes me (haven’t had my coffee yet) and Timothy Oliphant was yummy in that Old West kinda way.

  2. Cheryl Brooks

    Yep, watched a little “f—kin’ Deadwood now and then! Ian McShane? Is that his name?
    Cool town!

  3. Kaye Manro

    These are great photos, Shelley. I haven’t watched Deadwood, but now after hearing about it I think I would enjoy it too.

  4. Crystal-Rain Love

    I have trouble watching HBO shows due to all the every-other-word-cursing (and honey, believe me, I can cuss out anybody) and the gratuitous sex.
    I’m trying to get into True Blood because I know it’s based on romance novels… but you’d never know that, watching the show. I don’t think I’d bother actually paying for a DVD of any HBO series.
    The real Deadwood seems interesting though, and the pictures you posted are awesome. I think I’ll just learn about it via book (-:

  5. Jenyfer Matthews

    I didn’t think I would, but I love love love Deadwood and Seth Bullock? *swoon*

  6. Shelley Munro

    We don’t actually have HBO over here in NZ. We have to wait for the shows to come via our normal TV channels.

    Actually I love the Sookie Stackhouse series and the actress Anna Pacquin is a Kiwi. I can’t wait for this show to get down this way.

    Ian McShane plays the bad guy Al Swearengen and he is a nasty man controlling the town. Anyone who disagrees with him is killed and fed to Mr. Wu’s pigs.

  7. Jane

    I caught a few episodes when it was on HBO. I’m thinking I need to buy the dvd and watch the whole series. The actress who portrayed Calamity Jane was recently on the tv show “Life.”

  8. Shelley Munro

    The character Calamity Jane always makes me laugh. She’s usually swearing or drunk. The lady who plays the character is a great actress.

  9. Nancy Henderson

    I’ve always had an interest in Wild Bill Hickok, and I’d love to visit Deadwood someday.

  10. Shelley Munro

    While we were there in one of the pubs they had a Wild Bill Hickok renactment – a man pretending to be Wild Bill. It was really interesting.

  11. Colleen Love

    I’ve never watched it, but the town looks like the one I live in! :) I love small towns and looking through grave yards. Some very interesting dates, and sad ones too.

    Great post, Shelly!


  12. Barbara Martin

    I have always liked westerns, but alas, I no longer watch any television at home. My free time is spent writing, reading or a little cross-stitch needlework.

    Great post, and the town of Deadwood has some interesting older buildings and so is the tiered cemetery.

  13. Jenyfer Matthews

    We don’t get HBO either – we own Deadwood on DVD. I can drool over Seth any time I like :)

  14. wendy roberts

    Haven’t watched the show but visited the town years and years ago. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  15. Marie-Nicole ryan

    I loved Deadwood! I especially loved the swearing. The juxaposition of iambic pentameter with profanity was mesmerizing. As an Ian McShane fan (formerly of Lovejoy Mysteries), I was furious with HBO when the show was canceled. I’ve never been to the city of Deadwood, but for three years I was a viewew.

  16. Sara Hantz

    My husband LOVES Deadwood. I LOVE the movie Calimity Jane and know every word of dialogue (and song) off by heart!!!!