Nov 10, 2010

Deadwood, South Dakota

Few places I've traveled have been quite like Deadwood. Nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota, this small town made popular by names like Wild Bill and Calamity Jane, is now a tourist hot spot full of casinos and saloons playing up their wild west history. Between the old facades along main street and one or two saw dust floors, it's easy to buy into the experience.

deadwood south dakota main street

It was 2007 when my friend Andrea and I explored the town as part of our road trip to Mount Rushmore. I was vaguely aware of the HBO show Deadwood at the time, but it was actually my visit to the location that sparked my interest in the program and not the other way around.

We wandered down main street stopping at Saloon No. 10, the location where Wild Bill was shot and killed while playing a game of poker. Enjoying a few drinks we viewed all the old photos that lined the walls. They made it easy to picture the time period when Deadwood was just a dusty collection of saloons and brothels and South Dakota was simply the Dakota Territory.


deadwood south dakota

deadwood south dakota saloon 10 wild bill bar
A drink in Saloon No. 10 where Wild Bill was shot.

deadwood south dakota saloon 10 wild bill bar

deadwood south dakota


deadwood south dakota wild bill

It was then up the hill to the Mt. Moriah Cemetery. There we were able to see to the grave sites of Wild Bill and Calamity Jane, as well as enjoy the panoramic view of Deadwood in the valley below. We toured the cemetery with a newsprint map, taking care not to lose our footing along some of the steeply sloped paths.

Deadwood was a slice of history masked with modern tourist traps and Disney-like branding. Still, it was the type of setting that conjured up images of classic westerns, black and white photographs, and legendary gunslingers. There were no road blocks for kicking back and the casual atmosphere made it a blast to explore.
 
mt moriah cemetery deadwood south dakota

wild bill deadwood south dakota

calamity jane deadwood south dakota

wild bill deadwood south dakota

deadwood south dakota


deadwood hbo south dakota
I became hooked on the HBO show once we got back.
mt moriah cemetery deadwood south dakota

deadwood south dakota saloon 10 wild bill bar
deadwood south dakota saloon 10 wild bill bar


2 comments :

South Dakota Office of Tourism said...

Fun post!
Mount Moriah is a very cool place...I love the views. A filmmaker tip - if you ever want to film up at Mt. Moriah, but sure to get there in the morning. The afternoon light makes for lots of shadows and the trees make it look very dark.

-Katlyn Richter
South Dakota Dept. Tourism
www.travelsd.com
www.filmsd.com

Mike G said...

You should check out the Martin Mason Hotel next time you go through Deadwood. It's the closest you can get to an "HBO Deadwood" hotel experience. My wife is a huge fan of the show and raves about this place. Check it out it really cool. Their site is martinmasonhotel.com

Martin Mason Hotel
33 Deadwood St.
Deadwood, SD
57732
605-722-3456