Will Bill's poker hand of death has been recreated ad infinitum in Deadwood attractions.
Will Bill's poker hand of death has been recreated ad infinitum in Deadwood attractions.

Deadwood: Sin, Gold, Blood

Deadwood, South Dakota

Deadwood is locked in a high-stakes game with Tombstone as the Wild West town with the best Wild West name. Pick your favorite; there are no losing hands here. We've visited many a town that's desperate to find an identity. Deadwood will never have that problem.

Site of Wild Bill's death.

Starting out as a 19th century gold mining boom-and-bust burg, Deadwood now thrives as a 21st century destination thanks to modern casinos and a romantic past of prostitution, opium, whiskey, gambling, gunrunning, and mindless violence. Deadwood's roster of skanky yet colorful drunks, prospectors, and murderers such as Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Poker Alice, and Potato Creek Johnny embody its charm. Darrel Nelson at Deadwood's Adams Museum described Deadwood's early citizens as "people who would be outcasts anywhere else." He also noted that the quickest way to get famous in Deadwood was to shoot somebody else.

Eclectic seating in The Stockade.
Eclectic seating in The Stockade.

Deadwood enjoyed a surge in popularity thanks to an HBO series (2004-06) and a revival movie (2019) but we liked ol' Deadwood even before the TV hoopla, with its quirky museums, casinos, monuments, and graves of Wild West legends. Nestled in the crook of an evergreen-forested gulch, its attractions are easy to take in, running along a road or two through town. Summer evenings feature live Wild West gunfights on Main Street, and the town's historic hotel is haunted.

Deadwood's abundance of dry, fallen timber blessed the town with a name, but cursed it with a wicked combustibility. Its conflagrations were usually met with shrugs by whoever survived, and Deadwood today is still inhabited by gritty survivors, using its casino money to preserve its outlaw charm. The entire town is the second largest historical restoration project in the U.S. (Or so we were told by the owner of the Old Style Saloon No. 10).

Not bad for a place of only 900 people, whose residents are often outnumbered by bikers, Mount Rushmore runaways, and rootin' tootin' tourists.

Gunfighters of Deadwood.
Gunfighters of Deadwood.

Our winning hand of Deadwood attractions includes:

More Quirky Attractions in South Dakota

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in South Dakota.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

August 7, 2020

My Sights

My Sights

Save Cool Vacation Destinations!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

South Dakota Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Desert of Maine, Freeport, Maine (Aug 3-9, 2020)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from RoadsideAmerica.com. Subscribe now!
RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special rates for hotels.

Nearby Hotels: Deadwood, South Dakota

Nightly rates found:

Book Now

 

Favorite Quirky City Sights