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On Aug. 2, 1876, Wild Bill Hickok was playing poker at Deadwood's Saloon No. 10 when he made a fatal mistake. Hickok sat in a chair with his back to the door so the notorious gunslinger didn't see the shot that got him from a drifter by the name of Jack McCall. When Wild Bill slumped forward, his lifeless hands held black aces and eights, forever known as Dead Man's Hand.

Today, Hickok's death and the trial of his killer are reenacted daily for summer visitors to the infamous Black Hills town of Deadwood. Spilling into a narrow gulch with many homes clutching steep sides of the canyon, Deadwood was a boomtown during the gold ...

On Aug. 2, 1876, Wild Bill Hickok was playing poker at Deadwood's Saloon No. 10 when he made a fatal mistake. Hickok sat in a chair with his back to the door so the notorious gunslinger didn't see the shot that got him from a drifter by the name of Jack McCall. When Wild Bill slumped forward, his lifeless hands held black aces and eights, forever known as Dead Man's Hand.

Today, Hickok's death and the trial of his killer are reenacted daily for summer visitors to the infamous Black Hills town of Deadwood. Spilling into a narrow gulch with many homes clutching steep sides of the canyon, Deadwood was a boomtown during the gold rush. Taking its name from its numerous dead trees, Deadwood boasted a creek full of gold and a place that played by its own rules. Legends lived and died here. Mount Moriah Cemetery, high above Deadwood, is the final resting place for many of them, including Hickok and the woman who loved him, Calamity Jane, buried next to him.

Since legalizing gambling in November 1989, Deadwood has sunk a fortune into restoring its legacy. The whole town is now a National Historic District with vintage hotels, brick paving, old-timey streetlights and Wild West casinos galore, even the Old Style Saloon No. 10 boasting "the only museum in the world with a bar."

Jackie Finch
About the Expert

Jackie Sheckler Finch has written several guidebooks, including The Unofficial Guide to Campgrounds in the Great Lakes States, and four times she was named Travel Writer of the Year by Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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Jackie Finch for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June for Deadwood's annual Wild Bill Days celebration with fast draw championships, Wild West reenactors and free concerts