Dead man's hand
In 1876 "Wild Bill" Hickok, a legendary gunfighter, was shot in the back of his head while he was playing poker. Legend has it that Hickok was unable to find a seat in the parlor where his back would be against a wall, thus preventing any sneak attacks from behind. As a result he sat with his back to the door and was later killed by Jack McCall. Legend has it that Wild Bill's hand when he was murdered was a pair of aces and eights, a hand that has become known as the Dead man's hand due to Hickok's unfortunate luck. The fifth card is a matter of debate, with some people claiming that it had not been dealt or that it was possibly a five or nine of diamonds.
In 1874, famed Army commander George Custer led an expedition into the area and announced that he and his men had discovered gold nearby, in what is today Custer, South Dakota. Two years later brothers Charlie and Steve Utter led a wagon train into Deadwood containing essential business supplies - prostitutes and cards - which led to a boost in industries such as booze, gambling parlors, and brothels. During this time notorious gunfighter "Wild Bill" Hickok helped the Utter brothers by scouting out any troubles the train might encounter. That same year "Wild Bill" was shot in the head while playing poker at the Saloon No. 10. His killer, "the coward Jack McCall", was captured, tried by a group of miners, freed, re-captured, re-tried by a court, and hanged. Legal proceedings have, thankfully, grown somewhat more standardized in the years since that famous crime.
Another legendary event was the Horsemeat March of 1876, in which General Cook led an expedition pursuing a band of Sioux natives fleeing the site of Custer's last stand, the Battle of Little Bighorn. General Cook and his men set off in pursuit with reduced rations in order to give a quicker chase, but they did not predict that the Sioux would burn the grass behind them. As a result, both the horses and the men had no food and the men eventually were forced to shoot their own horses for food.
Two major fires struck the town in the late 19th century. In 1879, nearly the entire town burned to the ground, including the popular brothel known as the Gem Theater. The owner, Al Swearengen, rebuilt the Gem bigger and more extravagantly than its predecessor. The town lost many of its residents, itinerant miners whose only possessions were destroyed in the fire, but Deadwood eventually recovered. Swearengen's command of vice led him into conflict with Sheriff Seth Bullock, a stern Western lawman and another of the town's earliest residents. The town began to flourish again, but was devastated once more by fire in 1894. Sheriff Bullock and some of the other residents stayed and rebuilt even stronger than before, but this time, Swearengen left town. He was last seen as a penniless drunk, killed while trying to catch a train to Colorado.
The town's storied history was the inspiration for the HBO hit TV series Deadwood, which centered around Bullock, Swearengen, and the struggles of Deadwood to rise from a lawless miners' camp to a community and a civilization. The show incorporates many of the town's early residents and events including the depiction of a man who survived for half-an-hour after being shot in the head by a prostitute.
In 1989, Deadwood legalized gambling, making it the third place in the United States to legalize gambling after Atlantic City and the state of Nevada, albeit at more limited stakes than its predecessors.
Keep in mind that despite its high aspirations, Deadwood is still a very small town (fewer than 2,000 people) in a sparsely populated area.
Deadwood lies 42 miles northwest of Rapid City on US Route 14A. If you're driving from Rapid City you'll need to follow I-90 to Sturgis and merge onto US Route 14A West and drive for 12 miles before arriving in Deadwood.
If you're coming from Wyoming on I-90, take exit 17 towards Deadwood and drive for 8 miles to get into town.
Deadwood and the Black Hills area are best traveled by car (or horse), but Airport Express (605-399-9999), Discovery Tours (1-888-524-5655) and Dakota Taxi (605-920-2020) can provide transportation from the Rapid City airport.
- Prairie Hills Transit. Offers 1 way and round trip transportation to and from Rapid City for $15 1 way and $22 R/T
Most of the restaurants, hotels, shops and sights are located on Main Street, within easy reach of each other on foot (save for snowstorms). Free parking is available in the lot on Sherman Street which is a few blocks from main street, but there is metered parking scattered throughout most of the town as well. There is also a parking garage near main street. A trolley service runs Sunday-Thursday 7AM to 1:30AM and Friday & Saturday 7AM to 3AM for most of the year, but Sunday-Thursday hours are reduced to 8AM to 12:00 midnight during the winter. The cost is very cheap at $1 per ride.
The Visitors Bureau (767 Main Street, +1-800-999-1876) has maps and the usual array of tour brochures. They're also available at the History and Information Center on Sherman Street.
Driving in Deadwood is fairly easy, as the streets are lightly trafficked and all of the sights are either on Main Street or clearly marked. Deadwood winters can be very severe, however, so if you want to rent a car in the winter months (Late September-Late April, with snow still being possible as late as May and even June) be sure it can get around.
Rushmore Segway offers guided, 90-minute Segway tours of the town. The tour office is located at the Days of '76 Rodeo grounds.
- 1 Adams House Museum, 22 Van Buren Ave, ☏ . Daily 9AM-5PM. Built by the Franklins, this Queen-Anne styled mansion is nearly perfectly preserved since being purchased by W.E. Adams. Tours are about half an hour. $5.
- Adams Museum, 54 Sherman St, ☏ . Summer (May 1 - September 30): daily 9AM to 5PM. Winter hours (October 1 - April 30): Tu-Sa 10AM to 4PM During the winter the museum is closed Sundays, Mondays and winter holidays. Free admission, however a $3 per adult, $2 per child is encouraged.
- 2 Mount Moriah Cemetery, ☏ . Memorial Day to mid-October: 8AM-6PM. Overlooking the town from a steep hill to the north, Mount Moriah offers remarkable views of the area and the entire town, as well as the graves of Wild Bill, Calamity Jane and a few lesser-known luminaries from the Old West. (Seth Bullock's grave lies on a hill above the rest, a quiet ten minute climb away.) It is a well-kept cemetery with a beautiful cover of trees. Mount Moriah can be reached on foot from the town, although it's a steep climb. Maps are available at the gate. $2.
- Celebrity Memorabilia, 629 Main St (Located in the Celebrity Hotel & Casino), ☏ . This museum has collected celebrity memorabilia including movie props, musical instruments, and a few cars. Free admission.
- Tatanka: Story of the Bison, Highway 85 (One mile north of Deadwood), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. May 15 - September 30: 9AM - 5PM. Tatanka explores the history of the North American buffalo, which at one time had a population in excess of 30 million, but by the close of the 19th century the bison population was estimated at only 1,000. Daily passes: senior (65+) $6.50; adult (12+ years) $12; child (6-12 years) $5; children (5 years and under) free.
- Days of '76 Museum, 18 Seventy Six Drive, ☏ . The museum honors Deadwood's pioneers and the "Days of '76" rodeo and parade held in Deadwood since 1924. Adults $6, children 7-13 $3, children 6 & under free.
- Broken Boot Gold Mine, Upper Main Street, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Memorial Day weekend-Labor Day: 8AM-6PM.
- Historic Ghost Tour (Historic Bullock Hotel), 633 Main St. Participate in this famous historic Ghost Tour hosted by costumed reenactors portraying Sheriff Seth Bullock or his wife, Martha. $5.
- Madam Henrico Fortune Telling (Miss Kitty's Casino), 649 Main St. Friday & Saturday evenings. Experience an historical reenactment of Madam Henrico Livingstone, Deadwood Gulch's first female clairvoyant, card reader and fortune teller. Free.
- Deadwood Recreation and Aquatic Center, 105 Sherman St., ☏ .
Many of the hotels, bars and restaurants offer gambling, although that may range from a row of slot machines to private poker and blackjack rooms, depending on the quality of the establishment. Most casinos also offer free food and drinks so long as you're gambling (or at least looking like you are).
- First Gold Hotel & Gaming, 270 Main St, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. This gaming establishment sits right at the entrance of Deadwood. With 300 slot machines and four table games, this casino is the place to gamble. Friendly staff is on hand around the clock to assist you and even educate on new games that have come out. When you are finished with gaming you can grab a bite to eat at either the buffet or the First Gold Deli.
- Deadwood Gulch Gaming Resort, 304 Cliff on Hwy 85 South, toll-free: . Tucked back in the trees, this in town resort/casino has an out of town feel. It's known for its hospitality, up to date gaming, and great food.
- Midnight Star, 677 Main St, ☏ . One of Deadwood's casinos, but this one is notable for being owned by Kevin Costner, whose film memorabilia line the walls.
- Silverado Franklin Historic Hotel & Gaming Complex, 709 Main St, toll-free: . The Silverado owns the Franklin Hotel, making it one of the largest full-service gaming establishments in Deadwood.
- 1 Old Style Saloon No. 10's, 657 Main St, ☏ . Daily 11AM-1AM. Named for the establishment where Wild Bill was murdered. It's one block south of the actual location. There are signs noting where Wild Bill was actually shot and were they captured the hook-nosed assassin Jack McCall.
- Hickok's Casino, 685 Main St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Celebrity Casino, 629 Main St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 24 hours. This Casino is popular for its displays of authentic movie props, celebrity instruments and famous automobiles.
- Gold Dust, 688 Main St, ☏ , toll-free: . Daily 24 hours. The Gold Dust is one of the larger establishments in Deadwood, Spanning 8 rooms over two properties. The Gold Dust also operates the Holiday Inn Express.
- Deadwood Gift Shoppe, 666 Main St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Sells clothing, jewelry, souveniors and other goods made in South Dakota.
- Chubby Chipmunk Hand Dipped Chocolates, 420 Cliff St, ☏ . Handmade chocolates by Mary "Chip" Tautkus who has been inventing and making truffles for years.
- Deadwood Tobacco Co, Basement of 828 Main, ☏ . Noon-midnight, closed Tuesdays. A good selection of high quality tobacco products and a well stocked bar. The cigar humidor is the largest in South Dakota, with many hard to find cigars. They have live music most weekends and are the only bar in town without any gambling.
- Miners Den Steakhouse, 681 Main St (At the end of Deadwood Main across the street from the Gold Dust), ☏ . 4PM-10PM. The Miners Den Steakhouse offers great food, a relaxing atmosphere and a friendly and helpful staff. The menus items range from appetizers and salads to seafood and steak. There is a great childrens menu for kids,a 10% senior discount for people 55 and over, and cheap beer. The domestic bottles are $1.75, 12-oz drafts $1.50 and 22-oz drafts $2.50. Menu prices range from $6-26.
- Best Western Hickok House, 137 Charles St, ☏ . The Hickhok house offers amazing food. They have breakfast, lunch and dinner. They do however specialize in breakfast. They have an awesome country fried steak that comes with hashbrowns, toast and eggs for only $8.99! The staff is friendly and the place seems very clean.
- Chic-a-Doodles, 68 Main St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- Deadwood Gulch Gaming Resort - Creekside Restaurant, Highway 85 South, ☏ . Creek-side resort, restaurant, casinos, and convention center, with plenty of parking
- Deadwood Social Club, 657 Main St, ☏ , toll-free: . Deadwood's finest Italian Steakhouse specializing in handcrafted Mediterranean cuisine.
- Diamond Lil's, 677 Main St.
- Jakes: Fine Dining, 677 Main St, ☏ . 5-10PM.
- Main Street Deli & Coffees, 594 Main St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Miss Kitty's Cantina, 649 Main St, ☏ . Mexican specialties and great American dishes, too! Call to carry out.
- Consuelos, 649 Main St.
- Mustang Sally's, 634 Main St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Open late. Outdoor Main Street dining. Sports bar and grill. Best burgers in town.
- Oyster Bay Restaurant, 626 Main St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. As seen on HBO, the History Channel Discovery Channel and Travel Channel- the world famous Oyster Bay Bar. Italian seafood restaurant and casino, not Featuring a Japanese Sushi Kiosk
- Silverado Grand Buffet, 709 Main St, ☏ . Stay, play and dine at Deadwood's best! Live poker, blackjack and large variety of slot machines. Prime and Crab on Friday and Saturday nights.
- Taco Johns, 90 Charles St, ☏ .
- Tin Lizzie Casino and Restaurant, 555 Main St, toll-free: , fax: . Enjoy the 1/2 pound Angus Lizzie Burger or any of the other menu items priced at $8 or less.
- Oggies Sports Bar and Emporium, 100 Pine Crest Ln, toll-free: . Oggies was designed for service and fun. They offer competitve spirits with pool tables and darts. For the sports nuts they have 10 large high-definition flat screen televisions always tuned in for non stop sports.
- The Deadwood Grille, 100 Pine Crest Ln (The Lodge at Deadwood), toll-free: . Contemporary casual with a chef-inspired Northern Black Hills cuisine, The Grille is open for breakfast and dinner, 7 days a week. More than just a restaurant, the Deadwood Grille is a celebration of intriguing food, thoughtful wine and cocktails, in inviting, yet elegant surroundings. Menu selections, daily features and private label wines available. Serving Breakfast and Dinner daily.
- Boondock's Diner & Amusement, 21559 US HWY 385, ☏ . Vintage diner, automobiles, rides, costumed photos, Studebaker museum all circa 1950s. 9 miles south of Deadwood on Highway 385.
- FLYT Steakhouse by Apline Inn (Cadillac Jacks), 360 Main St, ☏ . Many delectable menu items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try a flyt of small plate creations.
- Buffalo Steakhouse (Buffalo Bodega), 658 Main St, ☏ .
- Bully's (Historic Bullock Hotel), 649 Main St, ☏ . Intimate fireside dining with steak, seafood, and pasta specials. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Aught Six Grille (Deadwood Mountain Grand), 1906 Deadwood Mountain Dr, toll-free: . Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner with creek side dining available.
- Gem Steakhouse & Saloon (Mineral Palace), 601 Main St, toll-free: . Specializing in hand-cut Angus Steak. Full service lounge. Open daily fr breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- [dead link] Gold Dust Restaurant, 688 Historic Main St, toll-free: . Lunch and dinner buffet every day, homemade salads and desserts. "Prime and Crab" Friday and Saturday nights.
- Lee Street Station Cafe, 9 Lee St (corner of Sherman and Lee St in the Wooden Nickel Casino), ☏ . The "best" breakfast and great lunches in Deadwood provided by Tami! Hamburgers, sandwiches, homemade soups and daily specials. Family and local favorite! Open daily from 7AM to 2PM.
- The Pub N Grub, 21399 US HWY (SteelWheel Campground), ☏ . Open breakfast, lunch and supper. Great food and great price.
- Buffalo Bodega Complex, 658 Main St. Bodega often features crowd drawing activities such as karaoke.
Every Casino in Deadwood serves alcohol, as well as many of the restaurants. The following are the places primarily frequented for their nightlife.
- 1 Old Style Saloon # 10, 657 Main St, ☏ . The Saloon number ten features a 40-foot long Brunswick bar. The walls are adorned with historical artifacts and oddities, and there is always fresh sawdust on the floor.
- Oggies Sports Bar and Emporium, 100 Pine Crest Ln (The Lodge at Deadwood), toll-free: . Oggies was designed for service and fun. They offer competitve spirits with pool tables and darts. For the sports nuts they have 10 large high-definition flat screen televisions always tuned in for non stop sports.
- Barefoot Resort, 21111 Barefoot Loop Lead, SD 57754 (Outside of Lead on Nevada Gulch Road going towards Terry Peak Ski Area.), toll-free: . This resort has two pools, three hot tubs, two exercise rooms, saunas, and a sports court for basketball tennis, and volleyball. This resort offers hotel rooms and condominiums. With timeshare options available. This resort is owned by RCI and a RCI memberships are available for added benefits.
- Cadillac Jack's Gaming Resort, 360 Main St, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. All rooms include in-room coffee, microwaves, refrigerators, safes, HBO, and High Speed Wireless Internet access. Enjoy the indoor pool, hot tub, steam room, guest laundry, and free parking during your stay. Brown Rock Sports Cafe offers a breakfast buffet, lunch, and dinner daily.
- Deadwood Gulch Gaming Resort, 304 Cliff on Hwy 85 South, toll-free: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Nessled in the pines beside Whitewood Creek, just one mile from Main Street. Deadwood Trolley service from our front door. Convention facilities available. Range from $39 to $169, depending on the season and room.
- Lodge at Deadwood, 100 Pine Crest, toll-free: . The Lodge at Deadwood is one of the newer hotel and casinos. It offers 270 different slot machines, 12 card tables on the main floor and the Rounders Poker Room. It is recommended casino participants take part in the Club 76 priority membership. Random drawings and rewards are only given to those who are using their rewards cards. They also offer a variety of packages throughout the year to those wanting more than just a hotel room.
- Celebrity Hotel, 629 Main St, toll-free: . Has a Hollywood theme. starting at $100.
- Black Hills Inn & Suites, 206 Mountain Shadow Ln (Highway 385 South), ☏ . $40-110 per night depending on time of the year.
- First Gold Hotel & Gaming, 270 Main St, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: Noon. $49 - 129 per night depending on day and time of the year.
- Holiday Inn Express, 22 Lee St, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Located right in the middle of Main Street, within easy walking distance of all the other locations on Main. $59-169, depending on the season.
- 1 Bullock Hotel, 633 Main St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. This sandstone giant was built in 1895. Legend has it the ghost of Deadwood's legendary sheriff haunts the hotel, possibly annoyed at the rooms of slot machines on the first floor. $110 per night.
- Cedar Wood Inn, 103 Charles St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- Iron Horse Inn, 27 Deadwood St, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Located in the Railroad district,it is one block from the center of downtown, but far enough away from the larger noisy casinos on mainstreet. Located next to the historic railroad station. $90 per night.
- Cole's Cabin, 21357 US 385 (Located five miles south of Deadwood on Highway 385), ☏ . One bedroom cabin: $125 per night + tax. Two bedroom cabin: $165 per night + tax.
- Butch Cassidy & Sundance Kid, 57 Sherman St, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. $100 - 250 per night.
- Silverado Franklin Hotel, 700 Main St, ☏ , toll-free: . Many notable guests have stayed at the Franklin, from Babe Ruth to Theodore Roosevelt. $100 - 250 per night.
- Martin & Mason Hotel, 33 Deadwood St. (Located above the Wooden Nickel Casino), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Beautiful historically renovated hotel decorated with period antiques and exquisite king beds. Very centrally located, an easy walk to everything in downtown Deadwood. $109-375 per night.
- Mineral Palace, 601 Historic Main St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. May, October - December: $89 - 209 per night. June- September: $139 - 259 per night.
- Deadwood Public Library, 435 Williams St., ☏ . Free Internet access and WiFi.
- Black Hills National Forest
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a short drive away, and so is the even larger Crazy Horse Memorial.
- Rapid City is a transportation hub for the region. It has a few museums, and plenty of cheap hotels and restaurants (chain and local).
- Sturgis, roughly 12 miles to the East of Deadwood, is the home of the famed Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August.
- Wall (South Dakota) has Wall Drug, whose ubiquitous signs will be more than familiar to any visitor driving on Interstate 90.
- Yellowstone National Park is just under 500 miles from Deadwood and 10 1/2 hour non-stop drive.
|Routes through Deadwood|
|Belfield ← Spearfish ←||N S||→ Lead → Cheyenne|
|END ←||N S||→ Custer → Chadron|