It was perplexing to my family that I wanted so diligently to go to Deadwood, South Dakota, for really one reason, and one reason only. I wanted to go to the spot of the Number 10 Saloon, the original one, and see where Wild Bill Hickok was gunned down by Jack McCall over what many thought was a sour poker game. But many also thought that the business community of Deadwood paid McCall to kill off Wild Bill before he could bring his excellent reputation as a sheriff to the town to render justice. Many in Deadwood wanted to keep it an outlaw town of villainy and sorrow because that’s where the profit was for them. That was the rationale for why they couldn’t get a prosecution of McCall in the first trial because the town of Deadwood wanted to kill off Wild Bill before an official sheriff came to be. Eventually, law and order would come to Deadwood in the form of Seth Bullock. Still, the criminal intent of the town was made clear early, and it’s a theme that is repeated many times over in the future years of America, leading right up to the election the first time of Donald J. Trump as president. I like westerns because these kinds of things are easier to see without the complicated tapestries of modern society, so when looking for proof of malice in human hearts, I was eager to get to Deadwood to see the spot for myself.
My daughter and I clambered down in the basement of the modern saloon called The Wild Bill Bar. The bathrooms are down there, so it was easy for us to see the original street level of Deadwood that was about 6 feet lower than the current street of the modern town. That was where the actual Number 10 Saloon had resided, and we could get a sense down there of how it was back then, where Wild Bill had been sitting and what views Jack McCall had as he approached the back of the famous gunfighter and shot him point-blank in the head. For me, from there, I wanted to go outside and look up and down the street to see where spectators would have been relative to the murder and listen for the gunshots and the mayhem that followed. Deadwood back then, as it is today, is far away from the civilized world. It’s a long way from Washington D.C. or New York, so the arm of the law was feeble. It reveals even today the true nature of most human beings if left to their own devices, which I find very valuable. You may not like what you see, but it’s honest. And being that this kind of topic is something I spend a lot of time thinking about, I considered it essential to see this last living place of Wild Bill, one of the greatest gunfighters that ever lived.
I took two big trips this year all over the west to see locations I had been writing about in my new book, The Gunfighter’s Guide to Business. The first trip was to finish the book in Roswell, New Mexico, where John Chism had lived. The second trip was a bigger one to celebrate the completion of all the gally proofs before heading to pre-production. Seeing direct evidence of the murder of Wild Bill was important to me because it showed a repeat in history for the election fraud that had just taken place against President Trump. It led to what extent and why people kill or destroy other people. We saw it happening right in front of our faces on the nightly news. But on the wild frontier of Deadwood, South Dakota, it had occurred in the Number 10 Saloon. It was a crime scene preserved not just there but in the town itself. It wasn’t Jack McCall who killed Wild Bill. Sure, he pulled the trigger. But it was the town itself that killed him, and that town was still pleading “not guilty.” Even as its streets flooded with the blood of guilt that still stained everything, including the parking garage in the town center, it was the dumbest parking garage in the history of parking garages. It was too small, too expensive, and their validation system seems to be designed by a 5-year-old.
Even saying all that, I loved Deadwood. I loved it for all its wildness, even though my taste is more for towns like Jackson, Wyoming, as destination places to visit. I’m glad places like that still exist because there is a lot to learn from it. Today it’s a biker town, wild and wooly and proud of it. We ended up eating as a family at Mustang Sally’s, and to my back were various gambling machines that were everywhere in Deadwood. There were more gambling devices there than anyplace I’ve seen except for Vegas. But per square inch of floor space, Deadwood has everyone beat. It’s a gambling town. That tends to produce many down and out people in life, but as I say in my Gunfighter’s Guidebook, gambling gives people hope that they might elevate their station in life with sudden wealth. It may be a kind of flytrap that ends up making them poorer, but the hope of it is what matters. Just like the boomtown Deadwood used to be for gold mining, the idea of quick, new money to elevate people’s station in life beyond the aristocratic norms was the driver of the entire future economy. And that’s not a bad thing. As I drove across South Dakota and Iowa for many thousands of miles, I had been thinking about election fraud and the Covid scam by globalist-minded insurgents who were using fear and crises to control all of humankind toward lawlessness. It reminded me of the kind of people who paid Jack McCall to kill the great gunfighter Wild Bill, the motives and the political climate that would follow in its wake. Eventually, justice was served, and that will be the case in the United States as well. What I wanted to see was the spot where Wild Bill was shot and compare it to what Deadwood eventually became in a modern sense. It wasn’t a sad song for me to see the actual places, but it was revealing. I felt my visit to Deadwood was a visit to a ghost of many maniacal creatures, and they are still hovering over the events there. There is a kind of cold killer in the air at Deadwood that people are desperate to gamble their way away from. But with every pull of a slot machine, they only make those ghosts that much more menacing by the hour. Deadwood has always struggled to climb out from under its lawlessness established during its founding. It’s good to see that even where the law is abandoned or even hated, that there is still a kind of sense of justice everywhere. Whether it is the young lady sitting half outside of her shop covered in body piercings and tattoos smoking a cigarette looking for a new male roommate that might whisk her away on the back of a motorcycle for fifteen minutes of fame, or the overweight guy in Mustang Salley’s who just spent his entire paycheck for a chance to strike it rich, buy a Class A rig and spend the rest of his life roaming the earth off the winnings, what the town of Deadwood has always wanted, just as all Americans want, is a chance to get somewhere in life without the rules of an aristocratic society guiding them. They want freedom, and if murder is the means to get there, they’ll undoubtedly do it
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