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True stories from the wild and woolly west. Also really lame jokes! Each episode I cover a real life person or event from the wild west era (gunfighters, outlaws, lawmen, Native Americans, frontiersmen, etc). I'm neither a historian nor a comedian, just a fan of history. I do, however, try to be as accurate as possible when covering these topics. All whilst dispensing dad jokes and totally butchering the English language.

May 10, 2023

Al Swearengen was the notorious owner of Deadwood’s Gem Theatre, which quickly became one of the boom town's most popular entertainment venues. Swearengen’s business practices, however, were far from ethical. He coerced desperate women into becoming prostitutes, often through bullying and physical violence, and wasn’t exactly gentle with the menfolk, either.

Despite the Gem Theater burning down in 1879 as part of a larger fire that destroyed much of Deadwood, Swearengen was undeterred. He rebuilt the Gem even bigger and better than before only to have it burn again 5 years later.  

Once again, Swearengen rebuilt the Gem, but you can’t stop what’s coming. After a series of setbacks and lawsuits, the theatre caught fire a final time, under somewhat mysterious circumstances.

Swearengen eventually left Deadwood for Colorado, but his body was found near a streetcar track in Denver a few years later. The cause of his death was never determined, leaving open the possibility of foul play.


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