The "badlands," the lower end of Main Street in front of you, earned its reputation through its saloons, brothels, theaters, gambling halls, and opium houses, which provided rowdy entertainment for the largely male population. Out of this district came many of the personalities and the folklore that made Deadwood famous.
"The man who ventured the remark that a fool and his money are soon parted must have had in his mind's eye some place such as [Deadwood].... The 'tenderfoot' is here brought face to face with ... the slick confidence man, the claim jumper, the land shark and the desperado."
The New York Times, August 13, 1877
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With cheap whiskey going for 50 cents an ounce, saloon owners could make more money than miners. The Bella Union, perhaps gold rush Deadwood's grandest pleasure palace, contained a casino, dance hall and saloon.
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The Green Front Theater included a dance hall and brothel.
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The Gem Theater provided stage shows, dancing, and curtained rooms on the side.
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The bar in the Gem Theater was not as glamorous as modern media images.