When Wild Bill Hickok got shot in Deadwood in 1876, it wasn't a classic Old West showdown. It was plain, unadorned, John Wilkes Booth-style, bullet-to-the-back-of-the-head assassination. It's a safe bet that no community on earth has embraced and celebrated assassination quite like Deadwood. You can't get out of the place without bumping into assassination re-enactments, artwork, interpretive exhibits, and even arguments about where the foul deed happened. If Wild Bill could return from the grave for a day, maybe on the assassination's 140th anniversary this August 2, he'd be traumatized. Maybe not traumatized to the extent he was in 1876, but he'd be badly shaken up emotionally. Wild Bill needed Deadwood like he needed a hole in the head.
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