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Al negotiating at The Gem Saloon with a Pinkerton Lady and Sheriff Bullock confronting a drunk. Last scene had me floored! "you ought'ta take up whttlin" LOL!!
Ellis Albert "Al" Swearengen (born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, 8 July 1845 – died in Colorado, 15 November 1904) was a pimp and early entertainment entrepreneur in Deadwood, South Dakota, running the Gem Theater, a notorious brothel, for 22 years, and combining a reputation for brutality with an uncanny instinct for forging political alliances.
Swearengen and his twin brother, Lemuel, were two of ten children of
Daniel Swearengen and Keziah (often called Katie) Swearengen of Oskaloosa.
Unlike so many of Deadwood's residents who left home at a young age to
make their fortunes on the wild frontier, Swearengen remained at home
well into his adult years, arriving in Deadwood in May, 1876 with his
wife, Nettie Swearengen. Nettie would later divorce him on the grounds
of spousal abuse, and Swearengen would marry two more times, both marriages ending as the first.
Swearengen was one of the first Deadwood residents not to be a prospector or miner;
he represented the beginning of a second wave of residents, attracted
there by the promise of riches to be stripped not from the earth, but
from the prospectors and miners. He built a small saloon
called the Cricket Saloon, which featured as entertainment in its close
spaces local miners engaged in what were advertised as "prize fights",
although no prizes were actually awarded. Within a year, Swearengen had
accumulated enough money to build the much larger and more opulent Gem Variety Theater, which opened on April 7, 1877, featuring the now traditional "prize fights" in addition to stage shows, and, mainly, prostitution.
Swearengen lured desperate young women from far away to Deadwood,
then forced them into prostitution through a combination of bullying and
physical brutality, by himself and his henchmen. The results were
highly lucrative, the Gem bringing in an average of $5,000 a night,
sometimes as much as $10,000 (between $140,000 and $280,000 inflation
adjusted for 2009). When it burned down along with much of the town on
September 26, 1879, Swearengen rebuilt it larger and more opulent than
ever, to great public acclaim. Swearengen's talent for canny alliances
and financial payoffs kept him insulated from the general drive to clean
up the town, including the otherwise successful work of Seth Bullock,
until the Gem burned down once again in 1899. He was remarried the same
year to Odelia Turgeon. It appears that the Methodist church in
Deadwood - which also took a moralist crusade to clean up the town -
specifically targeted the Gem Theater.
According to his recently rediscovered obituary, Swearengen was found
dead in the middle of a suburban Denver street on November 15, 1904. He
apparently died of a massive head wound and was not hopping a freight
train as is often reported.
In: Other Entertainment, Liveleak Challenges, Other
Tags: Deadwood, movie, Ellis Albert Swearengen, Sheriff Seth bullock, two scenes, HBO, film clips
Location: Deadwood, South Dakota, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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