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All about South Dakota

Historical Note:

Dead Man's Hand . . .

In the 1800s Deadwood City was a town of gamblers and gunslingers. It was here that Wild Bill Hickok got a fatal bullet in the back of his head. Hickok had grown up on a farm in Illinois where he and his father helped runaway slaves find freedom. An excellent marksman, he later moved to Kansas and became the village constable. He was a spy for the Union during the Civil War, and later became a deputy US Marshall. Although Wild Bill had a superstition of never sitting with his back to the door, for some reason on that fateful day on August 2, 1876, he quelled his natural instincts and joined a card game in progress at the Number Ten Saloon, taking the only seat available with its back to the door. While holding a hand of eights and aces, (now referred to as "Dead Man's Hand") he was gunned down from behind by a drunken stranger named Jack McCall. McCall was a fugitive until March 1877 when he was caught and hanged, even though a motive was never determined. The Number Ten Saloon is still in operation today where tourists can entertain themselves with wild conspiracy theories as they witness the daily reenactments of Wild Bill Hickok's death.

Name Origin: Indian. ("Allies")

Capital: Pierre

Population: 721,000

Area: 77,116 square miles

Statehood: November 2, 1889 (40th state)

Nickname: The Sunshine State

Motto: "The Mount Rushmore State"

Famous For: Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, Badlands, Black Hills National Forest, Custer State Park, Ponderosa Pines, Buffalo, Bison, Gold, Mammoth Site, Deadwood City, Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

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