Deadwood Dick

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Edward L. Wheeler. Deadwood Dick, the Prince of the Road; or, The Black Rider of the Black Hills. 1877.
For the 1940 serial, see Deadwood Dick (serial).

Deadwood Dick is a fictional character who appears in a series of stories, or "dime novels", published between 1877 and 1897 by Edward Lytton Wheeler (1854/5-1885). The name became so widely known in its time that it was used to advantage by several men who actually resided in Deadwood, South Dakota.

Those who took the nickname included:

  • Frank Palmer, gambler, according to his obituary May 30 1906 was the original "Deadwood Dick" who at the age of 17 (c.1879) went West from Springfield, Ill., to Deadwood South Dakota where he made his fortune playing games of Chance. He was dubbed "Deadwood Dick" by the gamblers of that place. He was the hero in Beagle's half-dime novels.

Obituary Pueblo Chieftain May 30 1906 "ORIGINAL DEADWOOD DICK PASSES AWAY" See full article FINDAGRAVE.COM Memorial #139653203

  • Nat Love (1854 – 1921), an African-American cowboy;
  • Dick Brown, an actor;
  • Richard Cole, a stage coach driver;
  • Richard Clarke, also an actor; the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce asked him in 1927 to portray Deadwood Dick in the city's annual Days of '76 Parade. Clarke's work was managed by publicity man Bert Bell. Among other assignments, Clarke was sent east to invite then-U.S. President Calvin Coolidge to Deadwood. Clarke appreciated the celebrity status so much that he continued playing Deadwood Dick until his death on May 5, 1930[1]
  • Cornishman Richard Bullock, gunman and bullion guard on the Deadwood Stage (1847 - 1921).

Others more briefly associated with the name were Richard Palmer, who died in Cripple Creek, Colorado, in 1906, and Robert Dickey, who died in a Denver hospital jail in 1912.

The syndicated anthology television series Death Valley Days presented a 1966 episode entitled "The Resurrection of Deadwood Dick," with Denver Pyle in the starring role.[2]


  1. ^ L'Amour, Louis Dearborn, Law of the Desert Born p. 191, Bantam Books, Inc, 1983. ISBN 0-553-24134-6.
  2. ^ "Death Valley Days: "The Resurrection of Deadwood Dick", October 1, 1966". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 

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