Although taking the name of a real person, Al Swearengen was the aptly named owner of The Gem Saloon on the HBO series Deadwood. Not only was Al never at a loss for obscenities, he had no problem feeding his deceased opponents to Mr. Wu’s pigs. I’d love to hear his response to an article in the latest National Geographic Traveler magazine.
The article is based on a survey of experts assessing the authenticity and stewardship of 109 historic destinations around the world. Deadwood is the only South Dakota locale to make the list. But it came in 103rd, immediately under the caption “Worst-Rated Places.” Here’s what the article says:
Long a gambling town, this is where lawman and gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok met his end at a poker table in 1876. Today, casinos packed with slot machines overrun the town, trashing “the historic integrity of its building interiors.” “Hokey and rather unpleasant.”
A few other comments appear online, including the following description of the town: “Transient and unrewarding.”
Even though the Al we know today is the creation of screenwriters, I imagine his reaction to the town being described as hokey and unrewarding might blister the air. And I think Al might be more than a little irate that the town is overrun with casinos. After all, just having one casino across from The Gem prompted several of his nefarious plots.
You can’t slit the throat of everyone whose character it would improve.
Al Swearengen, “Mr. Wu,” Deadwood