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Al Swearengen
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    (July 8, 1845-1899)
    Birth name is Ellis Alfred Swearengen
    (Owner of the Gem Saloon in Deadwood, SD (1877-1899)
    Portrayed by Ian McShane on HBO's ‘Deadwood'
    He married three times.
    Each marriage ended after he beat his wife.
    He had prospectors fight each other in what he called ‘prize fights,' but no prizes were awarded.
    He would bring young girls to Deadwood, promising them a new life, only to force them into prostitution.
    He was extremely brutal to the women that worked for him.
    He bribed officials to look the other way.
    If bribery didn't work, he simply had them killed.
    He dealt in opium.
    When his saloon burned down the second time in 1899, he called it quits and left town.
    He was killed trying to get on a train in Colorado.
    He died a penniless drunk.
    He was the consummate showman and brought in entertainers from New York and Cheyenne.
    His Gem Saloon was Deadwood's chief attraction.
    Sometimes he brought in $5,000 - $10,000 a night (in the late 1800's).
    He provided the prospectors with entertainment.
    When the original Gem burned down in 1879, he rebuilt it bigger than ever.
    The local newspaper said of The Gem: ‘neat and tastefully arranged as any place of its kind in the west.'
    He gave work to Black people at a time when that wasn't exactly cool.

Credit: Bart McQueary

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