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DEADWOOD, DAKOTA TERRITORIES, 1876: Legendary gunman Wild Bill Hickcock and his friend Charlie Utter have come to the Black Hills town of Deadwood fresh from Cheyenne, fleeing an ungrateful populace. Bill, aging and sick but still able to best any man in a fair gunfight, just wants to be left alone to drink and play cards. But in this town of played-out miners, bounty hunters, upstairs girls, Chinese immigrants, and various other entrepeneurs and miscreants, he finds himself pursued by a vicious sheriff, a perverse whore man bent on revenge, and a besotted Calamity Jane. Fueled by liquor, sex, and violence, this is the real wild west, unlike anything portrayed in the dime novels that first told its story.
"I heard Bill had shot the man's family back in Kansas," the man said, "and then I heard the man had no reason at all. Just snuck up out of meanness and did his work." "What are you saying?" she said. "Just what I heard of how it happened." She sat up and narrowed her eyes. She felt dizzy from too long in a bed. "How he got kilt," he said. "You knew he got kilt, didn't you? Being close, I thought you'd of known . . ." Jane's hat had fallen back on her head, and she tightened it
fortune. Everything in Panama was unhealthy for Americans, even the sun. Charley had never intended to make a fortune in Panama, but money was in the habit of falling his way; somehow he was always downhill. He'd only bought the drugstore for the location, and something to do. The store sat on the eastern edge of a small fishing town called Pelican, on the eastern side of the isthmus, and overlooked a bay of the same name. The town was built on a rock plateau, a hundred feet above the water.
into the wall of the tub and looked at the ceiling. Charley looked through the paper the Bottle Fiend had brought him, and saw that Mrs. Langrishe had announced monthly meetings of the Deadwood Social Club, in which members could partake of the waltz, polka, schottische, or quadrille. Charley had been a long time without a female, and the image of the sparks falling into Mrs. Langrishe's blouse jumped on him like something out of a tree. It hung all over him, right through an editorial that
said. "Something," the sheriff said, "but it isn't serious." "He can't speak," she said. "He's bleeding from the mouth." The sheriff seemed to soften. "All right," he said, "I see what it is now. I'll take care of it." "Thank you, Sheriff," the woman said. "If you need first-aid techniques, you know where I am . . ." "I'll take care of it now," the sheriff said. He took the woman by the elbow and walked her off his porch. When she was gone, the sheriff turned to the boy. "Where did
long time he sat still, thinking of a morning he and Ci-an might have in the house that would catch the sun earlier than the gulch. It felt like he was protecting her now, and keeping her company. He wondered if she felt him there. The old woman left the room a few minutes after Solomon. She was speaking to Ci-an in a frightened way even as she closed the door between them. It sounded frightened to Solomon, anyway, but that was how the Chinese always sounded. He smiled and waited, and thought