Deadwood v Tombstone

I was sent a link by a friend to an online publication called ‘Geopolitical Futures’. Featured was an essay prompted by the upcoming release of a film called ‘Deadwood’. The film being a spin off from the popular TV series.  The writer asks the question; how do people create and maintain institutions where none has previously existed? Deadwood was a boom town which grew on the back of resource exploitation (gold). This also occurred in what was to become Tombstone a few years later where the mineral of interest was silver.  Both settlements suffered from political corruption. In that respect Deadwood was in a more vulnerable position since there was no overarching legal authority, the town being established on land ceded to the Sioux by a treaty. Another difference I would suggest is geology. You can’t mine silver in the same way as gold. Silver requires deep mining techniques whereas gold can be recovered from alluvial deposits in streams. It meant then that the population of Deadwood was greater than Tombstone’s since there were far more individual prospectors at work. Of course the mining companies did eventually fetch up at Deadwood but they were needed from the outset in Tombstone. The author cites as an influence a history of Deadwood written by a local historian. I can also add The Last Gunfight by Jeff Guin which has much to say about the politics and corruption in Tombstone. The book was an influence when I wrote the first chapter of my book Contention City to Stalingrad where in the first chapter I try to come up with a definition of a ‘legendary landscape’.

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