The Black Hills Travel Blog

Rue’s Deadwood Connection

By • Jun 3rd, 2010 • Category: Culture

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Rue McClanahan, the saucy senior in television’s “Golden Girls” and a one-time Deadwood casino partner, has died at age 76.

We never met Rue, and I’m not sure she was ever actually in Deadwood. This was back in the heady days of Deadwood’s foray into legalized gaming that began 20 years ago. She was among the first investors in the nascent gaming industry. She was part of a group that opened and operated Calamity Jane’s on Main Street.

The relationship ended badly, however. In 1991, Rue filed suit against the casino operators. She said he had invested $125,000 in Calamity Jane’s but was denied a share of the profits. I’m not sure how the dispute was resolved.

Another celebrity Deadwood investor was Chrysler’s Lee Iacocca. He was part of a public company involved in the development and operation of the Deadwood Gulch casino and hotel.

Of course actor Kevin Costner, who filmed “Danced With Wolves,” in the Black Hills shortly before Deadwood gaming, created the Midbig kenny200night Star and Jake’s restaurant on Main Street. He sought to build a big resort on the hill overlooking Deadwood. The site is now home to his Tatanka: Story of the Bison.

And more recently Big Kenny Alphin of Big & Rich country music fame signed on to be a partner in the Deadwood Mountain Grand Resort and Casino, which is under construction.

About the Author

is an on-again, off-again Black Hills resident since 1978. The Aberdeen native hit the road after high school, building houses in Boulder, working oil rigs on Colorado's Western Slope, delivering cars in California. In Wyoming and Idaho, he worked as a newspaper journalist. But the Black Hills kept luring him back. For 18 years, he wrote for the Rapid City Journal. The job gave him a chance to see the Hills from atop Mount Rushmore and the bottom of the Homestake Mine. Whenever possible, Dan grabs his dog Kody and heads to the Hills. These days, he's perfecting the art of low-impact backpacking: hike two hours to a scenic spot, break out the wine, cook up the pasta, watch the sunset and fall asleep under the stars.
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