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Drinking, Debauchery and Demons – Welcome To Cheyenne In The 1860’s

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Hell On Wheels on AMC is the real deal and tells the story of the Union Pacific Railroad developing Cheyenne and a land and railroad town.

I’ve been reading a book “Hell On Wheels-Wicked Towns Along The Union Pacific Railroad”. I had to skip ahead to Cheyenne to read what was recorded from our shady past and what was portrayed on the AMC mini-series “Hell On Wheels”. Both are on point. Love this line from the book from Chicago Tribune correspondent James Chisholm who wrote the following:

Cheyenne was a rough place, there is no doubt. The streets were awash in a cacophony of tongues, thanks to a motley crew, every class from every land, a mixture of people second to none this side of the Galata Bridge across The Golden Horn. Hunter, trapper, Indians, cowboys, railroad men, laborer, capitalists, engineers, sightseer, artist and lawyer, thief and highwaymen, rich, poor, big and little all in search of a good time.

The books records the whiskey tents, houses of ill-repute and the shootings and stabbings in the streets of Cheyenne. This was the old frontier west. The daily paper began listing all the crimes. Broad daylight or in the middle of the night, it didn’t seem to matter. All of this happened before the arrival of the railroad. Twenty gambling saloons graced the dirty and dusty streets of Cheyenne and lawlessness was the order of the day.




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