This week, Isaac and Demetria go back to the Wild West for our very first outlaw of the American frontier. There’s rootin’, there’s tootin’, there’s plenty of shootin’, and also a truly astonishing amount of…soap?
(Before anyone emails me with a correction: Yes, there are several technologies known as “wireless telegraphy” that could transmit telegraph signals without wires, but that is not what the fake telegraph office was doing.)
Featured Image: Soapy standing in a saloon in Skagway, Alaska (Image Source)
Jeff Smith’s Parlor in Skagway, Alaska (Image source)
The parlor in operation (Image source)
The Soap Gang in Skagway, Alaska (Image source)
The vigilante group that fought against the Soap Gang in Alaska (Image source)
The local newspaper’s report on Soapy’s death–the town’s name was originally spelled Skaguay but is now Skagway. (Image source)
A photograph of Soapy’s autopsy–I believe this is supposed to show the fatal bullet being removed from his heart. (Image source)
A shell game encounter at Soapy’s Saloon in the Yukon Trail game. (Image source)
A con artist running a prize soap scam in HBO’s Deadwood.
Magician Doc Dixon demonstrating the shell game for Penn and Teller.
- Jeff Smith’s website on Soapy Smith
- The Smith Family blog, with some amazing scans of correspondence and other records
- An article in the Pacific Monthly about Soapy
- Old West Swindlers, a book by Laurence Yadon and Robert Barr Smith
- The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush by Howard Blum