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Dakota Midday: The 1980 Deadwood Brothel Raid


On May 21st, 1980 federal officials raided Deadwood’s infamous brothels, which led to their closure. The brothels had been open since the Gold Rush days when prostitutes first arrived in the mining town with Charlie Utter’s wagon train in 1876.

Legal historian Michael Trump wrote about Deadwood and its illegal and promiscuous activities in the book, Raiding Deadwood’s Badlands: Its Illegal History of Prostitution and Gambling. He’s giving a talk on the subject Sunday at 2 pm in the Journey Museum and Learning Center in Rapid City. Trump is also National American University Dean of the College of Legal Studies and Associate General Counsel. He joined Dakota Midday and discussed why Deadwood's brothels stayed open for a century.