No, He’s a Real Guy

I’m playing a game online now called “The Akinator”. It’s 20 questions. Seriously, that’s what it is. But it’s fun!

I did notice that it’s behind on a few things. To wit:

  • It must have taken it around 60 questions to guess Boyd Crowder, a popular character on a popular TV series. Apparently, nobody has guessed him since the show ended, because what tripped it up was apparently when I pointed out the show was over.
  • It also – Spoiler! Seemed to be REALLY confused when I repeatedly said yes to “Is he a father” questions. He really is! Ava’s son is also his son in the series finale!
  • It also thought I would say no when it asked me if the character had many tattoos. Apparently people forgot that Boyd was originally a skinhead, or at least faking it. We know the tattoos are real; as recently as season 5 we’ve seen Boyd shirtless. So I guess some people just forgot.

Here’s the big one: Next, I did Seth Bullock. Bullock was a character on the TV show “Deadwood”, played by Timothy Olyphant (which is why he was on the brain). Here’s the thing, though: Seth Bullock was a real guy!

That’s right. Here he is. Check out that mustache, man. Even Olyphant’s TV version wasn’t so fine.

Anyway, the Akinator apparently had no idea Bullock was real, meaning it took 40 questions to figure out he was ALSO a TV character. But the sad thing is that this implies that no people realized Bullock was real. In fact, “Deadwood” is a remarkably historically accurate show. Al Swearingen was real as well, and just as much of a bastard in real life as he was portrayed on TV.

Anyway, it’s a shame, because Bullock was fascinating. He was actually a pretty major figure in early frontier history, and he was always one step away from being a famous historical figure in his own right. He became a Captain in a troop of Roosevelt’s famous Rough Riders, but his troop never left training camp. He was also named, by Roosevelt, an officer in a group of volunteers that was to go to France in 1917, but Wilson wouldn’t okay it.

Bullock and Teddy Roosevelt were lifelong friends, which says something very good about Bullock’s character. It’s frankly amazing that most people have never heard of him, considering the things he DID accomplish. As Deadwood’s first Sherriff he stabilized a town infamous for its lawlessness, refusing Wyatt Earp a job in the process. Later, he actually (I am not even slightly kidding) introduced alfalfa farming (!!!) into South Dakota, and eventually he moved up in law enforcement to become a bona fide U.S. Marshal.

Bullock contributed further to the region by giving free right of way across his land to a railroad company after a speculator refused to let them use his land unless paid an exorbitant price, potentially crippling economic growth in the region. He helped found a second town, Belle Fourche, by offering settlers from the town of Minnesala free land as a sort of payment for letting a railroad rattle through just three miles away from them. Basically, the man was a Saint, but a really badass, rich Saint who killed people. In 1894 his hardware store burnt down, and rather than rebuild he built a hotel on the spot. The Bullock hotel stands to this day, and now boasts a casino to go along with it.

Bullock himself died of colon cancer in 1919, and the hotel is supposedly haunted by his ghost. In fact, this is unlikely, and for different reasons than you might think. For tourism reasons the hotel claims Bullock died on premises, but in fact he died at his home on Van Buren Street. He still lived in Deadwood at the time of his death.

Why did I write this post? No real reason. I just thought it was sad that such a cool, important guy is mostly remembered as fictional thanks to a short lived television show. That sort of thing should be corrected.

EDIT: Looking at the game stats, apparently people said “Yes” when asked if he was originally from a television show, but also “Yes” when asked if he was a real person. Which seems…contradictory?

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