Deadwood Dick

Real Name

Edward "Ned" Harris

First Appearance

"Deadwood Dick, The Prince of the Road, or The Black Rider of the Black Hills" (in Beadle's Half Dime Library #1, 1877)

Original Publisher

Beadles and Adams

Created by

Edward Lytton Wheeler


Deadwood Dick was an orphan who was adopted, mistreated and then ran away from home to become a notorious outlaw. Originally from New England, he moved to the town of Deadwood, where he became the leader of a gang of highway men, wanted dead or alive for a $500 bounty. He is handsome, valiant, charming and sarcastic and sees himself as a defender of the weak. He describes himself as, "A cuss from Custer -- a bulldog from Bozeman -- a diabolical devil from Deadwood." He is described thus:

His form was clothed in a tight-fitting habit of buckskin, which was colored a jetty black, and presented a striking contrast to anything one sees as a garment in the wild far West. And this was not all, either. A broad black hat was slouched down over his eyes; he wore a thick black vail over the upper portion of his face, through the eye-holes of which there gleamed a pair of orbs of piercing intensity, and his hands, large and knotted,(14) were hidden in a pair of kid gloves of a light color. The "Black Rider" he might have been justly termed, for his thoroughbred steed was as black as coal, but we have not seen fit to call him such—his name is Deadwood Dick, and let that suffice for the present.

He had a long relationship with a fictionalized version of Calamity Jane, but Jane refused his proposal of marriage. She told him she had had enough of men, and would never be more than a friend to him. Deadwood Dick, assuming he would likely remain single, told her that if he could have nothing more, he would accept her friendship.


The name "Deadwood Dick" became popular, and was adopted by a number of historical persons, most notably the African-American cowboy, Nat Love. Deadwood Dick was also the name of a film serial about a masked cowboy released in 1940 by Columbia Pictures.

Public Domain Literary Appearances

Beadle's Half Dime Library #1, 20, 28, 35, 42, 49, 57, 73, 77, 100, 104, 109, 129, 138, 149, 156, 195, 201, 205, 217, 221, 265, 268, 282, 309, 321, 347, 351, 362, 405, 410, 430, 448

See also

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