The Main Street Shootouts. The Trial of Jack McCall. The Deadwood Stagecoach. Interacting with visitors from near and far throughout the historic town of Deadwood.
Deadwood Alive is a troupe of actors who have been entertaining for over 20 years. The non-profit group re-enacts several historically accurate incidents of the town’s past and are a must-see. Actor Sean Baxter portrays several characters, including the villain Jack McCall, who famously shot and killed Wild Bill Hickok from behind as he was playing poker holding what is now known as “Dead Man’s Hand.”
605 caught up with Baxter on the streets of downtown Deadwood to see what it’s like playing such a hated persona and what life is like when he’s not (impressively) in character.
My passion for acting… is something I’ve always wanted to do. My friend, Rick Losey, got me into Deadwood Alive.
I’ve been part of Deadwood Alive… Since 2008. This is my 10th season.
Being in Deadwood Alive has been… an absolute blast! I’m doing exactly what I want to do. I get to entertain for a living. I am thankful for everyday I get to do it.
Working several shows a day… is a lot of fun. I meet tons of new people every day from all over the world. It’s never the same old thing. It’s never boring.
Ways I get into character for Jack McCall are… so automatic at this point, I don’t even think about it. What’s funny is the looks I get when I’m out of costume and Jack comes out. I get away with a lot when I’m dressed as Jack.
Playing a hated person in South Dakota history… You’d be surprised. Most people love the “bad guy.” I’ve made some amazing friends.
If people haven’t experienced Deadwood Alive shows, they should know… all three of our gun fights are different. They are all based on actual events that happened here in Deadwood as documented by the Deadwood Pioneer. That newspaper has been in print since 1876.
A memorable moment during a show was… when I killed Wild Bill dressed as a T-Rex. It was for the 142nd Anniversary of Wild Bill’s assassination. Travis [Pearson], who plays Hickok, had no idea. The look on his face when I charged out and mauled him, priceless. He couldn’t stop laughing. All the kids at the show ran up and hugged me. They all wanted pictures with the T-Rex. They forgot all about Wild Bill.
When I’m not Jack McCall, you can usually find me… playing guitar and singing on Main Street. I play most weekends, 7-10 p.m. at the Wild Bill Bar. Monday’s I play with Marty “Guitar” Nelson at Saloon #10. I call Adult Bingo there on Monday, also, for charity. So far, we’ve raised over $110K for Relay for Life.
One of my favorite South Dakota places to stop at is… I like finding new places and trying new things. There’s a lot to see in South Dakota.
My go-to restaurant is… Philly Ted’s in Rapid. Also, Sickie’s Garage. Me and Marty played a Bike Night there this summer. The food and staff are amazing. Love that place. If there was a Pickle Barrel in Deadwood …. I’d go there every day.
A favorite place to be in deadwood is… wherever my friends are. Good times are important.
What I love about Deadwood is… how small it is. I live on Main Street. Everything I do is in walking distance. I haven’t owned a vehicle in 15 years.
When I’m relaxing, I love to… I play a lot of Mario Kart.
If i wasn’t acting, I would be… probably on the road in a working band. That’s how I ended up here. I was playing bass in a band out of [Las] Vegas. We use to play the #10 every month or so. The band broke up and I just stayed.
One historical thing I learned in Deadwood that surprised me was… that prostitution was legal here in town up until 1980.
Working in such a historical town is… awesome! I love it here. I’m having the time of my life. I’m a very lucky guy.
For more information, visit deadwoodalive.com.
Enjoy Free Shows
Fridays & Saturdays
From 1-4 p.m. on Main Street