Whatever Happened to...
Swearengen and his twin brother, Lemuel, were two of ten children. Guess they never got to show that part since the show was cancelled? He left home well into adulthood and arrived in Deadwood in May, 1876 with his wife, Nettie Swearengen. Nettie would later divorce him on the grounds of spousal abuse, and Swearengen would marry two more times, both marriages ending as the first. I don't remember her on the show either.
Swearengen was not a prospector. Instead, he figured he'd get rich off offering services to those who were. His first saloon was called the Cricket Saloon, which featured "prize fights", although it seems no prizes were actually awarded. Within one year, Swearengen had enough cash to build the much larger and more opulent Gem Variety Theater, which opened on April 7, 1877.
He still featured "prize fights" in addition to stage shows, and, mainly, prostitution. Lilly Von Shtupp?
The Gem brought in an average of $5,000 a night, sometimes as much as $10,000 (between $140,000 and $280,000 inflation adjusted for 2009). When it burned down along with much of the town on September 26, 1879, Swearengen rebuilt it even larger and more opulent than ever, to great public acclaim.
Swearengen's talent for canny alliances and financial payoffs kept him insulated from the general drive to clean up the town, including the otherwise successful work of Seth Bullock. Reportedly, Sheriff Seth Bullock and Swearengen agreed to draw an imaginary line on Main Street that marked what was referred to as the “Badlands” and the rest of the town. From then on, Swearengen controlled lower Main Street, and Sheriff Bullock controlled upper Main Street. That is until the Gem burned down, again, in 1899. He called it quits after that final fire. He remarried the same year to Odelia Turgeon.
There are conflicting obituaries, but Albert Swearengen was found dead in the middle of a suburban Denver street in late 1904. He apparently died of a massive head wound and was not hopping a freight train as is often reported. The original report of his death found him penniless.
He's in the picture of the Gem, outside, in the buggy. He's the third guy on the left in the bar. The color picture up top is of Ian McShane who immortalized the c+@%sucker.