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Murder At The Deadwood Saloon

A Night of Murder and Mayhem in the Wild West!

Guest Info

Everything you need to know from who to expect at 

The Deadwood Saloon – to the proper slang to use at it!

Talk the Talk

Download your wild west dictionary for this wild west murder mystery game

Click Here

***In virtually every mining camp and prairie town a poker table could be found in each saloon, surrounded by prospectors, lawmen, cowboys, railroad workers, soldiers, and outlaws for a chance to tempt fortune and fate. ***

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The Usual Suspects

Harry High-Stakes—Saloon Owner. As the organizer of this grand event, Harry has a lot at stake if it is not successful! 

Henrietta High-Stakes—Wife to Harry High-Stakes. Spending less and less time at the saloon lately, could Henrietta be into something or someone else? 

Gambling Jack—Gambler. The best hand in poker either side of the Mississippi, Jack has not lost a major tournament in the last five years. Until now. 

Anna Belle—Wife to Gambling Jack. Known as her husband’s good luck charm, some say Anna Belle is the reason Gambling Jack never loses. 

Mitch Maverick—Traveling Businessman. As the winner of the tournament, many question how a businessman could have such great card skills. Could Mitch be the next poker phenomenon? 

Holly Hickok—Gambler. A real southern belle with a flare for poker, many wonder what a girl like Holly is doing in the Wild West? 

Clay Coldwell—Gambler. A once known poker-great, Clay may no longer be lucky in cards, but he may be proving to be lucky in love. 

Montgomery Money—Land Investor. Arriving just this last night, word is Montgomery has his eye on purchasing the saloon and is using this traveling opportunity to seize it. 

Elizabeth Money—Wife to Montgomery Money. Although Elizabeth has been here scouting land prospects for her husband all week, she is still not used to the rough and rugged ways of the West. 

Minnie Money—Debutante. As the sheltered daughter of Montgomery and Elizabeth Money, Minnie’s first trip out west has been an adventure that has taught her a lot about the wild ways of the West and the people it breeds.

Banker Bob—Bank Owner. After the Bank of Deadwood was robbed earlier this week, Bob suspects the culprit is someone in need of ante money for the poker tournament. Will Bob take justice into his own hands to punish the bandit? 

Banker Bonnie—Wife to Banker Bob. Desperate for Bob’s attention, Bonnie will do anything to get it. Anything. 

Jesse Wales—Outlaw. Is Jesse here to meet up with old acquaintances or is this purely a business trip? 

Poker Alice—Poker Dealer. Alice makes her living dealing cards at the saloon, but could she be hiding more than her love for her favorite bartender? 

Sheriff Sam—Deadwood Sheriff. Although Sam is considered the law enforcement of this town, it has been said the only way to get anything ‘enforced’ is by padding Sam’s wallet. 

Marshal Dalton—Federal Marshal. The Marshal was assigned to Deadwood to insure that there is no unlawful activity at the poker tournament. With outlaw rule becoming the way of the West these days, it is time the federal government put some order into place. 

Sally Starr—Saloon Girl. Because of Sally’s strong allegiance to both Harry and Henrietta High-Stakes, Sally will see to it that the saloon thrives at all costs—but what price is too high? 

Taffy Garrette—Saloon Girl. Taffy is the eyes and ears of the saloon, someone who might know a little too much about what is about to go down. 

Black Barbara—Outlaw. Barbara has been in town all week and no one knows quite why. 

Billy-The-Bartender—Saloon Bartender and Bookkeeper. Billy knows the saloon life from every side of the coin and has his own suspicions about who is holding the saloon back from succeeding. 

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Wild West Tidbits    

WHAT SALOONS SERVED:

In those hard scrabble days, the whiskey served in many of the saloons was some pretty wicked stuff made with raw alcohol, burnt sugar and a little chewing tobacco. No wonder it took on such names as Tanglefoot, Forty-Rod, Tarantula Juice, Taos Lightning, Red Eye, and Coffin Varnish.

Also popular was Cactus Wine, made from a mix of tequila and peyote tea, and Mule Skinner, made with whiskey and blackberry liquor. The house rotgot was often 100 proof, though it was sometimes cut by the barkeep with turpentine, ammonia, gun powder or cayenne.

The most popular term for the libation served in saloons was Firewater, which originated when early traders were selling whiskey to the Indians. To convince the Indians of the high alcohol content, the peddlers would pour some of the liquor on the fire, as the Indians watched the fire begin to blaze.

But the majority of western saloon regulars drank straight liquor — rye or bourbon. If a man ordered a “fancy” cocktail or “sipped” at his drink, he was often ridiculed unless he was “known” or already had a proven reputation as a “tough guy.” Unknowns, especially foreigners who often nursed their drinks, were sometimes forced to swallow a fifth of 100 proof at gunpoint “for his own good.”

   

SALOON GIRLS:

The saloon or dance-hall girl’s job was to brighten the evenings of lonely men starved for female companionship.

Contrary to what many might think, the saloon girl was not a prostitute. Their job was to entertain the guests, sing for them, dance with them, talk to them and perhaps flirt with them a bit – inducing them to remain in the bar, buying drinks and patronizing the games.

Most girls were refugees from farms or mills, lured by posters and handbills advertising high wages, easy work, and fine clothing. Many were widows or needy women of good morals, forced to earn a living in an era that offered few means for women to do so.

Earning as much as $10 per week, most saloon girls also made a commission from the drinks that they sold. Whiskey sold to the customer was marked up 30-60% over its wholesale price. Commonly drinks bought for the girls would only be cold tea or colored sugar water served in a shot glass; however, the customer was charged the full price of whiskey, which could range from ten to seventy-five cents a shot.

In most places the proprieties of treating the saloon girls as ladies were strictly observed, as much because Western men tended to revere all women, as because the women or the saloon keeper demanded it. Any man who mistreated these women would quickly become a social outcast, and if he insulted one he would very likely be killed. While they might have been scorned by the “proper” ladies, the saloon girl could count on respect from the males.

And as for the “respectable women,” the saloon girls were rarely interested in the opinions of the drab, hard-working women who set themselves up to judge them. In fact, they were hard pressed to understand why those women didn’t have sense enough to avoid working themselves to death by having babies, tending animals, and helping their husbands try to bring in a crop or tend the cattle.

In the early California Gold Rush of 1849, dance halls began to appear and spread throughout the boomtowns. While these saloons usually offered games of chance, their chief attraction was dancing.

The customer generally paid 75¢ to $1.00 for a ticket to dance, with the proceeds being split between the dance hall girl and the saloon owner. After the dance, the girl would steer the gentleman to the bar, where she would make an additional commission from the sale of a drink.

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Costumes

Click below for some period-friendly ideas on what to wear to this wild west murder mystery game, how to accessorize, and more!

Costume Gallery

Cowboys and Sheriffs

Some ideas for accessories include: 
  • Boots
  • Spurs
  • Shoestring tie
  • Vest
  • Cowboy hat
  • Mustache
  • Holster
  • Guns
  • Bandanas
  • Belt Buckle (the bigger the better!)
  • Facial Hair

Saloon Girls

Some ideas for accessories include: 
  • Feather boas
  • Long beads
  • Fake eyelashes
  • Fishnet leggings
  • Other stockings
  • Saloon girl dresses
  • Beaded headband
  • Feathers
  • Garter (gun optional)

 

Gents

Some ideas for accessories include: 
  • Hats (bowler, derby, slouch, gambler and more)
  • Vest and Coats
  • A Timepiece
  • Mustaches
  • Ascot Ties
  • Suit Coats
  • Bow Ties
  • Suspenders
 

Belles and Debutantes

Some ideas for accessories include: 
  • Extravagant dresses
  • Hoop skirt
  • Petticoat
  • Umbrella
  • Fan
  • Lace gloves
  • Big hats
  • Victorian style dresses
  • Ruffles and bows

Decoration Ideas

Transport Your Guests Back To The Wild West By 
Creating your VERY OWN Deadwood Saloon!

Setting the Scene

Outside the Saloon!

Outside the Saloon

     

• Place real hay bales outside the entrance. If you have a saddle, put them on or around the bales of hay.

• Construct a hitching rail outside the venue and (if at all possible) a horse trough or tin bath equivalent will almost certainly result in someone getting a dunking before the saloon closes.

OR, Make a hitching post using a wooden palette and a sign (included with the mystery). See pictures above.

• Create a sign post with different directional signs.
You can have signs pointing people to: The Bank of Deadwood, telegraph office, jail, stagecoach, etc.
Directions and templates on how to do this with the mystery.

• Make and hang a sign for your saloon. Instructions and templates included with mystery purchase.

• Construct your own saloon doors. Find out how to do so here.

 

• Not up for building your own saloon doors? No problem, you can, order your saloon door here.

• Cut out cowboy and a cowgirl silhouettes and hang them on the windows.

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Inside The Saloon!


• Place oak barrels and/or growlers around the party space.

• Make a Saloon out of a picket fence, 2 palettes for sides and a large piece of plywood for the top!

a man standing behind a bar   

 

• Create “old” liquor bottles by adding labels to empty bottles. Use them as props and/or to “stock your bar.” Designs included with purchase.

   

• If you can find/obtain large cable spools, use them for saloon tables!

a table with a red tablecloth and red napkins   a table with bottles on it 

• Hang “wanted”, “reward” and other themed posters all over the walls. Designs included with mystery purchase.

text, whiteboard a sign on a building 

• Print out and hang other “saloon” signs. 5 designs included with mystery purchase.

logo

• Make your own saloon signs on wood! Simply cut a wood palette to the dimensions you want and paint your design on!

text, letter   a sign with writing on it 

• Create your own branded beer and/or sarsaparilla (root beer). Label designs included with purchase. Just adhere to beer or root beer bottles.

beer

• Set up a poker table for the tournament. 
Note: you do not need to actually have a tournament or play poker. Some hosts find this is a fun activity to do before, during or after the mystery.

• Create a scene! Use scene setters to create your saloon wall or a western scene.

person   

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Setting the Table

Setting the Table


Setting the table for a Wild West-themed murder mystery party can be loads of fun! Here are some ideas to set the scene:

 

Tablecloth and Centerpieces:


  • Use a checkered or burlap tablecloth to mimic a rustic feel.
  • Centerpieces could be small hay bales, cowboy hats filled with wildflowers, or even toy revolvers nestled among dried wheat stalks.

Place Settings:

 

  • Rustic dinnerware like enamel plates, mason jars for drinks, and metal cutlery can add to the theme.
  • Consider using bandanas or small belts as napkin rings.

Name Cards:

  • Assign each guest a character and create themed name cards. You could use wanted posters with their character names and descriptions.

Menu Cards:

  • Design menus that resemble old wanted posters or scroll-style paper tied with twine. Include creative names for Wild West-themed dishes.

Table Accents:


  • Scatter some fake gold nuggets, sheriff badges, or plastic horseshoes around the table.
  • Incorporate cacti or small potted plants to enhance the Wild West ambiance.

Lighting:

   

  • Dim the lights and use lanterns or candles (in safe containers) to create a cozy, Western atmosphere.

Background Music:

  • Play some Western-themed music or soundtracks from classic Western movies to set the mood.

Costume Props:

 

  • Place cowboy hats, bandanas, or toy guns at each seat for guests to use as props or to get into character.

 

Remember, creating an immersive experience involves attention to detail. Encourage guests to dress up in Western attire to really get into the spirit of the event. A well-set table combined with enthusiastic participants can make the murder mystery party an unforgettable experience!

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Lighting

Lighting


Creating the right ambiance through lighting can really set the stage for a Wild West-themed murder mystery party. Here are some lighting ideas:

 

Lanterns and Candlelight:

  • Use old-fashioned lanterns or battery-operated LED lanterns as your primary light sources. Place them strategically around the room to create a warm, rustic glow.
  • Candles in safe containers like mason jars or lanterns can add an intimate and authentic feel. Be cautious with open flames for safety reasons.

String Lights and Saloon Vibes:

   

  • Hang string lights reminiscent of the Old West across the ceiling or around the perimeter of the room. Twinkling lights can create a magical, yet rustic, ambiance.
  • Consider using colored bulbs to evoke a saloon-like atmosphere.

Campfire Effects:

  • If space allows and it’s safe to do so, create a faux campfire in the backyard or an indoor fireplace. You can use orange and yellow lights beneath fabric or tissue paper to mimic the flickering flames.

Dimmer Switches or Adjustable Lighting:


  • Install dimmer switches if possible to control the brightness and create different moods throughout the party.
  • If using lamps, consider using lampshades that diffuse the light to create a softer, warmer glow.

Spotlights for Dramatic Effect:


  • Use spotlights to highlight specific areas of interest, like the main entrance, the “crime scene,” or where major interactions between characters will happen.

Oil Lamps and Stagecoach Lanterns:

      

 
  • Incorporate oil lamps or stagecoach lanterns as tabletop or room decor. They add authenticity and emit a cozy, old-fashioned glow.

Themed Projection or Silhouettes: 

  • Project images or silhouettes of Western landscapes, cowboys, horses, or wanted posters onto walls or screens to enhance the theme.

Remember, safety is crucial when using any lighting setups. Always use flameless alternatives or take necessary precautions if using real candles or open flames. With a well-thought-out lighting scheme, you can transport your guests back in time to the adventurous Wild West!

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Color Scheme

Color Scheme

 

For a Wild West-themed murder mystery party, the color scheme should evoke the rustic, rugged, and adventurous spirit of the Old West. Here are some color ideas to set the tone:

 

Earthy Tones: AWDA


  • Use a palette of earthy colors such as browns, tans, and beiges for a rugged desert feel. These tones can be applied to tablecloths, decorations, and invitations.

Denim Blues:

  • Incorporate shades of denim blue, representing jeans worn by cowboys. This color can be used in napkins, banners, or smaller accents.

Rich Reds and Terracottas:

 

   

  • Reds and terracottas reminiscent of clay and desert landscapes can be used for table runners, centerpieces, or as part of costumes.

Gold and Brass Accents:

  • Introduce gold or brass accents to symbolize the lure of gold mines and the treasure hunt element. This could be in the form of tableware, candle holders, or decorative elements.

Natural Greens:


  • Touches of natural green, representing cacti and foliage, can be introduced through plants or small decorative elements.

Black and Dark Browns:

 

  • Incorporate black and dark brown as accent colors to represent the roughness of the Old West. These can be used in table settings, props, or even in costumes.

Pop of Vibrant Colors:

  • To add visual interest, consider using pops of vibrant colors like turquoise or fiery oranges for accents in centerpieces, napkins, or signage.

Balancing these colors can help create a cohesive and immersive Wild West atmosphere. Whether it’s through table settings, costumes, or decorations, incorporating these hues will transport your guests to the rugged and adventurous world of the Old West.

 

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Creating a Photo Spot

Creating a Photo Spot

   

Give your guests an unforgettable souvenir by setting up a photo area where they can capture a picture of themselves in character.

A few suggestions:

Lighting: Pick a place where there will be good lighting.


Props: Accessories and decorations can make a difference. Have some extra props on hand that your guests can pose with. Some suggestions include:

Backdrop:  An easy way to create a background is to use a “scene setter.” These affordable rolls of images transform your room instantly and make for a good backdrop to your picture.


Space: Make sure there is enough room to fit everyone into the frame.


  • For individual shots of guests, designate someone to be in charge of pictures as your guests arrive.

       

o, Consider your character list and which character would fit the role of taking the picture. I.e., if you want mugshots, perhaps ask the investigator to be in charge of taking the pictures.

  • For a group picture, take one just before the introduction is read or right after the solution is read (before people may start heading out).
     

   o These are two times when you can count on everyone being around and attentive.

 

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Utilizing the Extras

Utilizing the Extras

   

Whatever you decide on; BE SURE TO UTILIZE ALL OF THE EXTRAS THAT COME WITH THE MYSTERY — 


These are one-of-a-kind designs, ideas, templates and more that Night of Mystery has developed to help you throw your own unique and authentic mystery party.

With ordering this mystery, you will find: 

  • How to make WANTED
  • Reward and Tournament posters 
  • Saloon signs, beer & sarsaparilla (root beer) labels 
  • Personalized menu, 
  • Gold, money bags, bandana napkins
  • More elaborate nametags  
  • Recipes for various western-themed foods

 

And MORE!!!

 
 

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Setting the Scene

Menus & Music

Serve up your saloon favorites with plenty of pizzaz!

Menu Ideas

Some Saloon Snacks Worth Serving!

Snacks: beef jerky, pickles, licorice and old-fashioned, hard candy sticks are all authentic Old West snack foods. Trail mix and buffalo wings add a Wild West flavor to the appetizer menu.

Main Vittles: cowboy stew, pork ribs, steak, brisket, chicken fried steak, barbecue ribs, roast, chili, Virginia ham and buffalo steaks or burgers. Teens may enjoy sloppy joes and/or roasting hot dogs over a campfire.

Side Kicks: potato salad, cowboy potatoes, corn fritters and cowboy beans (slow-cooked barbecued beans topped with bacon and pineapple).

Sopping Material: corn bread, baking powder or sour dough biscuits. Real butter adds a nice touch.

Cowboy Sweets: Wild West dessert menus may feature Old West favorites that are still big hits today, such as berry pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie (for autumn parties) and strawberry shortcakes (for summer parties) made with sweet biscuits and topped with real whipped cream.

Belly Wash: Whiskey-infused drinks, margaritas, beer and/or Wild Wild West Cocktail (bourbon, peach schnapps and cranberry juice) for your saloon specials.

Non-alcoholic drinks popular with the times: cowboy coffee, tea, apple juice, lemonade, root beer (sasparilla) and cactus juice. To make cactus juice, pour cold lemon lime soda into a punch bowl and add lime sherbet.


RECIPES
 Follow these links below to help you create the food you wish to serve. 

Cowboy Showcase– Check out this complete western recipe resource.

Chuckwagon Recipes– The Old West’s cooking at it’s finest.


Find recipes, templates and directions to make all the western goodies pictured above easily and affordably when you buy Murder At The Deadwood Saloon.
Includes: Ideas, directions and templates on how to make gold, money bags, bandana napkins, more elaborate nametags and recipes for Cowgirl Cocktails, On-The-Trail Cheesedip, Cowboy Chili, Desert Dessert, Cactus Cake and Sheriff Badge Cookies… and much, much more.

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Serving up the Food

Tips for serving up your food!

• Serve your drinks in mason jars.

• Use bandanas as napkins. You can even use metal sheriff’s badges as napkin rings (pin one in the middle of each napkin).

• Purchase some red gingham fabric from a fabric store to use as an affordable table cloth.

• Use a real cowboy hat, turned upside down and line with a check napkin to hold chips. If you are hesitant about napkin, ysou can place bowls inside the hats instead.

• Place a small bowl in the top of a cowboy boot and fill it with salsa.Use boots of different sizes to give your salsa bar depth and variety.

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Music
Empty heading

MDS-music-Square
Click to go to the Spotify Playlist!

Saloon Music– Find some authentic tunes from the old west to play at your party. Find it here.

Cowboy Music– You can stream music from this internet station.

Cowboy Music– Play real cowboy music by the original western sweethearts Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Find it here. 

Other classic country artists Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, June Carter Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings are a few suggestions.

For Free Music– Visit your local library for a number of compilations from the time.

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Tips

All of the information regarding how to run your Murder at The Deadwood Saloon party can be found online at Night of Mystery. We highly suggest that you take time to look over our website and download the Murder at The Deadwood Saloon preview file. Upon reading the introduction file of this wild west murder mystery game, it will give you a better understanding about how the parties are run and what to expect once you purchase a full mystery file.

If you still have question, the Frequently Asked Questions page at Night of Mystery is a great resource or you can contact us.

Since our games are custom written for the size of the party (ie, we don’t just create a mystery with 8 characters and then keep adding more characters to it), each mystery size is unique unto itself. That being said, going from 10-15 version to 15-20 version, will not only add in more characters, but it will change the storylines of the existing characters, and vice-versa in going from a larger version to a smaller one.

Because of this, WE STRONGLY SUGGEST you get a guest count before formally ordering. You can do so by downloading an invitation, inviting your guests and then purchasing your mystery once you have a more accurate number of people attending. Unfortunately, if you find yourself purchasing the wrong sized party, you will have to purchase another version of the mystery for the size you want unless you are moving from the 15-20 version to the 20+ version.

You can download an invitation here before ordering.

Check out this well-thought out blog on “How to host a mystery.”

Additionally, you can always look online at our galleries for picture references OR our Party of the Month Blogs to see what other hosts and hostesses have done for their parties and learn from their experience.

Along with those tips, you can check out this blog post on how we created our own saloon decor.
For even more party planning ideas, check out our Murder at The Deadwood Saloon Pinterest Board here. It is s filled with ideas for recipes, costumes, decorations, etc. for the perfect Murder at The Deadwood Saloon!
Provide an assortment of accessories to help your guests “get into character” including: cigars, cowboy hats, boas, beads, headbands & feathers, bowler hats, eyelashes, moustaches & sideburns for disguise and water pistols for self defense.

Find recipes, templates and directions to make all the western goodies pictured above easily and affordably when you buy Murder At The Deadwood Saloon.

Includes:
Ideas, directions and templates on how to make WANTED, Reward and Tournament posters, saloon signs, beer & sarsaparilla (root beer) labels, a personalized menu, gold, money bags, bandana napkins, more elaborate nametags and recipes for various western-themed foods, and more!!!

Each month we highlight one of our customers who has posted on our blog and award them a FREE party!

To get your $5 coupon AND be entered in the Party Of the Month contest for a chance to win a FREE party, please email [email protected]

Don’t forget to add all the important details and party highlights that made your party one to remember! We love to hear about all of the hard work you, as host, put into your party. From the decor, to the food, costumes, whatever. As well as how you and your guests acted (and reacted!) throughout the night! Everything that made your party one your guests will never forget — tell us about it! And be sure to attach some pictures!!!

Upon submitting, we will email you back a coupon to use for $5 off your next party AND enter you in our “Party of the Month” contest, where you could win a FREE party! One submitted, you will not have to resubmit, but will be entered EVERY MONTH until your party wins!

Check out some of our past winners here! Night of Mystery POM Blogs

Thanks again for hosting with Night of Mystery and we can’t wait to hear all about your party!!!

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