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With whom the manipulation of the shell game,
decks of cards and the trigger spelled art.
                                                                                                   The Reign of Soapy Smith, 1935


This is the official website for the Soapy Smith Preservation Trust  and home of the Friends of Bad Man Soapy Smith. It is maintained by the family descendants of Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith. Our goal, through research and publication, is to reveal and preserve Soapy as an important historical figure of the late nineteenth-century American West. His story is a fascinating study in crime and the frailties of human nature. We encourage you to take a few minutes to look around and judge for yourself.

"Upon the world he made his mark, and
from him we learn how not to be one."

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Alias Soapy Smith
 The Life & Death of a Scoundrel

The Biography of Jefferson Randolph Smith II
by Jeff Smith

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"My god, don't shoot!"
                  - Soapy's last words
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The infamous Soapy Smith was a late 19th century American old west confidence man and gambler par excellence. Known as the "king of the frontier confidence men" he was beyond comparison the most artful grifter of his time. As a crime lord Soapy organized a large and powerful gang of talented scoundrels and rogues in order to assume control of the criminal underworlds in Denver and Creede, Colorado, between the years 1884 and 1895, and in Skagway, Alaska, during the Klondike gold rush of 1896-1898. In the latter he was known in the newspapers around the nation as the "uncrowned king of Skagway."

S
oapy Smith was the last of his kind, an old west crime figure who refused to give up the old ways for a constantly changing, modernizing nation. He was shot dead in a horrific gunfight while facing angry vigilantes on July 8, 1898. Four days prior, he had been the man of the hour. He had led Skagway’s first Independence Day parade as one of its grand marshals, and he stood on stage along side Alaska Territorial Governor John Brady. Four days later he died, labeled a criminal outlaw.

This is the story of a very complex criminal. Although a bad man, he was also a self-styled patriot and a charitable man, strikingly generous to those in need. He was known to his peers and enemies for his bravery and loyalty to his gang, friends, and family. His motto was "Get it while the get'in's good." In the days of the old west, no one proved more slippery.

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(site creation date May 1, 2005)
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