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Go West

Want a few business pointers? Mosey on over to <i>Deadwood</i>.

This story appears in the November 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

As Al Swearengen sips his morning coffee, looking over the dusty town of Deadwood from the balcony of his saloon, one thing is certain: He means . Swearengen, played by Ian McShane, is a ruthless small-business owner in 's Deadwood-a series based on the real-life South Dakota town, circa 1876. Entrepreneurs, take note: You can learn a thing or two.

"Deadwood is the single best source of economic and business thinking that has ever hit popular media," says David Tufte, associate professor at Southern University's in Cedar City, Utah. But extracting business lessons from TV is nothing new. In fact, there are several books based on lessons from HBO's other hit drama, The Sopranos, while Six Feet Under features an entrepreneurial family. So what makes Deadwood so good?

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