All events depicted in this original play are taken from the Skagway historical record and center on Soapy Smith’s reign over the town during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897 and 1898. Jefferson Randolph Smith was born in Georgia in 1861 and ventured west as a young man. He learned his trade as a con man during the silver and gold rushes of Colorado and eventually made it to Skagway in the fall of 1897. Here he and Colorado cohort “Rev.” John Bowers assembled what was reputed to be the largest band of thieves in North America. Skagway was described by Canadian Mountie Sam Steele as “a little better than hell on earth,” and Smith’s gang reigned supreme for nine months. Smith had a wife and family in St. Louis but he befriended Miss Belle Davenport and her “soiled doves,” Alice and Mollie in Seattle before heading North.
The Days of ’98 Show has it all: live music, singing and dancing, love and rejection, comedy and drama, and truly brings Skagway’s colorful history to life.
While his men did most of the dirty work, Soapy tried to establish himself as a solid citizen of Skagway. He contributed to the building of Skagway’s first church and founded an “Adopt a Dog” program. City surveyor Frank Reid and others saw through Smith’s good deeds and tried to run the con man and his gang out of town, but Smith was able to rally much of the business community around him. Soapy was riding high on July 4, 1898 as he rode his white horse up Broadway and then stood on the platform with the Governor of Alaska.
Four days later he was a dead man. His gang robbed a Nanaimo, British Columbia stampeder named J.D. Stewart of $2,800 in gold dust. Smith stood by his troops and refused to give the gold back. Reid’s vigilante Committee of 101 gathered at the Juneau Co. Wharf as there was no hall in Skagway big enough to contain the mob. Most of Smith’s men ran for the hills, but Soapy grabbed his Winchester and headed for the wharf to break up the meeting. You’ll witness the events leading up to this historic moment.
Duration: 1 Hour
Cost: $18 per person
Show Times: 10:30am | 12:30pm | 2:30pm | 8:00pm
Availability of show times vary by day
Please fill out the form below to reserve your tour. In the “Tour Time” field you may let us know if you would like the 10:30am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm or 8:00pm show time. We will let you know your options if it is not available at that time.