Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Legend of Gold Dollar


Tombstone has many famous legends that once walked the dusty streets and left their mark in the Wild West history. One of the lesser known legends was that of a dancer named Gold Dollar. She was first known as Little Gertie but with her long golden blonde hair, fair complexion and earning a gold dollar as payment for services bestowed, she was given the moniker “Gold Dollar”. She danced at the Crystal Palace saloon which was located near the Bird Cage Theatre. This woman was tiny in stature but very feisty and not to be messed with. Most of the women of this era were very protective of their men and Gold Dollar was no different.
Gold Dollar had taken a shine to a local gambler, Billy Milgreen, who passed himself off as someone influential. They lived together and she considered him to be her man. She threatened harm to any woman that touched and flirted with him. The women of Tombstone were afraid the petite prostitute and stayed away from Billy.

Trouble came to town in the name of Margarita, an attractive Mexican woman. With her creamy bronze skin, this sensual, graceful, mysterious woman with long black hair immediately set her dark eyes on Billy. She took a job as a soiled dove at the Bird Cage Theatre where many of the men along with Billy, were mesmerized by her beauty.

Margarita was aware of Gold Dollar and Billy’s relationship, but it didn’t stop her from flirting with the handsome gambler. The wrath of Gold Dollar was soon bestowed upon Margarita when she got wind of the bitch’s intentions. Even though she threatened Margarita with “cutting out her heart” if she didn’t back off, and Margarita continued flirting with Billy. Knowing what Gold Dollar was capable of, he promised her that he would have nothing to do with Margarita and would ignore all her flirtations.

One evening, Billy got wind of a high stakes poker game at the Bird Cage and wanted in on the action. Gold Dollar knew that Billy made his living gambling and grudgingly allowed him to play. She was working at the Crystal Palace that night and made him promise to stay away from Margarita. Excited about playing the game, he agreed whole heartedly and ran off to the Bird Cage.

While Billy concentrated on his cards and the game, Margarita flounced gracefully across the floor towards him trying to get his attention. Billy wanted to honor his promise to Gold Dollar but had trouble keeping his mind on the game as Margarita strutted around the table. After trying to get the gambler’s attention, she decided to plunk herself in his lap and overwhelm him with kisses.

Some stories say that Gold Dollar didn’t trust Billy being able to fight off Margarita’s affections and went down to the Bird Cage to check things out for herself. Other stories are that someone told her the hussy was putting moves on her man and she ran to the Bird Cage in a fit of anger. She busted through the doors and rushed over to where they were sitting. She grabbed a fistful of Margarita’s hair and pulled her off Billy.

The mystery of these women’s past paled in comparison to how Margarita was really killed by Gold Dollar. Here is what tales have been spun about the murder. After she was pulled off Billy, Margarita fought back against the petite woman but was no match for her enraged temper. Gold Dollar pulled out a 4 inch stiletto and stabbed her in the side. Before the doctor could reach her, Margarita died from her wounds. Other stories are told that she did indeed stab her in the chest and almost cut out her heart just like she had threatened to do. Margarita fell down and died instantly. When they called for the Sheriff, Gold Dollar ran out of the Bird Cage and hid the stiletto outside the building.

No murder charges were brought upon Gold Dollar because the murder weapon was never found. She ended up quietly leaving town, followed by Billy months later. It is not known exactly how many years later the stiletto was found, but it was discovered behind the Bird Cage. That stiletto is on eminent display inside the Bird Cage Theatre.

Many that work at the Bird Cage Theatre feel Margarita’s ghost is still hanging around the building. The lingering smell of cheap lilac perfume can by detected by the employees and visitors from time to time.

17 comments:

  1. Now that's a real old west story! I loved it! I'd like to see that in a movie form.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really enjoyed that -thanks
    Mr Monkey

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned or a jealous woman.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Autumn; I have found that the lesser known notorious people from the wild west of AZ have the better stories, like Pete Spence. I read about her when I was doing research on the Bird Cage Theatre and wanted to know her story. It would definitely make a great movie.

    Mr Monkey; glad you like the story of Gold Dollar. She is one feisty little lady that you don't want to mess with.

    Jessica; you bet! Don't mess with an ill tempered soiled dove's man, it could get you killed.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cool story - gruesome way to die.

    ReplyDelete
  6. WOW! sis! What an awesome story!!!!!!!!
    Really super-appreciate you bringing this to us!!!!!!!!!!
    all the best in the world to you!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This could very well be the very first heart transplant!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Heather; I thought the story was cool too...nothing like a jealous woman's scorn, yikes!

    Devin my little bro, glad you liked it. Hope you are having a great today.

    Gabriel; at least the first one on record, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  9. thanks for the story! ilove old storieslike that, the way of life,
    the men, the women, the town, and that era. INCREDIBLE.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gold Dollars Crib is on 6th St in Tombstone, Check out the Face Book Page.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Its a good story. Almost believable, but herein lies the problem; Where is the evidence? There is no date associated with this incident. The doctor mentioned that said Margarita is dead I can't help her, has no name. There no newspaper accounts if this murder. Who was the Judge that dismissed the case because there was no murder weapon? Wells Spicer or another judge? Census records from 1870 to 1900 do not mention any Billy Milgreen, and the fact that he and Gold Dollar just disappeared just adds to mystery. Also the stiletto that is supposedly on display in the Bird Cage theater is not there according to the current owners. But this story as well as many other myths bring in the tourist, which is ok. I love the history of tombstone myself, but I just want the truth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a legend and story that has circulated around. Whether it is true or not, it is an interesting Wild West story of Tombstone that keeps the tourist coming. If you do find facts, I would love to hear about them.

      Delete
    2. Margarita was buried in the Boothill Graveyard and in the pamphlet with the list of names of who is buried there, it says she was "stabbed by Gold Dollar". That is the only written indication of her name, the rest was stories told to me by residents of Tombstone.

      Delete
  12. "Here Lies Lester Moore, Four Slugs from a 44, No Les, No More". I have a hard time believing that story as well. In the 1930's Boothill Cemetery was found in disarray, broken headstones, and debris. They cleaned it up re-painted the markers, and most likely made up a few names for unknown markers, so thus the stories to go along with the names. Not a big deal, but I do like to know the true history of Tombstone, and when history is fictionalized the true story is lost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. When I wrote this 4 years ago it was after a visit to Tombstone. I didn't do research then as much as I do now. I would like to know the true story as well. Hopefully, one day someone will come up with the facts and let us know what really happened. I appreciate your interests.

      Delete
  13. There were many fires that devastated Tombstone over the years. In 1912 the CS Fly Photography studio caught fire and Mary Fly grabbed equipment and got the shot. This is a great photo, in it you can see how ensuing winds fanned the flames. Now there is a true story.

    ReplyDelete