Calamity Jane – Bullwhacker, Scout, Sporting Girl

Portrayed by Jena Sierks

Martha Jane Cannary (or Canary), better known as Calamity Jane, was born May 1, 1852 in Princeton, Missouri. Calamity was the eldest of six children. In 1865, her father took his family west to Montana and then Utah. Martha’s mom died in 1866 followed by her father in 1877. At age 15, she was thrust into the role of caregiver.

Calamity became a legend of the West while working as a bullwhacker, scout, a stagecoach driver, and a soiled dove. Some of her tales may have been true, but most grew bigger and bigger each time she entered a saloon.

Martha eventually arrived in Deadwood with Colorado Charlie Utter’s wagon train on July 15, 1876. Although Hickok and Calamity came into town on the same wagon train (despite Calamity’s insistence) there was never a “relationship” between the two. Three weeks after arriving in the Gulch, Wild Bill was shot. Calamity died August 1, 1903.

Calamity is portrayed by the dynamic Jena Sierks. Jena and Calamity are so alike in personality; it is sometimes hard to tell where Jena ends and Calamity begins. Originally from Nebraska, Jena has lived in Deadwood since 2013, and has howled up the streets of Deadwood with Deadwood Alive since 2014.

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