Following the historic discovery of gold on Bonanza Creek in August of 1896, Dawson City grew out of a marshy swamp near the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers.
Its founder was Joe Ladue a former prospector-turned-outfitter who was on the scene early. He knew from experience that merchants in gold camps prospered more than miners. He had a sawmill at the mining camp of Sixtymile and, while miners staked their claims, Ladue staked out a townsite instead.
There were miseries and tragedies along the various trails as thousands of stampeders rushed to the Klondike. Rags-to-riches stories of miners were popular subjects. Dawson had plenty of dance halls, saloons and brothels. It had tons of gold, vats of whisky, and it had gamblers and ‘scarlet women’ caught up in a riotous swirl of social activity with an international cast.