…but the history is not our own.
Deadlands is alternate history–a steampunk horror weird Western where the dead get up and walk and things crawl in the shadows and hiss on the night wind and the more frightened people are, the closer you can get to Hell. Graced with the tagline “the spaghetti Western… with meat!” in the early days, its history noticeably diverges from real-world history on the day that the Battle of Gettysburg was called on account of zombies.
Years later, California has mostly fallen into the ocean, the war between the States has hit a kind of cold détente, slavery has been abolished, the new superfuel (colloquially called “ghost rock” because it sounds like damned souls screaming when it burns) is driving technology forward at an unprecedented rate, and what became the United States in our world has been split into six distinct political entities.
I’m probably doing a bad job at describing it. And, let’s face it, the best description I can give it is still going to be textual. That’s not always the most evocative means of description.
And that’s okay. Know why?
They’re making a TV show.
 There are a couple of other changes that make me relieved; f’r ex, the most recent edition of the game explicitly sets out that racism and sexism in the game setting are the provenance of the villainous and shamefully ignorant. Arguably not plausible. Guess how much grief I am going to give a game that chose “implausible” over “deal with yet more unfun prejudice that is totally normalized”. Go on, guessssss.