Overview: Season 1

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 10:30 pm
hotel1Episode 1: The Pilot
In the pilot show, Deadwood, South Dakota is an introduced as an illegal settlement. Sure enough, The Treaty of Fort Laramie forbid settlements in Real Deadwood in order to protect the Lakota-Sioux land. But, as the show depicts, it was hard to keep gold prospectors out of the rich Black Hills. Many secretly swamped the Hills and soon camp was formed. Deadwood accurately shows the typical people who made camp in Deadwood; some of them based on non-fictional people. According to the site , Seth Bullock, Calamity Jane, and Wild Bill Hickock were all real Deadwood campers. Other fictional characters may not be based on Real Deadwood’s ancestors, but portrayed them to the tee. “Pilot” shows the characters of Deadwood to be rowdy and tough; concurs. Bollock is the typical entrepreneur, in real Deadwood he was sherif. Calamity Jane is the typical town drunk; in the real Deadwood she was known for her manly attire and gruff disposition. Hickock was the awesome poker player both in the show and for real.
Episode 2: Deep Water
While the show Deadwood is trying to make it as a successful camp, the real Deadwood was also blooming as one of the only settlements that was somewhat orderly, given that there was no government influence. The saloon boss, Al Swearengen runs the town with his henchmen. Since the camp was filled with unruly types, it was typical to have the most powerful men, like Swearengen running the place.
Episode 3: Reconnoitering the Rim
The show gives insight to the typical jobs within the real Deadwood. Some ways shown to make money was through gambling, prostitution, running businesses. Farnum ran the Grand Hotel, which according to the site, the Grand Central Hotel was an actual place celebrated for its balls and gatherings. In this episode, Cy Tolliver opens his own saloon in competition with Swearengen. Like in real Deadwood, many others were getting wind of Deadwood’s success in gold mining and making their way in.
Episode 4: Here was a Man
HBO’s Deadwood spares no compassion in the name of women. Like in the 1800s women were inferior to men and the show depicts that with ep07_seth_charlie_jackthe abuse of women. HBO also spares no compassion in the name of greed. In a time and place where one was on his own, foul play was common. The murders of Hickok and Mr. Garret show that nothing was more important in Deadwood than pride and money.
Episode 5: The Trial of Jack McCall
Deadwood’s first mock-trial. Some of history’s first courts were founded in 1800, so the townspeople of Deadwood got together to bring Hickok’s murderer to justice. This was a believable trial.
Episode 6: Plague
Bullock goes after McCall in vengeance and is successful. Along the was he fights an Indian, something likely to happen in the wild west. History shows that as population increases disease increases. Deadwood has its first plague in this episode: small pox. Tents were erected for the sick, like a mock hospital.ep06_groupmeeting_saloon

Episode 7: Bullock Returns to the Camp cast-seth

Bullock returns from the hunt for Jack McCall. He decides that the murderer should go to Yankton for trial, so he straps him to a horse and sends him off. Yankton was the original capitol of South Dakota. You’ll hear it referred to a lot in the show. Although, fact was that US marshals came for McCall, not Bullock, and he was hung in Yankton in 1877.  Yankton was the closest legitimate city to Deadwood. Meanwhile, with the death of her husband, Alma Garret’s claim has been desired by Swearengen. He enlists Farnum to help persuade the woman to sell. She, being just a woman in the 1800s, enlisted Wild Bill to help her manage. After his murder, Bullock replaces Wild Bill as Alma’s go to man. On the other end of camp, two youngsters stroll into town saying that they’re looking for their Pa. Tolliver tells Joanie to take the girl under her wing, while Swearengen hires the boy.  Jane, Doc, and Reverend Smith continue to mend the sick, while a group of men are off to Yankton to get vaccines.

Episode 8: Suffer the Little Children

The vaccines finally arrive. While people line up to get shots, Trixie goes missing. Doc finds her on the floor of his office passed out form an attempted suicide. I imagine with the life women back then lead, suicide was not a bad way to go…either that or some man would kill her. Remember at this point there still is no law in Deadwood. Alma considers selling her claim and going back to NY, but Bullock advisers her to stay, says he has a promise to keep to Bill. In addition, Bullock actually visits her claim and sees that it is rich! At the gem, news aint so good for those two youngsters looking for their Pa. Turns out they were robbers looking to rob both the Gem and the Bella Union; but Tolliver finds out and kills them without reprimand. I think it’s likely that this would happen. 1800s Deadwood was a dog eat dog camp, so violence was common, if not expected. It’s was then that Joanie tells Tolliver, “Kill me too, Cy, or let me go…if you don’t kill me or let me go, I’m going to kill you.”

Episode 9: No Other Sons or Daughters

Swearengen is faced with the annexation of the Black Hills so he must legitimize Deadwood; if he doesn’t, deadwood460Deadwood wouldn’t be recognized as a territory and will be lost in time. Swearengen is told by a magistrate that to legitimize Deadwood, a type of government must be concocted. At the Gem, Swearengen gathers the town leaders including Tolliver, Charlie Utter, Sol Star, Farnum, and Bullock. Farnum appoints himself mayor. In real Deadwood, Sol Star becomes mayor; but Farnum was a prominent leader in the community. Bullock is assigned sheriff. Meanwhile, Reverend Smith’s health declines due to a brain tumor. Also, Joanie sets out on her own, with prospects to open a brothel.

Episode 10: Mr. Wu

Swearengen’s opium front man is a Chinese man, Mr. Wu. Chinese settlers did exist in early Deadwood and are known to trade and sell drugs like opium. In fact, by 1880, there wes an official Chinatown in ep10_al_mrwuDeadwood. Moving one, it turns out that a dope head stole Wu’s supply of Opium and killed his courier in the process. Eager to keep Wu happy, Swearengen finds the two culprits and agrees to let Wu kill one. One Chinese for one white man is OK, but two whites for one Chinese is out of the question. Meanwhile Bullock meets with Alma. At this point in the show, there’s an obvious attraction between the two. But Bullock has to tell her he’s sending for his wife in son in a few days. Alma is upset even after Bullock explains that they are his brother’s family that he married out of convenience. In reality, Bullock was married to Martha, although she wasn’t his brother’s widow.

Episode 11: Jewel’s Boot Is Made For Walking

The Gem’s maid, Jewel heads to Doc Cochran’s place to ask him to make her a leg brace. In the next deadwood-frameepisode, he reluctantly presents her with one. Back at the Grand Central Hotel, Alma was eating breakfast with her newest employer, Ellsworth, when her father, Otis Russell shows up. He is clearly up to no good and is just after Alma’s claim. Trixie goes to the hardware store to visit Star. This is the beginning of an interesting relationship…

Episode 12: Sold Under Sin

Reverend Smith’s condition only worsens. Doc can only guess as to how to heal him since the Rev believes it is his path to walk. In the end of the episode, Al puts Rev Smith out of his misery by smothering him. At the Gem, a group of troops, including the magistrate, come in to discuss Swearengen’s standing in the camp. Meanwhile, Russell tells Alma she needs to help him get out of debt. She agrees but only if he promises to stay out of her claim. He responds, “No darling, you’ll help me, and you’ll have no such thing.”(quote from, Alma runs to tell Bullock everything. Upon hearing the news, Bullock proceeds to kick the shit out of Otis and send him back to where he came from. Then, he throws his badge in the mud, just as his wife and son pull up. Back in Chinatown, Tolliver creates problems with the Chinese. As if Al doesn’t have enough on his plate with Wu and Russell, a warrant was out for Swearengen’s arrest; and the magistrate demands 5 grand for the clearing. But Al has plans of his own. He murders the man and takes the warrant himself. Al is one bad man! He is one of my favorite characters. Bullock decides to take his badge back and continue as sheriff. He also decides to see Alma before he goes home to his “wife and son.” When she opens the door to Bullock, Alma is unable to resist him and soon the two are engaged in a steamy affair. In reality, Bullock never has an affair, because Alma is fictional. 20060608

  1. wonder if Ellsworth was a real character. There was an Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City, S.D. Don’t know if it was named after same character.

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