Overview: Season 2

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 10:25 pm

Episode 13: A lie agreed upon (pt. 1)

General John L. Pennington

Governor Pennington

The episode opens with Al Swearengson complaining about Governor Pennington’s recent division of the Black Hills into three separate counties. Pennington was a real man appointed to the position of Governor on Jan. 1, 1874 by President Ulysses S. Grant. During his term the gold rush began in the Black Hills while railroad construction and immigration slowed. Residents of the territory wanted to control their own politics while separatist wanted to form their own territory named “Lincoln”. After negative reports, Pennington was repositioned as collector of internal revenue where he opposed dividing the territories into two states.

Episode 14: A lie agreed upon (pt. 2)

An unnamed prostitute from Deadwood int he 19th century.

An unnamed prostitute from Deadwood in the 19th century.

In the second episode of season two Maddie and Joanie open Chez Ami, a new brothel. In actuality, there are records indicating this brothel existed. Madam Dora DuFran was Deadwood’s most successful brothel owner and runner. She emigrated from England where she began prostituting at the age of 13 or 14. Upon reaching Deadwood, DuFran had promoted herself to madam. Her girls were required to keep good hygiene and dress well. Occasionally, even Calamity Jane was employed at DuFran’s most successful brothel “Diddlin’ Dora’s.” Brothels in Deadwood often had poker, theater and entertainment downstairs and the actual brothel was held upstairs.

Episode 15: New Money

Martha was in fact the wife of Seth Bullock. They were married in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1874. Despite what the HBO series implies, Martha was not the widow of Seth’s brother, although it has been reported they were once childhood sweethearts. Upon Seth’s arrival in Deadwood, Martha and their daughter Margaret moved to Michigan to live with her parents until the town was seen suitable for a family. Preceding Margaret the couple had another daughter named Florence and a son Stanley.

Episode 16: Requiem for a Geet

General George Crook commanded many battles in South Daktoa.

General Crook tried to remove gold seekers from the Dakota territory.


In 1876 General George Crook, commander of the Department of the Platte was on a mission to remove gold hunters from the Black Hills before a treaty legalized their entry. While in Dakota Territory he battled Crazy Horse, the Third Cavalry and Fifth Infantry. After 11 days of rain and eating horsemeat the “Black Hills Daily Reporter” announced his arrival into Deadwood: “the general tone was one of good order and law, to which vice and immortality must bow.”





Episode 17: Complications

Alma Garret finds herself pregnant with Seth Bullock’s child and Trixie the whore offers her an abortion. In the 19th century the United Kingdom and United States banned abortions, although this did not slight their occurrences. The drink Trixie offered Garret was an abortifacient herb, which induces miscarriages. While none are proven fixtures, supplements such as brewer’s yeast, vitamin c, wild carrot, nutmeg and papaya were though to kill fetuses. Items such as candles, glass rods, pen-holders, curling irons, spoons, sticks, knives and catheters were all used to bleed a woman of her unborn child.

Episode 18: Something Very Expensive

Samuel Fields was known to Deadwood as the “Nigger General”. He arrived in the town in 1876 where, as an African American, he was more a minority than the Chinese immigrants. Also known as the “Shakespearean Darkey”, Fields was present at Colored Citizens Meeting. In 1878 he was arrested as a murder accomplice but was later vindicted. In August he was again arrested in connection with Millie Callison, the town’s first public school teacher, in which he was again released. In December he prevented a woman named Annie Simms from committing suicide where he regained much of his reputation. He continued work in politics where he temporarily filled the position of coroner in 1883. He was last recorded working as a bellhop in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Episode 19: E.B. Was Left Out

Deadwood's Chinatown was known as the biggest East of San Francisco.

Deadwood's Chinatown was known as the biggest East of San Francisco.

Located on the North end of Main Street, Deadwood’s Chinatown exceeded a population of 250 in its prime. Despite how they are depicted in the HBO show, the Chinese primary business consisted of wash houses and restaurants, not mining. In the 1800s the Chinese were met with a mild prejudice. Chinatown was referred to as the “Badland” as all the “bad” groups tended to live there – African Americans, Europeans and Chinese. Calamity Jane at one time even owned a shack located in the midst of Chinatown. At once being known as the largest Chinatown East of San Francisco, now it is merely a Deadwood “local legend”.

Episode 20: Childish Things

The Bone Shaker was the second model of bicycle produced in the 1880s.

The Bone Shaker was the second model of bicycle, produced in the 1880s.


Episode twenty introduces one of the biggest trend of the late 1880s: the bicycle. The “Riding Machine” was invented in 1886 and was made with a frame of wood and iron wheels. Its build made for very uncomfortable rides on cobblestone roads, hence the name “Bone-Shaker Cycle”.  Larger cities were home to arenas used to ride, much like today’s roller rinks. This model was the second renovation or the earlier “glider” and soon fell out of fashion around 1870. Most were melted down for scrap metal during World War One, but today a Bone-Shaker still intact runs at about $5,000.

Episode 21: Amalgamation and Capital

In the television show, Al Swearengen despises the idea of Deadwood being connected with the outside world. A telegraph wire was installed December 2, 1876. Two years later a telephone line connected the Times and Pioneer Newspaper offices. This connection was headed by Paul Rewman. A phone call from Deadwood to Lead cost $.50 – $.25 cheaper than a stagecoach ride between the two cities. The Pioneer reported shortly after the connection a celebration with a “large bonfire”, gathering and a bell ringing at the Grand Central Hotel.

Episode 22: Advances, None Miraculous

Season two focuses a lot around the annexation of South Dakota. Annexation is the merging of a territory into another geo-political entity. The area being “annexed” is generally a smaller territory being seized by one state and legitimized by the international community. South Dakota was admitted to the Union simultaneously as North Dakota – November 2, 1889. Now however, because of its rurality, South Dakota has one of the lowest population densities in the nation.

Episode 23: The Whores Can Come

Broken Boot Gold mine was reintroduced as a tourist destination in the 1990s after it had been closed since the early 20th century.

Broken Boot Gold mine was reintroduced as a tourist destination in the 1990s after it had been closed since the early 20th century.

Deadwood’s isolation from the rest of the world made it one of the “wildest, wickedest mining towns in the west”. At its high-point Deadwood Creek supplied work to more than 25,000 miners. Seim’s Mine was a first in Deadwood and produced and estimated 15,000 ounces in 26 years. However, its main produce was Iron Pyrite, or Fool’s Gold, which actually made more profit than gold as it is used in the process of making gold. The mine was in use from 1878-1904 and was called one of “America’s last great gold rushes”. The mine has recently reopened as a tourist attraction and is now called Broken Boot Gold Mine after a broken boot from the early 20th century was found in a shaft.

Episode 24: The Boy the Earth Talks To

Deadwood’s first school district opened in 1886. In the HBO show Martha Bullock decides to take over the school after former teacher Minnie Callison leaves town. However, in actuality Minnie Callison was brutally bludgeoned to death in her sleep on February 18, 1880. The “Nigger General” Samuel Fields was held in custody for the murder but later vindicted. She was teacher to 27 pupils.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: