View Full Version : Deadwood

07-17-2005, 08:58 AM
Man do I love this series!

Due to my work schedule, I really haven't watched any of the more popular series on TV over the last few years. I'm talking about the Sopranos, Six Feet Under, 24, and now Deadwood. I just couldn't find the time to sit down and watch them. And I could never remember to tape them either.

But I went out and rented the 1st season of Deadwood and I love it. But I have always had a deep love for westerns. This definitely ain't Gunsmoke or Bonanza though.

The language makes it something I wouldn't allow my kids to watch; but I think it may be as authentic as one could get to how it was back then. At least that is what rfs tells me (But he should know. I wasn't born yet) :lol:

Excellent characters...Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, William Sanderson (remember him from the Bob Newhart show), Keith Carradine, Robin Weigert (excellent Calamity Jane!).

I just finished watching the 4th episode where Powers Boothe's character enters the scene, and then Hitchcock got shot. So don't spoil any of it for me.

Gonna watch the 5th and 6th episodes today.

I'm gonna have to go out and by this!

Johnny Footstool
07-17-2005, 04:12 PM
Tim Olyphant is fast becoming one of my favorite actors. He was fantastic in "The Girl Next Door."

07-17-2005, 04:30 PM
Ian McShane rocks. He did win the Emmy for the first season. Brad Dourif and Robin Weigert are also terrific. The larger-than-life characters plus the amazing language (not the cursing) make Deadwood the best series anywhere on tv now. Season 2 was over way too fast.

07-17-2005, 04:42 PM
GAC, you seem like a perfect candidate for a DVR. Directv with Tivo is what I like. But you can rent them from your local cable companies too.

07-17-2005, 05:15 PM
I'll check RBA. But my cable company is behind the times. ;)

Is the second season over? Does HBO rebroadcast it? I'm on their site, but don't see it being broadcast.

07-17-2005, 06:15 PM
Since watching this series I started doing some historical research on some of th true-life characters portrayed in it.

Alot that is written about Hickok is of course exaggerated (and by Hickok himself). He was a notorious drunk, unemployed in his later years, who swindled people while playing cards as his source of income. He was handy with the gun, which was needed considering he lived off cheating overs while playing cards. He didn't meet Calamity Jane until he came to Deadwood. She was bartending there. She was smitten with him; but he wasn't with her.

The Deadwood in which Hickok spent his time was lawless. Hickok came there to ply his trade (card shark) and take advantage of the prospectors during the gold rush. Crime bosses estimated that local businessmen would soon ask Wild Bill to take on a job as a peace officer. Knowing he was cold-blooded, the bad guys also figured it was only a matter of time before he challenged them. What they didn't know was that his eyesight was rapidly failing; at that point in his life, Wild Bill stood a good chance of losing a stand-up gunfight. But cowed by his reputation, they decided to encourage somebody outside their circle to "do the job" for them.

On August 2, 1876, only a few weeks after his arrival in the gold camp, Wild Bill wandered into Saloon No. 10, had a drink and talked with bartender Harry Young. A poker game was in progress, with the saloon's owner Carl Mann sitting in. Hickok noticed if he took the game's lone open seat, his back would be to the front door. When one of the gamblers near the wall, a gunman called Charles Rich, declined to switch seats with the better-known Hickok, Bill gave up and took the empty chair. It was a fatal mistake.

Hickok was losing by the time Jack McCall, a barfly and odd-job man who loafed in the No. 10, slipped into the saloon, walked to within three feet of Hickok and shot him in the back of the head with a .45 he pulled from his coat pocket. The bullet passed through Wild Bill's skull and exited his right cheek before lodging in the wrist of another poker player. As Hickok fell away from the table, he spilled his hand -- pairs of black aces and eights -- known forever after as the "deadman's hand."

McCall ran into the street. Passersby grabbed and held on to him while the boys in the saloon decided what to do. In short order they convened a "miners court" -- a make-do hearing with no real legal standing. If this collection of locals thought McCall had reason to shoot Bill, they'd let him walk; if they thought otherwise, they'd lynch him.

After telling his judges that Hickok killed his brother, McCall was found not guilty. He immediately fled town. Wandering the territory, drunk, he bragged about killing the "prince of pistoleers." He told the story one too many times. Badge-wearing lawmen heard it, arrested McCall, dragged him to Dakota Territory's capital, Yankton, and had him tried. Found guilty of murder, McCall hanged March 1, 1877, and was put in an unmarked grave.

Interesting fact: George Bush, the 41st President of the United States is a descendent of Hickok's mother.

07-17-2005, 06:33 PM
Been there (Deadwood, that is, years ago on a family trip when my kids were small), done all of this research too, GAC. Interesting note about Hickok's connection to Bush.
The actor that portrays Hickok's killer appears later as another character.

07-17-2005, 08:24 PM
Here's a website that explores the fact or fiction aspects of the show. It has some really good historical info on some of the other characters. Good read. Especially on Seth Bullock.


Fictional Accounts:

Seth Bullock did not go after Bill Hickok's killer, Jack McCall. After the trial in Deadwood was found to be a farce, McCall was apprehended and taken to Yankton, South Dakota by U.S. Marshals. He was hanged for the murder of Bill Hickok on March 1, 1877. McCall was buried in Yankton with the hangmanís noose still tied around his neck.

The first season of Deadwood portrays much of the action at the Gem Saloon. However, the year is 1876 and the Gem Saloon wasn't built until April of 1877. In 1876, Al Swearengen owned a very small tavern that was called the Cricket Saloon.

It is very unlikely that Seth Bullock and Sol Star even met Wild Bill Hickok, much less befriended him. Seth and Sol arrived in Deadwood only one day before Wild Bill Hickok was shot. The timeline here is obviously skewed so Wild Bill could "stay in the picture" a little longer.

E.B. Farnum did not own a hotel in Deadwood, but rather, owned a retail store. According to old Deadwood records, he was an active businessman and mining investor. Though he was originally appointed as Mayor, a few weeks later, he actually won the election in a popular vote. It is very unlikely that he was Al Swearengen's "lackey," as all evidence suggests he was a successful businessman in his own right.

Seth Bullock marrying his brother's widow is fiction. In fact, Martha Eccles was Seth's childhood sweetheart and there is no evidence that Bullock had a brother. Seth and Martha had two daughters, Margaret an Florence, and a son named Stanley.

Jack McCall's first trial that acquitted him of murder was not held in the Gem as shown, but instead at McDaniel's Theatre.

The Reverend Henry Weston Smith, who was almost 50 years old, did not die of a brain tumor. Instead he was murdered while on the way from Deadwood to another mining camp, most likely by Indians. However, another preacher by the name of Father Mackin, who replaced Smith, did die of "softening of the brain" several months after having a spasmodic "fit" in front of the Overland Hotel.

Star and Bullock did not buy the lot for their store at Wall & Main Street from Al Swearengen. They actually bought the lot from two men by the names of Sam Schwartzwald and Henry Beaman in April of 1877.

Representations that Al Swearengen was raised in an orphanage are incorrect. His sob story to Trixie was just that. Swearengen was actually raised by his two parents and seven siblings in Iowa.

Did they really use that much foul language in the Old West?

This is a little fictional and a little factual. From our understanding, they did use bad language back then and lots of it. Especially in the mining camps that were mostly filled with rowdy men and rough characters. However, it was most likely not the words that you hear on the show, or at least not nearly as often. In those days, such words as crap, ****, damn, and ***** were considered to be very foul language. Today, these words are used in every day common language and we hear them all the time, usually taking little offense. Therefore, the show uses the "worst" words (of today) in order to get the point across.

Factual Accounts:

Wild Bill Hickok was shot by Jack McCall in a Deadwood saloon.

There was a small pox outbreak in 1876 where quarantine tents (pest houses) were established to care for the sick. Calamity Jane was instrumental in helping to care for the sick during this epidemic.

According to pioneer John S. McClintock, a Gem Theater prostitute named Tricksie shot a man through the front of his skull for beating her up. The attending doctor put a probe through the manís head, amazed that he survived the gunshot.

Calamity Jane was actually as foul-mouthed and drunk as she is portrayed in the series.

Charlie Utter was a true friend to Wild Bill Hickok. When Bill Hickok died, Charlie made all the arrangements for his funeral, bought the plot and erected the marker.

Martha Bullock arrives in camp after Seth Bullock has already been made sheriff and his hardware business is successful. Mrs. Bullock will become a pillar of Deadwood, bringing arts and culture to the town.

While George Hearst, who will one day be the head the Hearst Publishing empire, does send agents to Deadwood to inspect the claims, there is no evidence of an agent named Francis Wolcott.

Yet to Come?

There are other important events in Deadwood's history that have not yet been shown. We can only wait and watch to see how and if the series handles these events.

- Following the gold rush with all the rest, Morgan and Wyatt Earp came to Deadwood in September 1876 and stayed until the following Spring. Some say there is a confrontation between Wyatt Earp and Seth Bullock.

- In June 1877 George Hearst, who had earlier sent an agents to offer a bond to owners of the Homestake claim, buys the 4 Ĺ acre claim for $70,000.

- Mark Twain is in Deadwood in the summer of 1877.

- A new preacher, Father Mackin, comes to town to replace the dead Preacher Smith.

- Martha Bullock introduces art and culture to the town.

- Dan Doherty and Al Swearengen have a falling out and Dan opens his own saloon.

- The Bella Union shuts down in 1878, the building becomes a grocery store and meeting room.

- In 1879 a disastrous fire destroys 300 buildings in Deadwood including the Gem Theater and Star & Bullock's hardware store. Both businesses are rebuilt.

- Sol Star becomes mayor of Deadwood.

- Sol Star and Seth Bullock buy a section of land, begin ranching and start a new town called Belle Fourche.

- Seth and Martha Bullock have two more children

- Seth Bullock meets Theodore Roosevelt in 1884

07-17-2005, 09:30 PM
Been there (Deadwood, that is, years ago on a family trip when my kids were small), done all of this research too, GAC. Interesting note about Hickok's connection to Bush.
The actor that portrays Hickok's killer appears later as another character.
I was in Deadwood on a family vacation in May of 1979. We visited Hickok's and Calamity Jane's graves, which are in the same cemetery.

07-17-2005, 09:48 PM
I absolutely love that show. I've seen every episode at least three times. I'm a sucker for anything from that time period from around 1860-1900. Wild West Tech,Civil War Journal,all that stuff,just totally dig it.

07-19-2005, 03:15 PM
I'll check RBA. But my cable company is behind the times. ;)

Is the second season over? Does HBO rebroadcast it? I'm on their site, but don't see it being broadcast.Our cable company (Insight Communications) offers with their digital cable package something called "HBO On Demand."

Bascially, it's like any other on-demand PPV menus except if you already subscribe to HBO, then you can watch back episodes for free. Kinda like an HBO archive for all of their new shows.

BTW, does anybody else watch Carnivale?

Reds Fanatic
07-19-2005, 03:19 PM
I'll check RBA. But my cable company is behind the times. ;)

Is the second season over? Does HBO rebroadcast it? I'm on their site, but don't see it being broadcast. Usually HBO will rebroadcast it closer to next season. So whenever season 3 starts a few months before that they will show season 2 of Deadwood again. The only other way to see it is either on HBO in demand or when it comes out on DVD.

Reds Fanatic
07-19-2005, 03:22 PM
BTW, does anybody else watch Carnivale? Yes I watched Carnivale as well. Unfortunately that series is over they are not bringing it back for a 3rd season.

07-19-2005, 03:44 PM
None of 'em are as good as The Wire, though.