Deadwood: Season 1 (2004)

SEASON:

Season 1
Deadwood

Critics Consensus

Deadwood's absorbing first season presents a vivid, un-sanitized depiction of a frontier town that stakes its claim alongside other classic entries in the Western genre.

85%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 39

96%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 285

Rate And Review

User image

Verified

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this season

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of this tv season? (optional)



  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Step 2 of 2

    How did you buy your ticket?

    Let's get your review verified.

    You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this season

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of this tv season? (optional)

  • How did you buy your ticket?

Episodes

Air date: Mar 21, 2004

On the night that Sheriff Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) and his friend and business partner, Sol Star (John Hawkes), plan to leave Montana for Deadwood, with plans to open a hardware store, Bullock is faced with a dilemma. He's got Clell Watson (James Parks), a horse thief due to be hanged the next morning, in his jail, and an angry mob outside that wants to kill Watson in a less orderly fashion. After dealing with the situation bravely and honorably, Seth and Sol set out a little earlier than planned. Also among the many making their way to the lawless frontier town are legendary gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok (Keith Carradine) and his cohorts, Calamity Jane (Robin Weigert) and Charlie Utter (Dayton Callie). Already making his mark in town, Whitney Ellsworth (Jim Beaver), a prospector, is talking to the owner of the Gem, Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) about his gold claim. "I don't trust you as far as I can throw you," Ellsworth, a fair judge of character, tells Al, "but I enjoy the way you lie." Al's attention is quickly diverted when one of his prostitutes, Trixie (Paula Malcolmson), guns down an abusive john. He's also involved in conning Brom Garret (Timothy Omundson), a wealthy New Yorker, into buying a seemingly worthless gold claim. Seth and Sol arrive in town, and rent a space for their store from Al, to whom Seth takes an almost immediate dislike. Bill seems eager to spend all his time losing all his money at poker to the obnoxious Jack McCall (Garret Dillahunt), but when a family is found slaughtered not far from town, presumably by Sioux, he joins Seth on a ride out to the scene of the carnage. The premiere episode of Deadwood was directed by Walter Hill (The Long Riders).

View Details
Air date: Mar 28, 2004

With Ned Mason killed by Bill (Keith Carradine) and Seth (Timothy Olyphant), it seems clear that the Metz family was killed by road agents, and not Sioux. Al (Ian McShane) knows that the trail could lead back to him, and calls in Ned's brother, Tom (Nick Offerman), and his partner, Persimmon Phil (Joe Chrest), to discuss the matter. Worried about Bill's influence on Deadwood, Al tries to convince Tom to avenge his brother's death. Al is also concerned about what the little girl (Breeseanna Wall) will say if she regains consciousness, so while Doc Cochran (Brad Dourif) is tending to his whores, Al pays a visit to the doc's, where Jane (Robin Weigert) has been left to stand guard over the child. Sensing Jane's fear of him, Al warns her not to interfere with him. "If I take a knife to you," he says, "you'll be scared worse and a long time dying." Al sees that the girl is now awake, and dispatches his underling Dan Dority (W. Earl Brown) to deal with the situation. Doc, meanwhile, is also dispensing laudanum to Alma Garret (Molly Parker), who seems to have developed a dangerous habit. Her husband, Brom (Timothy Omundson), after an encounter near his claim with Ellsworth (Jim Beaver), realizes that he's been duped, and suspects Al. He decides to go to Bill for help. Sol (John Hawkes) tries to negotiate to buy their plot for the store, but Seth's temper, and Al's paranoia about their connection to Bill hamper his efforts. Charlie (Dayton Callie) encourages Seth's budding friendship with Bill, telling Seth that while he shares many traits with Bill, Seth also somehow manages to "get along with people, turn a dollar, look out for yourself."

View Details
Air date: Apr 4, 2004

Al (Ian McShane) is upset when a new brothel, the Bella Union, opens up across the street. He goes over to meet the proprietor, Cy Tolliver (Powers Boothe), along with the woman who runs his whores, Joanie Stubbs (Kim Dickens), and the man who runs his gaming operation, Eddie Sawyer (Ricky Jay). Al expresses his concerns about the overlap, but Cy casually dismisses them, explaining that the more upscale Bella Union offers a "different atmosphere" from the Gem. Al, unsatisfied, tries to find out who betrayed him by arranging the sale. E.B. Farnum (William Sanderson), who owns the hotel, and brokered the sale for profit, is understandably worried about his continued health. Brom (Timothy Omundson) tells Bill (Keith Carradine) and Charlie (Dayton Callie) about how Al duped him. Bill explains that there's little he can do about it, and Charlie notes that there was a large stain on the floor of his hotel room when he checked in, noting of the fella who sold Brom the claim, "He may have checked out short a useful amount of blood." Charlie, planning to leave for Cheyenne, and worried about Bill, tries to arrange a dinner with Seth (Timothy Olyphant) and Sol (John Hawkes), while they continue negotiations to buy their plot from Al so that they can begin building their store. Brom refuses to accept his losses and leave town, despite Alma's (Molly Parker) concerns. He confronts Al directly, demanding his money back. Al, pleading ignorance, but worried that Brom will call in the Pinkertons, offers to refund Brom's money if Dan (W. Earl Brown) and Brom thoroughly "reconnoiter the rim" of his claim, and find no trace of gold. "Make it look like an accident," Al advises Dan before the two set out.

View Details
Air date: Apr 11, 2004

Bill's (Keith Carradine) luck has taken a turn. In a poker game at the new Bella Union, he cleans out Jack McCall (Garret Dillahunt), who does not take it well, even after Bill kindly gives him a dollar to get some food. Seth (Timothy Olyphant), busy building the hardware store, tells Bill that once things are settled, he'll send for his wife and son. Dan (W. Earl Brown) brings Brom's body back to town. Alma (Molly Parker) demands to have Doc Cochran (Brad Dourif) examine the body for signs of foul play. The doc refuses to speculate as to how Brom's head injuries were incurred, urging her to return to New York. Farnum (William Sanderson), on orders from Al (Ian McShane), who's learned of the claim's real worth, offers to buy it from Alma, further flaming her suspicions. She goes to Bill for advice, and he pays a visit to Al. After giving Al the impression that he can be bought, Bill returns to Alma, and recommends Seth (Timothy Olyphant) as a trustworthy person to investigate her claim. Ellsworth (Jim Beaver), who witnessed the "accident," asks Dan to alert him if he's in any danger. Andy Cramed (Zach Grenier) arrives at the Bella Union, trying to conceal a serious illness from his partners, Cy (Powers Boothe) and Eddie (Ricky Jay), but revealing to Joanie (Kim Dickens) that he's very ill, and that it's probably not a good idea to touch him. Alma, guilt-ridden, explains to Jane (Robin Weigert) that she only married Brom to help her father with his debts. Charlie (Dayton Callie), before he leaves for Cheyenne, tries once more to steer Bill off his path of self-destruction. "Can you let me go to hell the way I want to?" Bill pleads.

View Details
Air date: Apr 18, 2004

Wild Bill Hickok is dead, and the people of Deadwood prepare to try the man who murdered him, Jack McCall (Garret Dillahunt). Discussing the "hoople-heads," Al (Ian McShane) tells Cy (Powers Boothe), "Sometimes I wish we could just hit 'em over the head, rob 'em, and throw their bodies in the creek." Cy sardonically replies, "But that would be wrong." Al is worried about trying and possibly executing McCall in town, because it might irk some people in Washington to see Deadwood enforcing its own laws. Still, he agrees to hold the trial at the Gem, while making his view of things clear to the judge. Seth (Timothy Olyphant) struggles to keep his anger in check until a verdict comes down. Alma (Molly Parker), upset with Jane (Robin Weigert) for abandoning her while she cares for the girl (Breeseanna Wall), asks E.B. (William Sanderson) to help her find someone to replace Jane. E.B. goes to Al, and, informing him of the widow's laudanum habit, suggests that Trixie (Paula Malcolmson) could help Alma with the child, while encouraging her along in her habits. Cy, worried about Andy (Zach Grenier) scaring or infecting his customers, has him brought out into the woods and left to die, angering Joanie (Kim Dickens). Doc (Brad Dourif) threatens to spread word of smallpox unless Cy sends someone to Fort Kearney to obtain vaccine. Jane finds Andy in the woods. At trial, McCall testifies that Bill murdered his brother sometime back; he's not quite sure when. After Bill's funeral, Reverend Smith (Ray McKinnon) has a seizure.

View Details
Air date: Apr 25, 2004

Seth (Timothy Olyphant) is out looking for Jack McCall when he's ambushed and nearly killed by a Sioux warrior. Later, Charlie (Dayton Callie), returning from Cheyenne, finds Seth, and Seth gives him the bad news about Bill. Charlie had already heard rumors, but tells Seth, "As often as he wasn't before, I'd hoped he wasn't this time, too." Back in Deadwood, Al (Ian McShane) has a customer with smallpox, and after conferring with Doc (Brad Dourif) and Cy (Powers Boothe), he calls a town meeting at the Gem to discuss the impending crisis. After seeing how she cared for Andy (Zach Grenier) without becoming infected, Doc asks Jane (Robin Weigert) to join Reverend Smith (Ray McKinnon) (who is suffering his own ailment) in helping care for the sick. E.B. (William Sanderson) manages to get Trixie (Paula Malcolmson) away from Alma (Molly Parker) long enough to get a good look at the widow, and recognize that she is not high. He relays this information to Al, who is uninterested in what might motivate Trixie to deceive him ("I'd rather try touching the moon than take on a whore's thinking"), but warns her that she'll pay if the widow doesn't keep using. Joanie (Kim Dickens) meets Ellsworth (Jim Beaver) when he stops into the Bella Union and tells her about his gold claim. When she isn't put off by his profanity, Ellsworth tells her, "Thank you for allowing me my full range of expression." When Cy later catches her discouraging Ellsworth from gambling all his money away, he expresses his frustration with her recent moodiness. "That's the way I always wanna touch you, just like that," he tells her, gently stroking her cheek. "Don't make me do it different."

View Details
Air date: May 2, 2004

Seth (Timothy Olyphant) and Charlie (Dayton Callie) manage to track down Jack McCall (Garret Dillahunt). After dealing with him, they head back to Deadwood. A young brother and sister, Miles (Greg Cipes) and pretty Flora (Kristen Bell of Veronica Mars), arrive in town, looking for their long-absent father. Unable to find him, Miles takes a job sweeping up at the Gem from an unusually generous Al (Ian McShane). Dan (W. Earl Brown) takes a particular interest in Flora, as does Joanie (Kim Dickens), when Flora makes her way across the street to look for her father at the Bella Union. Surprisingly, while she declined to take work as a prostitute at the Gem, she seems willing to have Joanie take her under her wing. Al calls Trixie (Paula Malcolmson) back to the Gem after noticing Alma's (Molly Parker) apparent sobriety on her way to her husband's funeral. Trixie admits to helping Alma get off dope, claiming it was for the sake of the little girl (Breeseanna Wall). E.B. (William Sanderson) finally realizes that Al wants Alma's claim back because there's gold there, and convinces Al to offer him a percentage to get Alma to sell. Andy (Zach Grenier) has nearly fully recovered thanks to the ministrations of Doc (Brad Dourif) and Smith (Ray McKinnon), but mostly thanks to Jane (Robin Weigert). He returns to the Bella Union to get his things, but rejects Cy's (Powers Boothe) offer to start working together again. Seth returns to town. Having been unable to find someone to assay Alma's claim, he decides to ask Al for a recommendation. "Get his opinion, too," Sol (John Hawkes) tells Seth, "who should guard that henhouse we're gonna build." Trixie angrily confronts Alma about putting her own desires above the welfare of the child.

View Details
Air date: May 9, 2004

Al (Ian McShane), cleaning a bloodstain off the floor of the Gem, offers some advice. "You might, Dan (W. Earl Brown), want to learn how to indicate interest in a girl without murdering another person." E.B. (William Sanderson) has murder on his mind, suggesting to Al that offing Seth (Timothy Olyphant) and Alma (Molly Parker) in their sleep might be the best way to gain control of Alma's gold claim. But then smallpox vaccine arrives in the camp, along with news of a probable treaty with the Sioux, and Al, sensing a change of times, preaches patience. "We are about to be swimming in money," he tells E.B. Alma, having taken Trixie's (Paula Malcolmson) words to heart, is ready to accept E.B.'s bid and return with the girl (Breeseanna Wall) to New York, but Seth insists on assaying her claim first. Ellsworth (Jim Beaver) is just the man to do it, but at the claim, he lets Seth get far enough ahead of him that he can say to Dan, "If I'm to get my throat cut...I'd rather not exert myself further." With Dan's reassurance, Ellsworth points out a rich vein of gold to Seth. Trixie, meanwhile, has apparently decided that her prospects for continued survival in Deadwood are poor. On returning to camp, Seth meets with Al, who tells him, "If a treaty is signed, it'd be wise for you and me to paddle in the same direction." Seth wants Al to guarantee Alma's safety, and he does. Flora (Kristen Bell), knowing that Cy (Powers Boothe) suspects her, convinces Miles (Greg Cipes) that it's time for them to make their move. Joanie (Kim Dickens) tries to protect her, but as Cy puts it to one dismayed onlooker, "You could help your delicate sensibilities by turning the f*ck away."

View Details
Air date: May 16, 2004

Magistrate Claggett (Marshall Bell) arrives in Deadwood from Yankton to speak with Al (Ian McShane) about the government's plans for the camp. Claggett tells Al that it could work out so that a citizen can have title to any land by simple usage, and suggests that some sort of ad hoc government in the town might help their cause. Al just wants to know who to bribe, and how much, and Claggett gives him a list, adding that a warrant's reached Yankton charging Al with a murder in Chicago. Claggett is willing to quash the warrant for a price. And so, Al gathers the camps leaders at the Gem to appoint government positions, and determine how funds will be raised to pay the bribes. E.B. (William Sanderson) nominates himself for mayor, while Seth raises his hand for health commissioner (to avoid being chosen for sheriff), and Charlie (Dayton Callie), who's just opened up his freight and delivery service, ends up the fire commissioner. Sol (John Hawkes) also makes note that Trixie (Paula Malcolmson) has returned to the Gem, and goes back there to see her later. Eddie (Ricky Jay) and Joanie (Kim Dickens) are both upset with Cy (Powers Boothe) over how he dealt with Flora and Miles. Joanie makes plans to open her own brothel in town, with Cy's backing. While looking for a place, she runs into Charlie, who is also nervous about his new business. Smith's (Ray McKinnon) health continues to deteriorate, and he finally goes to see the doc (Brad Dourif). Seth tells Alma (Molly Parker) about his family. Jane (Robin Weigert), inebriated, rejects Charlie's job offer, and expresses a desire to leave the camp. "I will not be a drunk where he's buried," she tells Charlie, "and I cannot stay f*cking sober."

View Details
Air date: May 23, 2004

Seth (Timothy Olyphant) is not happy in his new post as health commissioner. He proposes a town dump and infirmary to the mayor, E.B. (William Sanderson), whose lack of interest sends Seth to make his case to the media, in the form of A.W. Merrick (Jeffrey Jones). Seth is also looking into purchasing another piece of property in camp. Smith's (Ray McKinnon) health continues to deteriorate. He seems soothed by the music of the new piano at the Gem, but Al is forced to throw him out to keep him from humiliating himself. Doc (Brad Dourif) explains that the reverend has a tumor, and there's nothing to be done. Joanie (Kim Dickens) tells Eddie (Ricky Jay) that she doesn't want to take Cy's (Powers Boothe) money for her new place. Eddie offers to steal from Cy to back her himself. One of Mr. Wu's (Keone Young) couriers is killed and robbed of some dope that was meant for Al's (Ian McShane) business. Al agrees to help Wu track down and punish the thieves. Soon enough, he determines that a dope fiend in his employ, Jimmy Irons (Dean Rader-Duval), collaborated on the murder/robbery with one of Cy's underlings, Leon (Larry Cedar). This presents a dilemma for Al. As he explains to Wu, if he turns over two white men for one dead Chinese, "When they finish stringing you up, they'll come get me." Al goes to Cy for advice, but Cy is unsympathetic. Because Cy doesn't have to maintain a business relationship with Wu, he "can stand on principle." In other words, as Cy puts it, "A white dope fiend is still white." Al has more trouble when Magistrate Claggett's bagman, Silas Adams (Titus Welliver), arrives from Yankton with a demand for more money to make Al's murder warrant disappear.

View Details
Show More Episodes

Deadwood: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

A potent and profane Western about a late-1870s South Dakota settlement in the aftermath of Little Big Horn, as Seth Bullock arrives in town.

News & Interviews for Deadwood: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Deadwood Season 1

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (23)

Like a Shakespeare play, you may not understand every word, but you'll really like how they say it.

Feb 18, 2020 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

The series, which runs for 12 episodes, has a very limited emotional range. That's good if you're playing poker and bad if you're trying to involve viewers.

Feb 18, 2020 | Full Review…

The salty talk overwhelms the plot twists and ultimately deadens Deadwood. Milch has defended the language by saying real Old West figures spoke with astounding profanity and obscenity. Maybe they did, but Milch seems to be showing off.

Feb 18, 2020 | Full Review…

Deadwood is a funny show alright, but that's because, in the unflagging brilliance of its execution, it fulfills its ambition.

Jun 11, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Dourif steals every scene he's in, and Weigert finds in Calamity Jane an unusual toughness that makes her more credible than in previous incarnations.

Jun 7, 2018 | Full Review…

The language, and the characters, will take some getting used to, but get used to them. It's the kind of rich tapestry that rewards repeated viewings.

Jun 1, 2018 | Full Review…

Deadwood, skillfully shot in muted colors that are almost sepia in tone, is rough, tough and uncompromising -- be warned, the language is fierce enough to give a stoker the vapors.

Feb 19, 2020 | Full Review…

A cast of flamboyant characters, including Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, make up a colorful and lively world where anything can happen. Which is precisely why it's so much fun to watch.

Feb 19, 2020 | Full Review…

Dead good in fact.

Feb 18, 2020 | Full Review…

The show has taken its sweet, foul-mouthed time in getting up to speed, but, if Milch's scholarship can be trusted, we are being treated to a remarkably frank picture of life on the jagged edge of the West.

Feb 18, 2020 | Full Review…

Its extreme words and action won't seem too out of place after The Sopranos, though there's much less humor. Once the strong stories of the lawless mining town start to unfold, it will grab you.

Feb 18, 2020 | Full Review…

Look at the introduction as an overly long handshake with a huge cast of characters, then take notice of how tedious such an elaborate setup can be, even one punctuated by thundercracks of violence.

Feb 18, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Deadwood: Season 1

  • Aug 28, 2020
    Timothy Olyphant acting was awesome and I really liked him. Season 1 was Perfectly crafted and showed me a beautiful golden mine city - "Deadwood".
  • Jul 05, 2020
    In the long run Deadwood simply has too many routinely boring episodes.
  • Feb 06, 2020
    Wow. I don't know why they cancelled this show.
  • Nov 14, 2019
    Excellent series. What you're looking for.
  • Oct 15, 2019
    The first season of Deadwood was a finely crafted period piece, with intense performances from Ian McShane and Timothy Oliphant. There was a scene in one of the later episodes where Ian McShane goes on a long monologue while getting a BJ that was pretty amazing. I also thought Brad Dourif and Robin Weigert were great, even out-acting the leads at some points. There were some moments when things tended to drag, like when they would have dinner or drink coffee, even though I know this is to set a mood and atmosphere, like we're watching everyday life back then, but I hope the next seasons cut down on this.
  • Aug 13, 2019
    Para ser basada en la vida real es una gran adaptación con unos personajes muy bien definidos y un gran papel de Ian McShane
  • Feb 13, 2019
    The show started off great, but then slowly got more and more boring (to an extent). It was still a very very good first season, and the premise has so much potential, I just hope they're able to realize that in seasons 2 and 3. The characters are interesting, namely Ian McShane's Al Swearenger. Imo the show neds more violence and conflict, and at a faster pace... the pacing of the first season was bad.
  • Jun 09, 2018
    ONe of the greatest television sEries to ever grace the airWaves. Stands toe to toe with the wiRe, The americans, and The WeSt wing - or whatever your top tv shows of all tIme may be - this is not to be missed.
  • Feb 03, 2018
    I really do wish the series lasted more then three years, but then again maybe it would have declined and been a mockery of itself if it had. Set in the town of Deadwood in 1876 where it tells the tale of the town going from open frontier with gold strikes, and how the people living there got along. Fun side note, many of the characters in the series were there in real life (and by default are real people). No, it isn’t a documentary, yes it is full of violence and sex (and let’s be honest, it doesn’t stay too close to the truth either). It starts with following Timothy Olyphant (of Justified fame) as he arrives in town. Then it truly becomes a full ensemble cast with Brad Dourif playing the Doc, Ian McShane playing Al Swearengen, Molly Parker as Alma Garrett and even Keith Carradine as the doomed Wild Bill Hickok. There are a ton of other famous or semi-famous actors and actresses you will see, but there are so many I can’t really list them all. The show is as good as it sounds. The acting is superb. By the third season the actors play off each other with just a word or a motion. There was so much put into each character that you could read what they were thinking and they could sometimes have conversations with each other that were in depth without more then a few words. The filming was good, and the direction as well obviously. I am saddened that so many people have not seen it. I was especially impressed that rape didn’t play a bigger role, after all that is what most westerns are unfortunately built upon. Not saying that some things didn’t happen, but for what the show was (the Sopranos in the old west) it stayed away from that most of the time. The only thing I thought hurt the show was bringing in Powers Boothe and his whole crew. Not that there weren’t good stories, and definitely not because of Mr. Boothe (he is great), but it took away from main characters in the beginning. While I started watching the show for Mr. Olyphant, I ended the show with Ian McShane (Swearengen) as my favorite character. Pros: Great acting, directing, story and sets. Cons: Perhaps too many secondary stories and plots and too many characters by mid-second season. Now to find some more Ian McShane work.
  • Jan 02, 2018
    For those with an appetite for gritty, complex, historical fiction television, this is perhaps the best series ever made. The main characters are all complex and well-developed. The production values are top-notch. The stories are personal, but often set against a context of broader, 'bigger world' motivations. Excellent, all the way around.

News & Features