Deadwood: Season 2 (2005)


Season 2

Critics Consensus

Amid the grit and lawlessness, season two of Deadwood offers a richly textured portrait of an Old West community buoyed by its talented ensemble cast.



Critic Ratings: 25


Audience Score

User Ratings: 163

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Air date: Mar 6, 2005

Martha (Anna Gunn) and William Bullock (Josh Eriksson), Seth's (Timothy Olyphant) wife and son, make their way to the camp in a coach accompanied by Maddie (Alice Krige), Joanie's (Kim Dickens) new partner in an upscale brothel. In Deadwood, Seth is dealing with a shooting at the No. 10, involving a prank that went wrong. Al (Ian McShane) is angry to learn that the feds have appointed three commissioners to oversee the territory, and all of them are from Yankton. He expects Seth to be playing a prominent role in the camp's future, and is disappointed that Seth seems preoccupied with the worst-kept secret in camp -- his affair with Alma (Molly Parker). Al expresses his disappointment to Seth in the crudest terms, and from the balcony of the Gem, prompting Seth to pay a visit. Al questions Seth about why Alma is sending her gold out of town instead of putting it to use in the camp, but it's too late for rational conversation. Seth is insulted, and is determined to fight with Al. Their brutal combat is interrupted by the arrival of the coach, but not before Dan (W. Earl Brown) intervenes, prompting both Sol (John Hawkes) and Charlie (Dayton Callie) to take a run at Johnny (Sean Bridgers), who, unfortunately, wields a shotgun. Cy (Powers Boothe), meanwhile, is less than thrilled at the new arrivals in camp -- Maddie and her new whores -- and enraged that Joanie did not notify him of her plans, finding another backer for her move. "It's kill you or let you go," Cy tells her as he bitterly mulls his options. "Could I make it with you dead?"

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Air date: Mar 13, 2005

In the wake of Martha (Anna Gunn) and William's (Josh Eriksson) arrival, Seth (Timothy Olyphant) tells Alma (Molly Parker) that they must either leave the camp immediately or "remain and sever connection." He wants Alma to decide their course, and gives her a few hours to do so. Trixie (Paula Malcomson) is tending to the wounded Sol (John Hawkes), who suggests to Seth that if he left with Alma, it would be out of shame, not love. "You think shame will end when you clear the camp?" he asks. Alma confides in the tutor she's hired for Sophia (Bree Seanna Wall), Miss Isringhausen (Sarah Paulson), who suggests that Seth might not be planning to take Sophia along with them for their adventurous life on the run. Charlie (Dayton Callie), fearful of Seth's temper, tries to forestall Seth's returning to the Gem to retrieve his gun and badge. Silas (Titus Welliver) tells Al (Ian McShane) that the powers in Yankton are worried about Seth's prominence in the camp, because Seth has powerful connections in Montana, which could annex the territory instead of Dakota. Al, whose health problems extend well beyond the injuries incurred in his fight with Seth, refuses to talk to the Doc (Brad Dourif) about his difficulty passing water. Dan (W. Earl Brown), feeling increasingly threatened by Silas, picks a fight when Silas' old partner, Hawkeye (Monty Henson), arrives in camp. Later, Al reassures him, "Whatever looks ahead of grievous abominations and disorder, you and me walk into it together, like always."

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Air date: Mar 20, 2005

Al (Ian McShane) is apparently suffering from kidney stones, and his health has worsened to the point where he cannot speak. He has locked himself in his office, and writhes on the floor in agony as his minions knock and deliver news, uncertain as to what to do. Francis Wolcott (Garret Dillahunt, who played Jack McCall in season one) arrives in the camp, looking to buy gold claims, and is immediately taken for a fish by E.B. (William Sanderson), who offers to sell Wolcott the last letter written by Wild Bill Hickok, falsely claiming that it makes reference to a massive find. Maddie (Alice Krige) knows precisely who Wolcott is, and tells Joanie (Kim Dickens), who is dismayed to learn that Maddie had a hidden motive for coming to Deadwood. Wolcott is a "specialist" who has a particular fondness for one of Maddie's girls, and who has been known to become violent with whores. He is also a talented geologist in the employ of the ruthless and powerful mining magnate George Hearst, and it's clear that Maddie plans to use his perverse interests against him. Alma (Molly Parker) tells Ellsworth (Jim Beaver) that she's thinking of buying E.B.'s hotel, mainly because she despises E.B. and would like to see him out in the street. She also decides to fire Miss Isringhausen (Sarah Paulson), complaining about the young woman's "air of disapproval." Trixie (Paula Malcomson) asks Sol (John Hawkes) to teach her accounting. Wolcott enlists both E.B. and Cy (Powers Boothe) to circulate rumors about the validity of the camp's gold claims.

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Air date: Mar 27, 2005

Trixie (Paula Malcomson) is tending to Al (Ian McShane), whose condition is worsening. Doc (Brad Dourif) decides that he may have to perform surgery, which Al would stand little chance of surviving. Ellsworth (Jim Beaver) catches Wolcott (Garret Dillahunt) snooping around at Alma's (Molly Parker) claim and confronts him. Ellsworth is painfully familiar with George Hearst's operation, and makes his disposition toward Hearst quite clear. Lawrence County Commissioner Hugo Jarry (Stephen Tobolowsky) arrives from Yankton, and confirms to Cy (Powers Boothe) and Wolcott that the gold claims will be validated. Panicked prospectors are selling their claims to Cy, who is acting as a front for Hearst. When Alma notes the air of panic in the camp, Ellsworth reassures her. "Panic's easier on the back than the short-handed shovel," he jokes, before noting that Hearst's man's presence in the camp might have something to do with the rumors that have been circulating. E.B. mentions to Alma that the camp is in peril, and she coolly offers to buy his hotel, sending him into his own personal panic. Sol (John Hawkes) suggests to Seth (Timothy Olyphant) that they could use Alma's holdings as collateral to open a bank in Deadwood, but Seth doesn't want to involve Alma. Mr. Lee (Philip Moon), another of Hearst's employees, arrives in camp and makes his presence know in "Celestials' Alley," much to Wu's (Keone Young) dismay. Miss Isringhausen (Sarah Paulson), having lost her job, turns to an unlikely source for help. Carrie (Izabella Miko), the whore Wolcott likes, arrives in camp. Joanie (Kim Dickens) expresses further trepidation about Maddie's (Alice Krige) plot.

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Air date: Apr 3, 2005

Al (Ian McShane) regains consciousness, but he's in bad shape. Alma (Molly Parker) learns that she's pregnant, and, feeling that Doc (Brad Dourif) has been judgmental with her, she turns to Trixie (Paula Malcomson). Alma explains that she wants children of her own, but she has a physical deformity that could endanger her life if she tried to bear a child. Trixie later upbraids Doc about his attitude, and urges him to see Alma. Samuel Fields (Franklyn Ajaye), who calls himself the "Nigger General," arrives in camp to return a horse to Hostetler (Richard Gant), and befriends Jane (Robin Weigert) over an afternoon drink. Miss Isringhausen (Sarah Paulson) tells Silas (Titus Welliver) that she fears Alma. She claims that Alma admitted to killing her husband, and named Al as her instrument. When she then asks to meet Al, Silas moans, "Why do I feel lucky we didn't meet across a poker table?" Doris (Erica Swanson) reports to Cy (Powers Boothe), who is intrigued to learn of Wolcott's (Garret Dillahunt) disturbing activities at the Chez Amis. Jarry (Stephen Tobolowsky) gives Merrick (Jeffrey Jones) a notice about the validity of the camp's gold claims to print on the front page of the paper. Merrick, recognizing that the notice will only foster more confusion about the claims (as per Jarry's intentions), decides to dissociate his paper from the notice by simply posting it outside his office. The posting gets a number of claim holders riled up. Cy stops by and offers to buy their claims, but they're more interested in seeking revenge upon the author of the statement, Jarry. Led by Steve the Drunk (Michael Harney), the mob goes after Jarry, and when Seth (Timothy Olyphant) protects the commissioner, they turn their attention elsewhere.

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Air date: Apr 10, 2005

Alma (Molly Parker) proposes the formation of a bank in Deadwood, with Sol (John Hawkes) as chief officer. She also has a bout of morning sickness in the presence of Sol and Ellsworth (Jim Beaver). When Sol reports the news to Seth (Timothy Olyphant), he's less than thrilled. Merrick (Jeffrey Jones) gives a very informative tour of the camp to Mary Stokes (Carla Bianchi), the new schoolteacher. When Ellsworth approaches Trixie (Paula Malcomson) to discuss Alma's predicament, she proposes an interesting solution. Al (Ian McShane), feeling stronger, holds meetings with several prominent people in camp. Trixie tells him about the bank. E.B. (William Sanderson) reluctantly tells him about the apparent partnership between Cy (Powers Boothe), Wolcott (Garret Dillahunt), and Jarry (Stephen Tobolowsky). Miss Isringhausen (Sarah Paulson) tells him the fascinating story of how Alma admitted to hiring Al to kill her husband. Al quickly recognizes that Isringhausen is working for the Pinkerton Agency. They want to pay Al to implicate Alma in Brom's death, after which they'll let him escape with their money. He asks for some time to think about it. Al also meets with Lee (Philip Moon) in an effort to gauge how much "juice" he's got. Steve (Michael Harney), angry at Seth for stopping him from tarring and feathering the innocent Fields (Franklyn Ajaye), plans his own unique form of vengeance involving the sheriff's horse. Jarry is angry at Cy because Cy didn't protect him from the angry mob. Merrick pays a price for his refusal to print Jarry's notice. Cy, perhaps realizing his advantage has slipped a bit, makes insinuations to Wolcott about his reputedly violent dealings with the whores. When Cy threatens to inform Wolcott's employer, George Hearst, Wolcott is provoked to take drastic action.

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Air date: Apr 17, 2005

Merrick (Jeffrey Jones) complains to Al (Ian McShane) about the vandalism at his office, which scared off the new schoolteacher. Al smacks him. "You got more punishment in store," he says. "Stand it like a man, and give some back." Al goes to Alma (Molly Parker) and tells her about how Miss Isringhausen is trying to get him to implicate her in Brom's murder. Alma initially thinks that Al is trying to shake her down, but Al makes it clear that he's on her side, because he doesn't want Hearst taking over the camp. Cy (Powers Boothe) enlists Leon (Larry Cedar) and Con (Peter Jason) to drum up interest in the Chinese whores that Lee (Philip Moon) has brought in. Joanie (Kim Dickens) lets Cy know that she won't make trouble for Wolcott (Garret Dillahunt) over bloodshed at the Chez Amis. She does confide to Charlie (Dayton Callie), who decides to pick a fight with Wolcott and mete out punishment himself in the thoroughfare. This worries Cy, who recommends that Al call a town meeting to discuss the camp's attitude toward the powerful George Hearst and his proxies. Cy tells them that if Hearst doesn't like the way they treat his people, he can have them replaced. E.B. (William Sanderson) is offended at not being invited to the meeting, but Al, as always, has his reasons. Wolcott tells Doc (Brad Dourif) that he has Wild Bill's last letter in his possession, and Doc relays the message to Charlie. This episode was directed by Michael Almereyda.

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Air date: Apr 24, 2005

Al (Ian McShane) and Seth (Timothy Olyphant) discuss the possibility of using Seth's purported Montana connection to get them more leverage with Yankton. Seth reluctantly agrees to play along. Wolcott (Garret Dillahunt) writes to George Hearst to let him know they've bought up every major gold claim in the region except Alma's (Molly Parker), and that they haven't yet reached the point where they can bring in Chinese labor and start operating 24 hours a day. In the meantime, Captain Turner (Allan Graf) is keeping the Cornish workers in line. Wolcott meets with Mose Manuel (Pruitt Taylor Vince), who made a large gold find with his estranged brother. Wolcott offers a massive sum to buy the claim, knowing that Mose's brother will refuse to sell, and that the hot-tempered Mose will find a way to obtain sole ownership. Charlie (Dayton Callie) sends a broken down Jane (Robin Weigert) to look after his friend, Joanie (Kim Dickens), who is sitting alone at the Chez Amis, waiting for a less friendly caller to arrive. Martha (Anna Gunn) confronts Seth about his relationship with Alma, and what it means to their future together. Alma, in a fit of pique, confronts Miss Isringhausen (Sarah Paulson) about her treachery, inadvertently showing Al's hand. Tom Nuttall (Leon Rippy) receives the bicycle he's ordered, prompting excited wagering in the camp over whether he can traverse the thoroughfare atop the contraption. Ellsworth (Jim Beaver) comes to a decision about Alma, but she's not ready to decide anything. A telegraph operator, Blazanov (Pavel Lychnikoff), arrives in the camp, and sets up shop at the newspaper office. Al asks Merrick (Jeffrey Jones) to print an article about Seth's "unconfirmed" meeting with Montana officials.

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Air date: May 1, 2005

Al (Ian McShane) asks E.B. (William Sanderson) to befriend Blazanov (Pavel Lychnikoff) and appraise Al of any telegrams being sent to or from Yankton. Seth (Timothy Olyphant) and Charlie (Dayton Callie) question Mose Manuel (Pruitt Taylor Vince) about the shooting of his brother. Mose is uncooperative. Before Charlie leaves town to deliver Wild Bill's last letter, he tells Seth not to worry about Mose. "He'll be judge on himself and jury, too," he says, presciently. "Just like the f*cking most of us." Jane (Robin Weigert) tells Charlie that she's moved into the Chez Amis, to keep an eye on Joanie (Kim Dickens). Because of Alma's (Molly Parker) indiscretion, Al is forced to take a new, more direct approach with Miss Isringhausen (Sarah Paulson). A safe filled with Alma's money arrives from Denver, destined for the new bank, but it has to be temporarily housed at the hardware store. William (Josh Eriksson) and Martha (Anna Gunn) bring Seth's lunch to the store, and Tom (Leon Rippy) offers William a chance to ride his new bicycle. Alma graciously thanks Martha for her offer to fill in for the hastily departed schoolteacher. Fields (Franklyn Ajaye) brings a wild stallion to Hostetler (Richard Gant), hoping they can neuter the beast, so that he can then sell it to the cavalry. They lose control of the horse, resulting in tragedy.

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Air date: May 8, 2005

William (Josh Eriksson) has been critically injured by Fields' (Franklyn Ajaye) horse. Martha (Anna Gunn) regrets bringing William to Deadwood, and wants to bring him back to Michigan. Doc (Brad Dourif) privately notes that if the hoof had come down an inch to the right, the boy, mercifully, would have died instantly. "I doubt He's omniscient," Doc laments. "I know He's myopic." Fields has to convince Hostetler (Richard Gant) not to kill himself. They leave town, Hostetler insisting that they track down the horse and return with it. Without Seth's (Timothy Olyphant) presence for protection, Miss Isringhausen (Sarah Paulson) refuses to sign Al's (Ian McShane) incriminating documents. Al gets Silas (Titus Welliver) to help him persuade her. Al learns from Merrick (Jeffrey Jones) that Jarry (Stephen Tobolowsky) is returning to the camp, probably in response to Al's planted article in the Pioneer about Seth's "rumored" contacts with Montana. Al summons Sol (John Hawkes) to school Silas about Montana politics, in order to convince Jarry that the camp is in play. Sol objects to being summoned, as he stands vigil outside Doc's, but Dan (W. Earl Brown) threatens to carry him across the thoroughfare if he doesn't come peacefully. Sol is further dismayed to find that Trixie (Paula Malcomson), in her grief, has returned to the Gem. Mose (Pruitt Taylor Vince), critically wounded by Cy's men, is brought to the Chez Amis to recuperate. A reformed Andy Cramed (Zach Grenier) returns to the camp, having become a preacher. Cy (Powers Boothe) explains to the worried Jarry that the article in the Pioneer was Al's concoction, but Jarry won't listen. "Doesn't take much, does it," Cy asks the commissioner, "to get your balls tucked up?" "They are very sensitive to changes in weather," Jarry responds, pointedly. "You feel one coming on?"

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Deadwood: Season 2 Photos

Tv Season Info

Season two sees tensions and violence flare, as the town faces an uncertain future.

News & Interviews for Deadwood: Season 2

Critic Reviews for Deadwood Season 2

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (16)

Once a week, "Deadwood" is a phenomenal place to visit -- but I wouldn't want to live there.

Jun 8, 2018 | Full Review…

[A] superbly crafted, bucking bronco of a show.

Feb 19, 2020 | Full Review…

[Al Swearengen] has perhaps one of the most unpredictable personalities and interesting minds ever depicted on the small screen.

Feb 19, 2020 | Full Review…

Watching this show is such a disgusting, off-putting experience that you can be forgiven for wanting to take a shower after it 's over.

Jun 8, 2018 | Full Review…

But this much is true: "Deadwood" is cocksure brilliant.

Jun 8, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

At times beyond gritty in a "You've got to be kidding" sort of way, "Deadwood" will never be everyone's cup of tea, but it stands as one of HBO's most fully realized dramas since "The Sopranos" and exhibits no signs of fading in the second leg of its run.

Jun 12, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

For newcomers to the show this season, keeping everybody and everything straight might be a bit of a challenge, but it's one well worth undertaking.

Feb 19, 2020 | Full Review…

The characters' internal coherence, elliptical plotting, and, above all, the consistently risky acting by a remarkable ensemble of more than 20 all crack the confines of the screen, evoking the barbed intensity of live theatre.

Feb 19, 2020 | Full Review…

Al's cussing would make Gordon Ramsay blush. But if you can stomach that, this gritty adult series mines a rich vein of dialogue, character and dark humour.

Feb 18, 2020 | Full Review…

In its second season this gritty frontier drama still boasts the most colorfully eccentric ensemble of any show on TV.

Jun 7, 2018 | Full Review…

To Swearengen, the approaching future means the end of his gleefully lawless life; to Deadwood fans, it's possible that that near future means the end of one of the richest dramas on television, with only a smoking bullet hole in its place.

Jun 13, 2018 | Full Review…

Don't get me wrong. The first season of Deadwood is a cracking bit of telly. But the second? It's taking everything I've got not to stop writing and just start watching it again.

Jun 11, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Deadwood: Season 2

  • Aug 28, 2020
    Absolutely superb. I don't think I've ever given anything a 8/10 before, but for a TV show, Deadwood is excellent - and given the crap we're generally subjected to on the box, absolutely outstanding.
  • Oct 27, 2019
    The second season of Deadwood was just as strong as the first, with powerful performances from Ian McShane, Timothy Oliphant, Robin Weigert, Molly Parker, and Powers Boothe. The dialogue is written to the point of being almost Shakespearean in nature, but this sometimes leads to some scenes being comprised of such complex language that it's hard to decipher what is even happening. Besides that, this show is awesome.
  • Aug 13, 2019
    Un poco menos interesante que la primera pero aun conserva la atracción de sus personajes.
  • Feb 21, 2019
    What a great 2nd season. Much more exciting than the first and so much to look forward to in the 3rd and final season. Like season 1 the acting remains top notch with so many of the actors moving on to great television shows that followed Deadwood. All the new characters mixed into the formula successfully. The season had so many interesting subplots. And character development progressed in a very interesting way. There's lots to love about this season.
  • Feb 03, 2018
    This is for the whole series. 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.
  • May 02, 2015
    Probably the best series I've ever seen. Very intelligent, great performances, great characters, great writing. Kind of guys show.
  • Aug 09, 2014
    Vulgar and poetic, violent and dense, "Deadwood" needed a fourth season.
  • Aug 04, 2014
    Probably the best TV show of all time.
  • Jun 19, 2014
    Pretty much every bit on par with the first one…just watch out for the kidney stones operation!

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