The Best Episodes of Deadwood
Last Updated: Feb 4, 2019
In the Black Hills Indian Cession, the town of Deadwood is a settlement violating treaty obligations; a violent and uncivilized outpost that attracts outlaws and entrepreneurs, ex-soldiers and racketeers, Chinese laborers, prostitutes, city slickers and gunfighters.
#1 - Sold Under Sin
Season 1 - Episode 12
The U.S. Army--under General Crook a.k.a. "Custer's Avengers"--rolls into Deadwood, prompting a parade...and business solicitations from Farnum and Tolliver. Swearengen delivers a tortured soul from suffering; Bullock reacts decisively to Russell's intentions regarding Alma; Con Stapleton's new commission proves short-lived; Adams shows Clagett where his loyalties lie; and Bullock and Alma have a late-night meeting.
#2 - Boy-The-Earth-Talks-To
Season 2 - Episode 12
Swearengen's shrewd manipulation of the rumor mill pays off in a Yankton counter-offer that requires only slight amending. Meanwhile, George Hearst's arrival in Deadwood has shaken up the camp's status quo from Wu to Farnum to Wolcott. Tolliver, for his part, seeks to avoid marginalization by offering the tycoon damning nuggets about his engineer's nasty habits.
#3 - A Two-Headed Beast
Season 3 - Episode 5
As Tolliver tries to find a respectable employee suitable to be his liaison with Hearst, Swearengen tries to understand the reasoning behind Hearst's actions. The conflict becomes more tense as Dority and Captain Turner violently settle their differences. Bullock tries to finally settle the dispute between Steve and Hostetler and another murder brings Bullock once more face to face with Hearst, forcing him to take action. Trixie becomes suspicious of Alma's odd behaviour at the bank. Ellsworth and Alma have a close encounter that alters their relationship. Langrishe welcomes more arrivals from his theater troupe.
#4 - I Am Not the Man You Take Me for
Season 3 - Episode 2
Captain Turner tips off Swearengen with a cryptic note to another bloody incident at the Gem; later, Hearst makes his intentions known in a more straightforward way. While Jane finds a captive audience for her oratory skills, the candidates for mayor and sheriff aren't as fortunate. Alma's health raises the issue of Sofia's stewardship and newly reformed Andy Cramed pays a visit to Tolliver, with a different agenda and outcome.
#5 - A Constant Throb
Season 3 - Episode 10
With the Sheriff out of camp, Alma is assailed by Hearst's men and as she never would have expected, shelter comes form Swearengen. Barrett is sent to the Gem, but Al resorts to old fashion methods of enquiring to his employers plans. Meanwhile, Langrishe recruits a new actor.
#6 - Here Was a Man
Season 1 - Episode 4
Swearengen directs Farnum to buy back the Garret claim; Alma prevails on Calamity Jane and Hickok for help; Hickok commissions Bullock in his stead; Charlie Utter leaves the camp; an ailing colleague, Andy Cramed, rejoins the Bella Union; and Hickok's run of luck at poker yields an unexpected return.
#7 - The Catbird Seat
Season 3 - Episode 11
Bullock holds an impromptu morning meeting to determine which emergencies warrant wiring him in Sturgis, where he and Harry are delivering campaign pitches. The first summons doesn't take long, as Hearst follows up Alma's close call with one that's decidedly more on-target. In the aftermath, Alma takes refuge at the Gem, again, while Trixie decides to take matters into her own hands. Langrishe has a falling out with Hearst, giving him little time to huddle with his new lineup of actors. Dismissing the likelihood of ever seeing 23 mercenaries promised by Hawkeye, Swearengen turns to Wu to deliver more reliable, if not quite weapons-tested, reinforcements from Custer City.
#9 - Amalgamation and Capital
Season 2 - Episode 9
Eagar for the latest news from Yankton, Swearengen enlists Farnum to keep tabs on Blazanov and his telegrams, and admonishes Merrick for over-hyping the Montana rumors in his paper. Wolcott gets a new moniker; Jane and Joanie continue their unlikely alliance; Sweargengen strikes a departure deal with Miss Isringhausen; and Fields and Hostetler attempt to tame a wild horse for the cavalry with damaging results.
#12 - Jewel's Boot Is Made for Walking
Season 1 - Episode 11
Alma's father, Otis Russell, arrives from New York to "help" with her claim; Swearengen strikes a bargain with Adams to rid him of some legal baggage; Jewel journeys to Cochran's cabin for help with her leg; Utter hazards an opinion on the safety of Nuttal's saloon; Leon and Sawyer resume work at the Bella Union; Bullock is angered by the choice of a new sheriff; and Star winds up paying for a free service.
#13 - Complications
Season 2 - Episode 5
As a convalescing Swearengen bridles, Cochran schools Burns and Dority how best to assist his recovery. Alma is also feeling unwell, mornings. Unexpected profits at the Chez Ami lead Tolliver to an unexpected discovery about Wolcott. Merrick posts a provocative statement from Yankton on title to the claims; Bullock protects Commissioner Jarry from an angry mob, which redirects its ire. After returning a horse to Hostetler at the livery, professional go-between Samuel Fields finds a kindred spirit in Jane.
#14 - Tell Your God to Ready for Blood
Season 3 - Episode 1
Deadwood's first true elections are nearly here, with the offices of sheriff and mayor to be decided. Tonight, the candidates will state their cases to the townspeople. One of Hearst's Cornish workers is killed at the Gem, leading Swearengen to suspect that the incident was a staged Hearst power play. Ellsworth and Doc Cochran are alarmed by complications involving Alma's pregnancy. Star gains a new home from Adams' orchestrated foreclosure. Jane prepares to tell the camp's children about her experiences scouting for General Custer. Shocked by her inability to make a clean break from the gut-stabbed Tolliver, Joanie considers taking the easy way out. Hearst will give Bullock his political backing if Bullock promises to exert influence over certain areas of the camp.
#15 - Mister Wu
Season 1 - Episode 10
An opium theft leaves Swearengen trying to find common language with his supplier, as well as navigating tricky waters to deal with the mess. Meanwhile, Silas Adams, bagman for the magistrate from Yankton, arrives with bad news for Swearengen; Bullock regrets having raised his hand at the government meeting; Merrick proposes Deadwood's first "club"; and an unwelcome Rev. Smith gravitates to the Gem and its new piano.
#17 - E.B. Was Left Out
Season 2 - Episode 7
Tolliver wrecked Merrick's newspaper office in retribution for not publishing the county commissioner's notice. Con Stapleton and Leon are having difficulty generating business for Tolliver's new Chinese whores. Utter learns that Wolcott is in possession of Hickok's last letter. Joanie returns to Tolliver to "turn tricks."
#18 - Something Very Expensive
Season 2 - Episode 6
Alma proposes forming a bank, and looks to familiar faces to run it. To test himself, Swearengen grants audience to a long line of supplicants; talks with Farnum and Miss Isringhausen prove most illuminating. The arrival of low-priced Chinese whores begins the next phase in Tolliver and Wolcott's arrangement. Humiliated by Bullock, an angry claim owner looks to "square the scales." An enchanted Merrick tours a new schoolteacher about the camp. Wolcott's inner demons test his alliance with Tolliver, and prompt Stubbs and Utter to covert action.
#19 - The Whores Can Come
Season 2 - Episode 11
Bullock's corroboration of the Montana offers complicates Commissioner Jarry's counter-efforts - and sends Blazanov's telegram lines to Yankton to overdrive. Swearengen uses a Deadwood tragedy to delay an altercation between Wu and Lee, while buying time to improve his own standing with the Hearst delegation.
#20 - Advances, None Miraculous
Season 2 - Episode 10
The camp waits vigil for Doc Cochran's prognosis of William Bullock. Martha regrets her move to Deadwood after her son is severely injured. Commisioner Jarry returns to Deadwood to discuss possible annexation with Swearengen, who then asks Sol Star to school Silas Adams on Montana policy. Trixie forces Alma to make a decision on Ellsworth's proposal.
#21 - Tell Him Something Pretty
Season 3 - Episode 12
In the third, and last, season finale, the camp turns out to vote--but as Bullock notes, the election may already have been decided. In light of the populace's mood, Langrishe delays the opening of his theater, and ponders his future in Deadwood. After detouring at Nuttall's Number ten, Hawkeye arrives at the Gem with "almost 18" men to complement Wu's contingent. Alma works out a deal for her claim; Utter recieves another body for Hearst; and Harry gets his fire engine. Stubbs reaches out to a frustrated Tolliver, who finds himself with a folded hand as the action heats up. Through Farnum, Hearst issues his conditions for departure, forcing Swearengen to finish what Burns can't.
#22 - Unauthorized Cinnamon
Season 3 - Episode 7
Bullock's proposal carries the day during a meeting held at the Gem to discuss the Hearst conundrum; Aunt Lou fears for Odell's well-being after his latest gambit; Fields is skeptical of Steve's offer to remain in camp; Cochran finds other uses for a tailor's swatches; Chesterton's illness postpones Langrishe's theater plans.
#23 - Amateur Night
Season 3 - Episode 9
As Deadwood is overrun by Hearst's men, Bullock issues contingency plans to Martha. Wu is caught in a Pinkerton stampede and delivers a cryptic message to Swearengen that is solved by the unlikeliest person. Barrett makes Merrick pay for embarrassing Hearst in The Pioneer while Morgan Earp calls out one of the "Pistoleros." As night falls, Langrishe mines Deadwood's talent pool with an amateur-night performance in front of his future theater, financed in part by a "loan" from Alma's bank.
#24 - Full Faith and Credit
Season 3 - Episode 4
While Alma officially opens the bank of Deadwood, Langrishe asks Joanie whether she is willing to sell the Chez Ami, so he could make it into a theatre. Stapleton sets his eye on one of the new actresses in town and Jane receives a telegram from Fields. Hostetler and the latter arrive in camp and engage Steve with regard to the ownership of the livery, forcing Bullock to intervene. Meanwhile, Al delegates Adams to represent him in his affairs with Hearst and Tolliver.
#25 - Suffer the Little Children
Season 1 - Episode 8
Deadwood breathes easier when riders arrive with precious vaccine--and word of a possible treaty with the Sioux. Awaiting Trixie's return, a pragmatic Swearengen resists counsel from a bloody-minded Farnum; results of Bullock's assay of her gold claim moves Alma to reassess her plans and sets up a confrontation between Bullock and Swearengen; and Tolliver teaches Stubbs a deadly lesson at the expense of a couple of con artists.