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    Bullock 

Seth Bullock

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bullock_seth_1.jpg
Played By: Timothy Olyphant

Al Swearengen: Startin' when?
Seth Bullock: Startin' now.

A native of Ontario and the son of a stern British sergeant-major, Seth Bullock left home for good at the age of sixteen and ended up in Montana during the silver strikes of the 1860s. A natural leader, he held a number of elected positions in his early twenties and was eventually appointed Sheriff of Montana Territory.

Having heard of the big strikes in the Black Hills, Bullock has made his way to Deadwood not to prospect, but to open up a hardware franchise with his business partner and friend Sol Star. But while his intent was to become a merchant, Bullock's staunch ideas of right and wrong soon pull him back toward law enforcement.


  • Arranged Marriage: Following his brother's abrupt death, Bullock married his sister-in-law Martha out of obligation, becoming his nephew's stepfather.
  • Badass Boast: He rattles them off with some frequency, and he always means what he says.
    • Challening Al;
    "[Alma] gets a square shake, or I come for you."
    • To Alma's deceitful father;
    "Leave this camp, and draw a map for anyone who wants to believe your fucking lies. Anyone wants to put your daughter or her holdings in jeopardy, you show 'em how to get here and you tell 'em I'll be waiting."
    • While a black man is being tortured, responding to the torturer's complaint that the black man had called him a "motherfucker";
    "I'll motherfuck you, and, (Draws and aims his gun) blow your head off.
  • Badass Longcoat: Frequently wears one.
  • Badass Moustache: Rather than a thick beard, Bullock has an impressive moustache.
  • Berserk Button: He has more than a few: don't threaten Alma or even talk dirty about her, don't bully others.
  • Bully Hunter: Bullock can't abide a bully, and always feels obliged to intervene. Alma's father calls him out on it.
    Otis: Were you bullied, Mr. Bullock, when young and incapable? Now you see wrongs everywhere and bullying you feel called to remedy.
  • Canada, Eh?: He was born in and spent most of his early life in Etobicoke, Ontario (if his history is the same as his real-life counterpart, he ran away to Montana at age sixteen to escape his abusive father).
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: As much as Bullock would like to just own a hardware store and ignore the injustices around him, he just can't help but intervene. His sense of moral duty ends up pushing him into becoming The Sheriff.
  • Clean Up the Town: Bullock doesn't intend this at first, but he wants it the more he stays at Deadwood. When it becomes clear that he's the best man for the job, he resigns himself to taking up the badge.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It's not as prevalent as Al or even Cy, but Bullock gets his fair share of sharp lines in.
    "We got chamber pots to sell ya. And if you don't know what one of those is, the man livin' next to you will appreciate your findin' out."
  • Death Glare: Holy shit, he can cut you down with a stare. Lampshaded in the second season premier when he fires one as Al, ultimately resulting in a near-fatal brawl.
  • Determinator: Overcomes quite a few obstacles trying to achieve what he believes is right.
  • Due to the Dead: Bullock has a strong tendency to treat the dead with respect, preferring to see to it that they are buried in the way they would have wanted.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Bullock is introduced on his last night as a marshal; he's engaging in amiable small talk with a prisoner, but doesn't entertain the notion of freeing him. When a lynch mob appears to exact frontier justice, Bullock entrusts Sol with holding a gun on them while speeding up the prisoner's hanging so the letter of the law is followed. He takes the prisoner's last words and helps him with "the drop". The scene exhibits Bullock's cunning, moral code, professional ruthlessness and his friendship with Sol.
  • Fastest Gun in the West: He draws about as fast as the famous Fastest Gun in the West "Wild" Bill Hickok, though he makes no claim at the title.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Bullock is a hell of a guy deep down; he's steadfast, reliable and loyal. Still, he's rather prickly with a short temper that makes it hard for others to like him on a personal level. At his worse, he's an experienced killer who doesn't mind bashing somebody's skull in with a rock if he has to.
  • The Gunslinger: Bullock establishes his credentials as a Quick Draw artist by drawing about as fast as Wild Bill Hickok, though he modestly gives Hickok the edge.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He could be the page image. He tends to take any kind of insult, even the slightest, like a punch to the face. Sol tends to be there to mitigate his worse tendencies, but Bullock still initiates more than a few fights when Sol isn't around.
  • Heroic Fatigue: He's already suffering this at the start of the series, hence why he's giving up his career as a lawman to settle down in Deadwood selling mining equipment. Of course, this doesn't last.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Sol Star, his business partner and more level-headed best friend.
  • Hot-Blooded: Mostly due to his Hair-Trigger Temper, though he also falls very passionately in love with Alma. A large portion of his character is his colossal effort to restrain his emotional impulses.
  • In-Series Nickname: Wild Bill always referred to Bullock as Montana, rather then addressing him by his first name. It's an affectionate one; Bill eventually asks Bullock if he's okay with it and gets a positive answer.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bullock is not the best conversationalist, and it doesn't take much to offend him. At the same time, he's a good man.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: When he beats up Farnum, and later when he arrests Hearst, humiliating him by pulling him on the ear and taking him to jail.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Bullock came to Deadwood specifically to give up being a law man and do something for himself for once. He knows that the town is a Wretched Hive and planned to exploit it, but instead ended up volunteering to defend it as the Sheriff. Bullock hardly enjoys being sheriff, but his sense of morality is far too strong for him to ignore the injustice around him.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Al's vicious insults directed at Alma prompt one hell of a fight.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Bullock is prone to this. He will never throw a single punch, but if you piss him off enough, he will beat you within an inch of your life.
  • Parental Substitute: Literally. Bullock married his brother's widow so his nephew William would grow up with a father.
  • The Sheriff: After some initial reluctance, he becomes Deadwood's Sheriff, and even has to fight in elections to remain Sheriff.
  • The Teetotaler: In contrast to the frequent use of alcohol by pretty much all other major characters (Doc Cochran, Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok, Al Swearengen and his men), Bullock rarely drinks at all.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: In a lawless hive like Deadwood, Bullock often has to navigate between what's the right thing to do and what's legal.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Alma Garret; they are clearly attracted to each other from the first instance, and they grow increasingly close. They Do, but they call off their relationship soon after due to Bullock's marriage to Martha. All the same, they're clearly in love and have real difficulty being apart.
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    Al 

Albert "Al" Swearengen

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/swearengen_albert_ellis_4.jpg
Played By: Ian McShane

"Every fuckin’ beatin’ I’m grateful for. Every fuckin’ one of them. Get all the trust beat outta you. And you know what the fuckin’ world is."

Albert "Al" Swearengen is the proprietor of the Gem Saloon, born in England but raised in a Chicago orphanage under an abusive figure known as Mrs. Anderson. He mentions on occasion that Mrs. Anderson ran a brothel at the girls' orphanage before running the boys' orphanage. Swearengen was among the first settlers of Deadwood, earning him several land claims and a position of power. The Gem Saloon, offering alcohol, prostitution and faro, also acts as Swearengen’s base of operations.

Swearengen is cunning, manipulative and initially appears to be the most cynically amoral of all the characters, showing no hesitation in resorting to violence and murder when it serves his business interests.


  • Abusive Parents: Abusive adoptive parents. He might as well have never known his biological family.
  • Adaptation Name Change: His full name in the show is Albert Swearengen, whereas in real life it was Ellis Alfred Swearengen.
  • Adaptational Nationality: His history of being born in England and immigrating to the US at a young age is an invention of the show; the real Swearengen was born in Iowa to a Dutch family.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Swearengen makes no secret of the fact that he'll kill little girls, or even burn down the town, if it's in his interest... but also that he would prefer not to if there was any other way. Overall he's a pretty charming guy, and even Bullock eventually agrees to work with him, as long as it's in Deadwood's best interest.
    • He and Cy act as a good case study for the differences between Affably Evil and Faux Affably Evil, respectively.
  • Age Lift: The real Al Swearengen was born in 1845. However, the Deadwood character refers to events in his childhood happening "about 30 years before you [Dolly] were born". Since the series takes place in 1876-77, this suggests that the character has an age closer to that of actor Ian McShane.
  • The Alcoholic: Al drinks heavily and is frequently seen drunk throughout the show, although he's a rather functional alcoholic and doesn't get sloppy drunk often. In the movie, his addiction has finally caught up to him and he's dying of liver failure.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Did he die at the end of the movie, or manage to hold on a bit longer?
  • Badass Boast: Al makes a few of them, and only when he means it. He has the power to back them all up.
    "Say what you’re gonna say or prepare for eternal fucking silence."

    Al: What if I come for you? You ready for that?
    Bullock: I guess I'd better be.
    Al: Then close your fuckin' store, 'cause being ready for me'll take care of your wakin' hours, and you'd better have someone to hand the task off to when you close your fuckin' eyes.

    Bullock: Will I find you've got a knife on you?
    Al: I won't need no fucking knife.
  • Badass Moustache: He has a very thick moustache, but keeps the rest of his face clean-shaven.
  • Bad Boss: To his prostitutes, who he treats terribly. Still, they're better off with him than with Cy.
  • The Bartender: When Dan isn't tending bar.
  • Body Horror: The 'kidney stones' story arc which is depicted every agonizing step of the way.
  • The Chessmaster: He's quite the skilled schemer and manipulator.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: About one per sentence.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Guess what. He was carrying his knife, after all...
  • Companion Cube: "Chief", the dead Indian's head, who Al talks to in private.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: He's hardly a high-powered businessman, but within Deadwood, he might as well be the CEO of a fortune 500 company.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Killing Jen to save Trixie.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: He was abandoned by his biological family and raised in an orphanage by an abusive woman named Mrs. Anderson, who as it turned, had the orphanage moonlight as a brothel.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He is a wonderful source of sharp, witty lines and it feeds into his Affably Evil persona.
    "I'm declaring myself conductor of this meeting as I have the bribe sheet."

    "How does Hearst hope to defeat me? Allied as I am with the imbecile, the contemptible, and the promiscuous fucking insane."

    "Over time, your quickness with a cocky rejoinder must have gotten you many punches in the face."

    "I’d rather try touching the moon than take on a whore’s thinking."

    "You can't just cut the throat of every cocksucker whose character it would improve."
  • Death by Irony: The owner of Deadwood's preeminent saloon, by the time of The Movie he's at death's door from liver failure, owing to his constant drinking.note 
  • Dragon-in-Chief: When Farnum is the mayor. Other than maybe the people who directly work for Farnum at the hotel, there's not a single person in the town who thinks he's actually in charge of anything. Everyone else knows Al is running the show.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Cy Tolliver's complete sociopathy grinds against Al's simple ruthlessness. And Swearengen certainly ends up hating Hearst, who uses borderline slave labor, rape, and other things to extend his mining empire.
  • Evil Brit: He was born in Britain, and he once expresses a desire to retire there. Despite his lack of an English accent, Jane still occasionally refers to him as a "limey."
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: He does swear a bit.
  • A Father to His Men: Al has a paternalistic affection for Johnny, Dan and Silas even if he does treat them poorly from time to time.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Downplayed; his fundamental character and morality don't change all that much, but he becomes less of an antagonistic force over the course of the series.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Al is a ruthless murderer who treats his employees with disdain, but he does care for a select few of them, treating them like his children and he's a particularly hard-to-please father. Special mention goes to Jewel, a disabled woman who Al frequently taunts and insults but keeps employed. Trixie considers it his way of 'protecting her'.
  • Karmic Death: Narrowly averted. When he's deathly ill and unable to call for help, none of his underlings enter his room despite their suspicions due to his terrible reputation.
  • Knife Nut: To the point he laments not being as good with a gun.
    "I'm a fucking terrible shot. Work better closer in."
  • Limited Wardrobe: Most of the camp doesn't have much access to new clothes, but he and his black striped suit take it to the extreme. If he isn't wearing it, it's because he's in his underwear.
  • The Man Behind the Man: After Farnum is 'elected' mayor.
  • Meaningful Name: He was a real person, but seriously, how delicious is it that on a show like this one of the main characters has a name pronounced "Swear Engine"?
  • Noble Demon: He's ruthlessly self-interested and not above murder and the like, but he does have some standards and a paternalistic affection for his employees.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Unleashes one on Hearst's Pinkerton Agent to make him talk.
  • Not So Above It All: Singing (to his empty bar) during Amateur Night
  • Pet the Dog: He occasionally gives out some tough love to various character who need a kick in the rear to get them over some problem.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: If it's good for business, then it's good for Al.
  • Rape as Backstory: It's implied that he was among the children pimped out while being raised in Mrs. Anderson's orphanage/brothel, which would certainly explain why he buys his own whores from that same orphanage and his protective (if still abusive and dismissive) attitude towards them.
  • Refuge in Audacity: A somewhat meta example. He's abusive, threatening, won't hesitate to murder people, drives enemies out of business, schemes and schemes and schemes, treats his employees like crap depending on his mood, and swears somewhat frequently. And yet fans of the show love him, because he's just so entertaining in how he goes about doing it.
  • Self-Made Man: Al prides himself on pulling himself up from nothing, an abused orphan who has gone on to become a powerful man in Deadwood who decides life and death.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Even in swear-heavy Deadwood, Al swears a great deal.
  • Villain Protagonist: He's the Deuteragonist of the first season and the Big Bad.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: He settled in Deadwood because he was wanted for murder in Chicago.
  • You Have Failed Me: He has a tendency to do this to his less trustworthy minions, such as Jimmy Irons.

    Alma 

Alma Russell Garret Ellsworth

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ellsworth_alma_russell_garrett.jpg
"I don't think we should linger here."
Played By: Molly Parker

"I've wished sometimes only to play checkers or to occupy myself some other way than having to see and feel so much sadness, or feel every moment how difficult things are, to understand or to live with."

Thirty and beautiful, Alma Garret married after the panic of 1873 to salvage her father's strained finances. Preferring a fool's errand to the circumstances of New York society, she came west with her husband, Brom, to prospect, a woolly situation she softened with liberal use of laudanum.


  • Abusive Parents: She has suffered under the deceptively affable rule of her father, Otis. He abuses her financially and is perfectly willing to sell her down the river at a moment's notice. His good humor and quick smile doesn't do a thing to disguise his true intent and his lack of love for Alma.
  • Arranged Marriage: With Brom.
  • Broken Bird: Alma isn't as privileged and well-to-do as her appearance and manner suggests; she's struggled with addiction, an abusive parent and the deaths of those she loves.
  • Cartwright Curse: She gets married twice, and both times her husband is murdered.
  • City Mouse: She's a city-dweller and is largely out of her element in Deadwood, but she's still cannier than the likes of Brom. She's acquainted with the subtle evil of her father but she gets used to the out-and-out violence of Deadwood pretty quick.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: Averted. She suffers of a birth defect that makes pregnancy risky and ultimately has to undergo an abortion to save her own life.
  • Determined Widow: Being a beautiful widow with a profitable gold claim in the Wretched Hive of Deadwood naturally puts her in danger, but she refuses to run and sticks with the town through thick and thin.
  • Functional Addict: Alma's depression led her to self-medicate with spirits when she was 17, and has become a laudanum addict by the time the events of the series begins. With the help of Trixie, she gives it up.
  • Going Cold Turkey: She quits the laudanum cold turkey.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: In contrast to everyone else, Alma is always very well-turned out. Only Joanie comes close.
  • It's All My Fault: After Ellsworth is killed, she immediately goes full My God, What Have I Done?, to which Al quips that she wasn't the one that pulled the trigger.
  • Parental Substitute: To Sofia Metz.
  • Proper Lady: She's quite the stickler for manners and proper decorum.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Displays her upper-class education through her speech, even in a show of unusually flowery language.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Her striking good looks and gentle manner result in plenty of admirers, although few are wanted. There's Bullock, who she loves and Ellsworth who she loves in a platonic manner. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's the likes of Richardson and Hearst.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Bullock. They Do, but they call off their relationship soon after due to Bullock's marriage to Martha. All the same, they're clearly in love and have real difficulty being apart.
  • Woman Scorned: She harbors a jealous dislike for Bullock's legal wife, Martha. However, she's fully aware of how irrational her dislike is and feels guilty over it.

    Sol 

Solomon 'Sol' Star

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/star_solomon_2891.jpg

Solomon "Sol" Star is Seth Bullock's best friend and partner in the hardware business and the only Jew in camp. He is from Vienna, Austria. Imperturbable and sensible, Sol has become a rising force in the camp.


  • Adaptational Nationality: The real Sol Star was born in Germany, not Austria.
  • Alliterative Name: Sol Star.
  • Beta Couple: With Trixie.
  • The Conscience: To Bullock. He often reigns in Bullock's more rage-fueled actions, but since it's Bullock, there's only so much Sol can do.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Bullock, whom he comes to Deadwood with.
  • Love at First Sight: For Trixie, whom he instantly forms an attraction to.
  • Nice Jewish Boy: Smart, successful and sensitive, the three primary pillars of a nice Jewish boy.
  • Non-Action Guy: Sol has no skill in gunfighting, but he consistently shows that he's quite brave and is willing to show up with a gun in hand to back up his friends. This gets him yelled at a few times for being in a situation where he really doesn't belong, and also shot by Johnny.
  • Odd Friendship: Sol, an even-tempered and kindly Jewish man, is friends with a Hot-Blooded lawman and Bully Hunter with major anger issues.
  • Only Sane Man: He can seem like this at times, especially when compared to Bullock.
  • The Smart Guy: He's educated and business-savvy in a place predominantly filled with rustic types.
  • Token Minority: Much is made of the fact that he's Jewish; Deadwood adheres to Politically Incorrect History, so he's the subject of many racial slurs which he takes in stride.

    Doc 

Dr. Amos ‘Doc’ Cochran

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cochran_amos.jpg
"Leave the demons to God and trust the pain to me."
Played By: Brad Dourif

"I'd rather be lucky than smart."

A witness to unspeakable atrocities on the battlefields of the Civil War, Dr. Amos Cochran is one of the few honorable men in Deadwood. He takes his duties seriously, even gruffly, and does what he can to preserve human life.


  • Asexual: Despite the majority of his clientele being prostitutes, the Doc is markedly uninterested in sex.
    "Jane, for me, the female breast long ago lost mystery or allure. Open your goddamn blouse."
  • Combat Medic: During The American Civil War, he was a medic. He still carries the psychological scars of such a time.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Very prone to dour and cutting remarks, often at his patients' expense.
  • Dr. Jerk: He has terrible bedside manner, no tact, and can't help but let his low opinions of his patients be known. He has to admit and apologize for this at one point when his behavior threatens to push a patient out of his care.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Drinks to cope with his PTSD.
  • Frontier Doctor: He's quite a good doctor, but his behavior has pushed him out of polite society and into the rural boomtown of Deadwood.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He's a jerk, but he wants his patients to be healthy.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Doc is irritable and grumpy at the best of times with no bedside manner to speak of, but he's also one of the most genuinely altruistic characters on the entire show.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: In Season 3, he starts to show the signs of tuberculosis, but remains alive during the entirety of the show and has apparently recovered by the time of the film.
  • My Greatest Failure: A man died while he operated on him.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: He's quite knowledgeable about new medical techniques in spite of being a country doctor.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Doc has a difficult relationship with God, to say the least. As Reverend Smith descends into a slow, agonizing death he prays for the end of Reverend Smith's suffering. As usual with Doc, his compassion leads to rage and frustration.
    "Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, just, please, God, take that minister. What conceivable godly use is his protracted suffering to you? What conceivable godly use? What conceivable godly use was the screaming of all those men? Did you need to hear their death agonies to know your omnipotence? Mama! Mother, find my arm! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy they, they shot my leg off, it hurts so bad. It hurts so bad. Admitting my understanding’s imperfect, trusting that you have a purpose, praying that you consider it served, I beg you to relent. Thy will be done, amen."
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: When neither Cy nor Mr. Lee want to pay for Doc to tend to their prostitutes, he offers to do so for free out of altruism.
  • Shellshocked Veteran: He has not recovered completely from his experiences as a military doctor in the The American Civil War. It seems to be the source of his alcoholism and abrasive personality.

    Charlie 

Charlie Utter

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/utter_charles.jpg
Played By: Dayton Callie

"Ohhh, I see you got your big fuckin' knife there, and hid somewhere on your persons you've probably got some pussified shootin' instrument. But I am good at first impressions, and you are a fucking cunt, and I doubt you've fought many MEN, maybe even ONE!"

Charles "Charlie" Utter is the good friend of Hickok and Jane, and Hickok's sometime business partner. He runs a mail and freight business in the camp and is also one of Bullock's deputies. He is an honest and uncomfortable person with a kind and generous nature. Incredibly noble, he is also tough and fearless in the face of adversity and not afraid to speak his mind clearly.


  • Badass Beard: He has one.
  • Berserk Button: Hurting women, and Joanie in particular, is the best way to get on Charlie's bad side. That's not a side you want to be on.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Charlie is a good-hearted man, but he will kick a cock-sucker's ass up and down Dakota if need be.
  • Bully Hunter: Not to the same extent as Bullock, but he dislikes them all the same.
  • Character Death: In The Movie Hearst has him killed after Charlie refuses an offer to buy his land.
  • Clueless Deputy: Subverted. Charlie is highly competent at almost any job he sets himself to.
  • Cool Old Guy: Charlie's an older fellow, but he's competent, tough and sensible.
  • Death by Adaptation: Charlie dies in 1889, whereas his historical counterpart died in 1912, 23 years later.
  • Determinator: When it comes to trying to do the right thing, Charlie doesn't give up, regardless of how hopeless the situation might seem. Despite Jane's descent into alcoholism and Wild Bill's Death Seeker ways, he still does everything he possibly can to help them.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Wild Bill Hickock, and later with Bullock.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: To Wild Bill, who's weary and apathetic with regards to his career. While Jane is largely useless except as an overzealous bodyguard, Charlie is the thinker, the planner, the arranger. He's likely the reason Bill stayed alive as long as he did.
  • Incompatible Orientation: According to David Milch, Charlie is in love with Joanie by the end of the series.
  • Nice Guy: Charlie is just, at heart, a good man. He wants the best for others, protects those he feels need protecting and treats just about everyone with decency and respect.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The usually non-violent Charlie unleashes a much-deserved and downright savage beatdown on Francis Wolcott in retribution for his murders of the Maddie and her prostitutes.
  • Older Sidekick: To Bullock, following the death of Wild Bill.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Becomes this with Joanie.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Jane. Charlie's (usually) patient, kind and considerate with her, and Jane repays him with vicious insults. Despite this, they do trust and care about each other largely due to their loyalty to Wild Bill, a loyalty that continues long after Bill's death.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Charlie is a nice guy in general, but goes out of his way to treat women with respect and tenderness. People who do hurt women enrage him.
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    Trixie 

Trixie

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/trixie.jpg
Played By: Paula Malcomson

Sol Star: I don’t understand.
Trixie: You wouldn’t. You’re too fucking healthy-minded. You’ll sit here waiting for me to materialize from a piece of fucking furniture and think the world is normal.

Trixie is Al Swearengen's favorite girl at the Gem. Swearengen is often abusive toward her, but she always returns to him and he in turn often shows great affection for her, though not openly.


  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Al intends her to be this to Alma so she'll be more willing to sell her gold claim, but she refuses.
  • Beta Couple: With Sol.
  • Broken Bird: She's had a rough life, to the point it becomes something of a cycle. Part of the reason she returns to Al rather than take Alma's offer to leave Deadwood is that she's too used to suffering to see Alma's offer of escape as something more than a joke.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She has plenty of sharp lines.
    "For chrissakes, Mr. Star, my cherry is obstructing my work. Sir, would you take it from me, free?"
  • Driven to Suicide: In "Suffer the Little Children". She fails and Doc heals her back.
  • First-Name Basis: She even uses the name "Trixie, the Whore" for a bank account, apparently because not even herself knows what her surname is.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Attempts to assassinate Hearst while topless.
  • Happiness in Slavery: How much 'happiness' is debatable, but she doesn't seek to leave the Gem and feels bad for Al when he is ill.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: She's a prostitute with a strong sense of morality and justice.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's got a sharp tongue, but she cares about people unable to help themselves.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Often nude.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: She keeps a small gun in her undies.

    Jane 

"Calamity" Jane Cannary

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/canary_jane.jpg
Played By: Robin Weigert

"I drink what I’m able. If that comes to much, that’s the day’s affair and the liquor’s."

Born Martha Jane Cannary, Calamity Jane is nearly as famous as Hickok was and is known to be as tough as any man in the West. Raised in the mining camps of Wyoming, she is a legendary horsewoman and crack shot, and is rumored to have been an Army scout for Custer.


  • Abusive Parents: It's strongly implied by her first interaction with Al. She says he reminds her of her father; the previously tough Jane turns to a quivering mess in front of him and she's certain Al is planning to rape Sofia.
    Jane: Leave her! Leave- Leave her alone, You cocksucker! Do it to me If you have to!
  • The Alcoholic: Even in Deadwood, she stands out. It's rare that she isn't seen drunk to the point of incomprehension.
    Doc Cochran: I take it you've been out on a hoot?
    Jane: I've been drunk awhile; correct. What the fuck is that to you?
    Doc Cochran: The question was well meant. Like if you was a farmer, I'd ask ya how the farming was going.
  • Ambiguously Bi: She starts a romance with Joanie, though she's had sex with men, and her obsession with Wild Bill hints at romantic interest.
  • Broken Bird: Jane has led a hard, tough life, and the death of her beloved mentor destroys her almost completely.
  • Butch Lesbian: She's very much a tomboy, dressing in male clothes and her sexuality is revealed when she starts a friendship (and later romance) with Joanie.
  • Catchphrase: "Dudeeee you look like shit..."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jane is overwhelmingly sarcastic and insulting in the most hilarious ways.
    Mose: It’s me.
    Jane: Who is me? The fucking eclipse?
    Mose: Mose Manuel.
    Jane: Oh, really? I thought it — it was Giganto, the runaway circus elephant...Okay, Giganto! Don’t tusk me to death with your tusks.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Wild Bill's death sends her into a spiral of alcoholism and self-loathing that lasts pretty much the entire series.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Her first response to Bill's death is to down half a bottle of alcohol without stopping. For the rest of the series, she's either drunk or halfway there.
  • Heroic BSoD: During her first confrontation with Swearengen.
  • Informed Ability: Said to be a master marksman and with the lasso, but never shows it. Possibly because she's constantly drunk.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jane is insulting, suspicious, ungrateful and needlessly aggressive, but she's actually deeply sensitive to the needs of others and has a strong moral compass.
  • The Lad-ette: Very much so. She's more masculine than many of the male characters.
    "And I don't drink where I'm the only fuckin' one with balls!"
  • Lady Drunk: She's a lady. And she's extremely drunk...all the time.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Her tomboyish appearance earns her more than a few insults, not that she gives too much of a damn. She even has an anecdote about a gay man who confused her with a possible partner.
    "Fella in Livingstone went sweet on me. Finnish fella from Finland, hardly spoke fucking English. Brought me flowers and some dry food they like there. And, uh, one night, he takes my arm and he starts in and he, uh, whispers in his Finland accent, "I want to suck your cock"!"
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: For all of the show's three seasons, Jane's handiness with a gun is little more than an Informed Ability. However, Jane finally gets the chance to show her mettle during the movie's climax. As Bullock's treacherous deputy, bought off by Hearst, attempts to murder the marshal, Jane manages to piece together the man's intentions before shooting him dead, saving Bullock's life.
  • The Load: To Charlie Utter. He does his best to take care of her and look after her, but she mostly just insults him and gets drunk.
    Charlie: Jane ain’t with me, ‘cause she’s a drunken fuckin’ mess, and I don’t know what to do about it. I know you want her looked out for, and I’m doin’ my fuckin’ best. But I won’t stand before you claimin’ optimism.
  • Miles Gloriosus: A rare sympathetic example. Jane talks a good game about always being eager for a fight. However, any instance where she's actually confronted by someone dangerous usually ends with her blubbering up and/or running away. Doubles as a Lovable Coward.
  • Mountain Man: A female example, right down to the coonskin hat.
  • Nice Hat: She's rarely seen without her hat.
  • Official Couple: With Joanie, eventually.
  • One of the Boys: She recounts how a stranger once mistook her for a man and offered her a blowjob.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: She isn't racist, and perhaps recognizes non-whites in the camp as fellow outcasts looked down upon by the majority. She does, however, use racial slurs casually (albeit not usually with malice).
  • Rape as Backstory: Jane was raped repeatedly from a very young age. The culprit is strongly implied to be her father, among others.
    "I've been fucked plenty. And by tougher fucks than he was. [pointing at Sofia] And littler than her, by plenty. They fucked me plenty, so you can go fuck yourself."
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: She hates putting one on for a wedding.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Even for this show. Every other word is "fuck" or "cocksucker".
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: She doesn't want for conversational partners, but trusts so few people that she usually only expresses honesty to the grave of Wild Bill.
  • Tomboy: To a T; she wears male clothing, does 'male' activities and tends to hang out mostly with men.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: With Joanie from the end of the second season onward.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Charlie Utter. He's (usually) patient, kind and considerate with Jane, and she repays him with vicious insults. Despite this, they do trust and care about each other largely due to their loyalty to Wild Bill, a loyalty that continues long after Bill's death.
    Charlie: I wish to hell I knew what I ever did to get on that woman's wrong side.

    Dan 

Dan Dority

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dority_daniel_7734.jpg
"I have come back from plenty of shit that looked like it was going wrong."
Played By: W. Earl Brown

"Do not put unauthorized cinnamon on the goddamn meeting table! That’s all the fuck we need."

Dan Dority, probably based on the real-life Dan Doherty, is Al Swearengen's right-hand man. A former bushwhacker, he has been with Al for years and serves him as bodyguard, enforcer and killer. While violent and short-tempered he is not a heartless killer.


  • Affably Evil: Dan has little qualms about following commands to murder people and is prone to knee-jerk murders all on his own. For all that, he's usually quite personable.
  • Alliterative Name: Dan Dority.
  • Badass Beard: He has one.
  • The Bartender: When Al himself isn't.
  • Berserk Button: Don't eye a Proper Lady like that.
  • The Dragon: To Al Swearengen.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: One of the first (and only) instances where he declines to follow Al's orders is when he sends him to kill Sofia Metz.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Dan is a hired killer, but he's a very emotional man who feels strongly.
  • Hot-Blooded: He's always ready to throw a punch or cut someone's throat, be it at Al's order or Dan's own anger issues.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Whenever he's been truly upset, Dan tends to sob all the fluid out of his body in private.
  • Love at First Sight: In "Suffer the Little Children" he has an immediate crush on Flora, who he thinks to be a nice Proper Lady, but gives up on her easily when he is informed that she is actually a crook.
  • Manchild: As dangerous as he is, Dan is emotionally immature. He's quick-tempered and latches onto Al like a child to a distant but beloved father figure. In fact, Dan's rivalry with Adams is due entirely to childish jealousy that Al is favoring another "son."
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Sorry Dan, she is.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: His fight with the Captain is one of the most brutal examples seen on television. He also gives a good beating to Hawkeye and a few drunken yokels. His skull cracking of Brom is less severe and drawn out.
  • The Rival: To Silas for a while. Later, with Hearst's man Captain Turner.
  • Terrible Trio: He's part of one with Johnny and Silas.
  • Villainous BSoD: An hilarious instance happens when he believes that Al prefers Silas to him, and he breaks down crying. Deep inside, he's just a big child.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Although fully intending to at first, the Doc convinces him otherwise.

    Ellsworth 

Whitney Ellsworth

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ellsworth_whitney.jpg
"Goddammit, Swearengen, I don't trust you as far as I could throw you, but I enjoy the way you lie."
Played By: Jim Beaver

"I may have fucked up my life flatter'n hammered shit, but I stand here before you today beholden to no human cocksucker, and holdin' a workin' fuckin' gold claim, and not the U.S. government tellin' me I'm trespassin', or the savage fuckin' red man or any of these other limber-dick cocksuckers passin' themselves off as prospectors had better try and stop me."

Whitney Conway Ellsworth is an experienced prospector who has pursued the color all over the country, even having once worked as a miner at wage and an overseer on sites owned by the Hearst mining company. Having left his position with the company, disgusted at the nonchalant attitude to the well being of the miners, he is introduced in the first season as one of the many individuals who has traveled to the town with the promise of wealth in the gold rich hills, revealing himself to have a 'dead-eye' for the color having successfully managed to eke out a comfortable living in this profession.


  • All Love Is Unrequited: For Alma, who he loves. Alma loves Bullock.
  • Arranged Marriage: To Alma Garret.
  • Badass Beard
  • Berserk Button: George Hearst and the Hearst Company in general. Ellsworth knows exactly what type of man Hearst is, and is infuriated by his mere presence.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How he’s murdered at the hands of Hearst’s men.
  • Canine Companion: His dog.
  • Celibate Hero: After marrying Alma, he doesn't sleep with her. He knows well enough that she's not attracted to him, and respects her wishes while also never being unfaithful. Ellsworth is quite a guy.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: He saved three men in a mining collapse, but many more died because the hole shouldn't have been dug in the first place. It's still a horrible and infuriating memory for him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ellsworth certainly has his moments.
    Joanie: Will you keep a girl company?
    Ellsworth: I will, but I’m expensive.
  • Friend to All Children: Ellsworth has an easy way with kids; he likes them, and they adore him in return.
  • Prospector: He's been a prospector pursuing gold for many years.
  • Nice Guy: Ellsworth is a fundamentally decent man who treats everyone around him with civility and kindness...except for George Hearst and his employees. In fact, everybody in camp likes him and he has no issues with anyone save for the aforementioned Hearst Company. After his death, everyone is outraged. Even the likes of Farnum and Cy are upset.
  • Parental Substitute: He intends to for Alma's children.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Killed by George Hearst late in Season 3 to prove that he is the Big Bad in all his glory.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Ellsworth might appear to be a grizzled prospector, and he is, but he's no donkey-brained hick. He's intelligent and perceptive, seeing right through Hearst's manipulations.

    Cy 

Cyrus "Cy" Tolliver

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tolliver_cyrus_1.jpg
Played By: Powers Boothe

"How about a nap, a bath and sex with a unfamiliar woman?"

Al Swearengen's worst nightmare came true when Cy Tolliver brought his own den of gambling and whoring to Deadwood from Chicago. Tolliver's Bella Union is a high class joint, offering more refined and well-kept prostitutes along with sophisticated gaming, including craps.

A former riverboat gambler, Tolliver has been around, and he sees the unlimited earning potential the lawless town of Deadwood offers. Having done his homework and placed his own spies in town, Tolliver quickly establishes that he's not afraid of going head-to-head with Al, and he is just as calculating and wily as his competition.


  • Ambition Is Evil: Cy has great plans for his future, and his ambition results in him making more and more monstrous (and sometimes ill-advised) decisions that even Al would balk at.
  • Ax-Crazy: His nifty dress sense and quick smile are a thin veneer for what he truly is: a vicious jackal who kills before thinking.
  • Badass Moustache: It's Powers Boothe, so of course he has this.
  • Bad Boss: Cy bullies, threatens and outright murders his employees from time to time.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: He's essentially a darker version of E.B. Farnum - a Smug Snake who desperately wants to be a major player in the town's politics, but whose poorly executed schemes and toxic personality leave him at the mercy of bigger predators like George Hearst.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He can pretend to be civil...for all of five minutes.
  • But That Would Be Wrong: Says it word-for-word in one of his snarky moments.
    Swearengen: Sometimes I wish we could just hit 'em over the head, rob 'em, and throw their bodies in the creek.
    Cy: But that would be wrong.
  • The Character Died with Him: Implied to have been his fate during the Time Skip between the end of series and the movie; Cy is nowhere to be seen and Joanie mentions he left the Bella Union to her. This is, of course, a result of Powers Boothe's passing in 2017.
  • The Dandy: He is well-dressed and groomed, in contrast to pretty much everyone else in the camp.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has some bitterly dry lines.
    "[during Swearengen's and Bullock's fight] Awful possibility in these matters is both men sustaining mortal injury... [After the fight] But I'm rarely that fucking lucky."

    "That group and employer bullshit really quickens me with fuckin' trust."

    "Tell Al as we didn't wake to the apocalypse, I suppose all we need fear is their Winchesters."
  • Demoted to Dragon: After he sides with Hearst.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: So, you want to steal in his saloon (but not even from him)? You better think it again. He will administer such a terrible beating on you that death will be a mercy.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He's disgusted by Wolcott's penchant for murdering prostitutes, though not to the extent that he won't help out with covering it up to gain leverage. He also can do nothing but insult Hearst when he first sees that Hearst has ordered the death of Ellsworth.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Al. Notable, considering that Al is already evil, but affable.
  • Evil Mentor: To Joanie.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Cy's character is essentially a version of Al that lacks the flickers of humanity that Al demonstrates.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • Cy can be genial and even charming, but he has trouble keeping it up. His sharp dress sense does a better job of hiding what a savage animal he is.
    • He and Al act as a good case study for the differences between Faux Affably Evil and Affably Evil, respectively.
  • Foil: To Al. Both are ruthless saloon and brothel owners, but there are marked differences in the two.
    • Al has standards and good intent, not to mention he does seem to like a select few people. Cy sees people only as pawns to be used.
    • Al keeps himself surrounded by henchmen who are at least basically competent, and loyal to him. Cy employs a series of Yes Men, alienating anyone who could truly benefit him.
    • Al has Trixie, his favored whore, much like Cy has Joanie. However, Al not only has a physical relationship with Trixie (which Cy does not have with Joanie, or at least has no longer) but at his core he does care for her. Al is willing to let Trixie go and make a better life for herself despite his talk; Cy makes empty promises about letting Joanie go as well, but he has absolutely no intention of letting her have anything but a 'looser rein'.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He has trouble keeping his fiery temper in check, and can blow up at people sometimes for no reason.
  • Humiliation Conga: Starting with Wolcott's arrival in camp, Cy is forced to endure mounting humiliations as his standing in Deadwood weakens.
    Wolcott: You're a desperate man, aren't you, Tolliver? Desperate. You feel your position weakening.
  • Incompatible Orientation: With Joanie, who he seems to love. She's a lesbian.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Every time Cy shows even the slightest hint of an affable nature or genuine good intent, he subverts it by letting his rage overtake him or just becoming a sadistic beast on a turn.
  • Pet the Dog: Don't expect even the slightest bit of decency from Cy, unless your name is Joanie. He rescued her from her own incestuous, abusive father (although this might just be because Cy saw value in her) In the movie, it's even mentioned that he left the Bella Union to her in his will.
    • Even Cy is i.nfuriated when Hearst has Ellsworth killed.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He stands out even though the show averts Politically Correct History as much as possible. Ironically, he is the only one that claims to respect Chinese customs... though that was most likely because it meant more money for him. Cy is also a misogynist to the core, despite his feelings for Joanie.
    "Don't believe there's no good women 'till you've seen one with maggots in her eyes."
  • Sanity Slippage: After being stabbed, his mental health begins to fail and he becomes violently unpredictable...uh, moreso.
  • Smug Snake: Fancies himself a Magnificent Bastard. However, while he doesn't lack for brains or ambition, Cy tends to overestimate himself. His skills at long-term decision making are practically neutered by his unhinged mental state and his Axe-Crazy Bad Boss tendencies only serve to drive away any potential allies, forcing him to rely on clumsy lickspittles and inept junkies who couldn't think their way out of a box.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: One of the key differences between Cy and Al is that Al has people he can depend on...the loyal Johnny Burns, the powerful Dan Dority, the cunning Silas Adams...Cy, meanwhile, has to depend on Leon and Con Stapleton, a pair of easily distracted idiots. Cy alienates everyone under his employ who's even halfway competent like Joanie, Andy or Eddie Sawyer.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Cy progressively goes through one in Season 3 as a result of Hearst's machinations and the physical after-effects of his stabbing, culminating in a massive explosion of impotent rage in the final episode.
  • You Have Failed Me: Has a tendency to do this to his employees.
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    Joanie 

Joanie Stubbs

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/stubbs_joan_1108.jpg
"I wish once I could care for those little ones. Just once instead of doin' what I did."
Played By: Kim Dickens

Jack Langrishe: The blessed Miss Stubbs, whose bust is so very prominent in the mind's pantheon of the camp.

Joanie Stubbs is Cy Tolliver's former madam at the Bella Union. Joanie, unlike Trixie, acts only as the hostess, and not as a prostitute herself. Although she is a lesbian, Stubbs has a long relationship with Cy and is one of the few people Cy cares for, though his increasingly unpredictable and violent behavior sours their friendship. Often depressed and self-loathing, she was apparently bought by Cy from her own father, who had abused and pimped her and her younger sisters as prostitutes. Joanie also reveals that her father used her to coerce her sisters to sleep with him—to "see to his needs since mama was gone." As a result, the emotionally scarred Joanie is weighed down by guilt.


  • Abusive Parents: Her father raped her and her sisters, before selling her into slavery at the age of 14.
  • Broken Bird: Joanie's life has consisted of being used and abused by a succession of evil men, and at the start of the series she's still under Cy Tolliver's control. While much of the time, Joanie is a charming and pleasant woman with a quick wit, underneath she's a vulnerable and traumatized person.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She has a sharp tongue.
    Al:You do not want to be a dirt-worshipping heathen from this fucking point forward. (to Joanie) Pardon my French.
    Joanie: Oh, I speak French.
  • Despair Event Horizon: In Season 1, when Cy forces her to shoot the thief that stole from her. Again in Season 2, when Francis Wolcott kills her business partner and two women more in her brothel.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Joanie is one of the more fashionable character, usually dressed in a beautiful dress complete with a nifty hat.
  • High-Class Call Girl: She's a much higher class of prostitute than Al's more earthy employees like Trixie and Dolly. Joanie is well-dressed, charming and seductive while Al's prostitutes tend to be all-business.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: She's a prostitute and one of most kind-hearted characters in the show.
  • Nice Hat: Joanie typically wears a top hat with a long veil flowing behind.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: She's easily the most attractive of the female main cast (with the possible exception of Alma) and it isn't hard to see why men fall for her so easily. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for women) she isn't attracted to men.
  • Made a Slave: After her mother died, her father prostituted her and later sold her to Cy.
  • Miss Kitty: Within the Bella Union. She later tries to strike out on her own with Old Friend Maddie, but things go terribly wrong.
  • Morality Pet: To Cy, although he's often cruel even to her.
  • Number Two: To Cy Tolliver, during Season 1. After that she strikes out on her own.
  • Official Couple: With Jane, eventually.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Becomes this with Charlie.
  • Rape as Backstory: Her father molested and pimped her out as a young child.
  • Took a Level in Badass: When she beats Francis Wolcott over the head with a bottle.

    Martha 

Martha Eccles Bullock

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bullock_martha.jpg
Played By: Anna Gunn

Martha Eccles Bullock is Seth Bullock's wife and former sister-in-law. Seth's brother Robert had been a cavalryman and died while fighting comancheros in Texas. Bullock felt obliged to marry and take care of the widow and orphan, although he is not actually romantically involved with her. This was the custom of the time so many children would not grow up fatherless after the Civil and Indian wars. She feels a confusing mix of gratitude towards Bullock, perhaps even romantic love for him, but wishes he not sacrifice his own happiness any more than necessary to provide for her and her son.


  • Arranged Marriage: As was the custom at the time, Martha's marriage to Seth Bullock was out of a mutual sense of duty following the death of her husband, Seth's brother.
  • Cool Teacher: She takes to teaching very well, proving herself to be patient and understanding toward her students.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In contrast to her extremely polite attitude, a dictate during one of her classes includes crude antisemitic and anti-Indian remarks.
  • Despair Event Horizon: William's death all but destroys her; she does somewhat shakily recover by throwing herself into her role as camp teacher.
  • Hot Teacher: She's very attractive, a fact which doesn't change after she becomes the camp's school teacher (due to the first candidate being literally freaked out into abandoning it). Jane is seen peeking through the windows of her classroom either out of a fascination with the class itself or because she's attracted to Martha...or both.
  • Ice Queen: Martha is far from a terrible person, but she can come across as rather cold and emotionless, particularly in her marriage to Bullock (although there are, shall we say, mitigating circumstances.
  • Last-Name Basis: She insists on calling Seth "Mr. Bullock". Seth teases her by calling her Martha in occasion, but to no avail.
  • Settle for Sibling: Martha was married to Bullock's brother, and when he died she married Seth. This was the custom at the time, since it wouldn't do for a woman to be a single mother.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Aside from being a beautiful blonde, she stands at 5'10".
  • Woman Scorned: She figures out very quickly that Seth had a prior relationship with Alma before her arrival in camp, and resents both Alma and Seth for it.

    Merrick 

A.W. Merrick

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/merrick_a_w__6124.jpg
Played By: Jeffrey Jones

"Timid, huh. Hardly, sir. My own strong personal impulse was to offer my name for office but a fourth estate, independent in name and fact from the operations of government is of the essence of a free society."

A. Walter "A. W." Merrick is the proprietor of the local newspaper, the Black Hills Pioneer. Somewhat pretentious in his bearing, he prides himself as a newspaperman with a duty to print the truth, but must navigate a twisty path of remaining friends with all the major players in town and being privy to their plans and confidences. He gains the friendship of Seth Bullock, Sol Star, and Charlie Utter, and even suggests that since he enjoys walking and socializing with them about the local goings on, that they should form a club for doing just that.


  • Big Eater: To the point where his weight begins to cause him serious health problems.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After the trial and after losing the chance to be mayor he hits the bottle hard. May also qualify as Off the Wagon based on his telling Dan that now he'd started drinking again he wondered why he'd ever stopped.
  • Gentle Giant: One of the biggest men in the camp, yet couldn't hurt a fly.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!!: The Doc has to do this when he is freaking out because he thinks he has smallpox. Later Al does it in a different context. Thanks to Character Development no one feels the need to slap him in Season 3.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Sorry Merrick, no one wants to join The Ambulators.
  • Nice Guy: Merrick is essentially a cheerful, friendly and somewhat dorky fellow with no moral vices beyond his Big Eater status.
  • Non-Action Guy: Merrick is completely distant from the violence of Deadwood, and it's rare that he gets hurt. But wow, when he gets hurt, he does wallow in it.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Probably the biggest purveyor of this in the series. Merrick won't say a single word when ten paragraphs will do. This actually comes into play, since he recognizes Hugo Jarry's tendency to use his vocabulary as a literary weapon.
  • Sour Grapes: After Farnum beats him to get the mayor office, he convinces himself that he actually didn't want it.
  • Those Two Guys: Eventually with Blazanov.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: He often expresses a very idealized view of what the community could become.

    Tom 

Thomas 'Tom' Nuttall

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nuttall_thomas.jpg
Played By: Leon Rippy

Thomas "Tom" Nuttall is proprietor of the No. 10 Saloon which is the site of Wild Bill Hickok's murder. (The saloon is named for its address on the camp's main thoroughfare.) One of the first settlers to arrive in Deadwood, arriving before even Swearengen, he has grown increasingly disillusioned with the camp and its future and has gone as far as to consider selling his saloon and leaving the camp.


  • Badass Bystander: He runs after and catches Jack McCall after he shoots Wild Bill Hickock in his joint.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's somewhat bumbling, but is implied to be a hidden badass.
  • The Bartender: Of the Number 10 Saloon when Harry isn't on duty.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: No matter what he's wearing, he always wears his bartender apron, to the point of getting offended when somebody suggests him to take it off.
  • Nice Guy: In general, Tom is a pleasant man, if a little bumbling.
  • Retired Badass: Implied to be this by Al, or possibly Retired Monster.
    Al: Sent many Native Americans to the happy hunting ground. Formidable, Tom was. And no more fool now than time shows us all.

    Farnum 

Eustace Bailey "E. B." Farnum

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/farnum_eustace_bailey.jpg
Played By: William Sanderson

"The bald contempt of it! Why not come out five abreast cavorting and taunting 'E.B. was left out! E.B. was left out!'? Cocksuckers! Cuntlickers! Make your filthy gestures. Public service was never my primary career..."

Eustace Bailey "E. B." Farnum is the proprietor of the Grand Central Hotel and self-appointed mayor of the town, a role he inhabits with comic opera buffoonish seriousness. He is totally controlled by Swearengen, although he harbors delusions of potential grandeur for himself. He is incredibly greedy — costing Al the chance to buy Alma Garret's claim due to low offers — and continually asks prying questions to people around town, leading to numerous abuses and threats directed towards him.


  • Bad Boss: To Richardson, whom he abuses and bullies.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Farnum would like to consider himself a player in town, but he's too short-sighted, greedy and cowardly to get anywhere beyond being a lapdog.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Although he does have his moments.
  • Butt-Monkey: Farnum is a willing puppet of whoever scares him the most, alternatively being Al, Tolliver and Hearst. Al in particular delegates him to humiliating jobs, but Hearst reaches new levels of asshattery by commanding E.B. to stand still in one place for hours. He spits on his face and orders him not to wipe it off. Basically, E.B. gets humiliated a lot.
  • The Chew Toy: It's taken Up to Eleven when Hearst rides into town.
  • The Dandy: Only after he is made mayor, and even then his new suit gets quickly overused.
    E.B.: Anything the mayor should know?
    Al: The name of another tailor.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He only snarks when he thinks he can get away with it, but he's a snarker nevertheless.
    "Could you have been born, Richardson, and not egg-hatched as I've always assumed?"

    Farnum: Some ancient Italian maxim fits our situation, whose particulars escape me.
    Wolcott: Is the gist that I'm shit outta luck?
    Farnum: Did they speak that way then?
  • Dirty Coward: When E.B. realizes he's in danger, there's no debasement that he won't visit upon himself in hopes of the promise of a mere extended second of survival.
  • The Dog Bites Back: He fantasizes about doing such to Hearst; but due to Farnum being Farnum, it's wishful thinking at best. Played straight in the movie where EB learns of Hearst's plan to murder Samuel Fields, a witness to the murder of Charlie Utter, and promptly alerts Bullock. This ultimately leads to Hearst's hand in Utter's murder being made public, followed by his subsequent arrest and humiliation.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: He's angered by the happiness of others, since genuine happiness eludes him on a constant basis. When Richardson gains applause for his juggling, he's furious and Jack Langrishe subsequently calls him on it.
    Jack: Envy is a cardinal sin, Mr. Farnum. Cardinal sin!
  • Karma Houdini: By all rights, Farnum should have been killed a dozen times over yet he always manages to slither his way to survival. Still, he hardly leads a charmed life, as the good people of Deadwood and elsewhere do tend to visit upon him every imaginable indignity except the final one.
  • Mommy Issues: Vaguely alluded to.
    "Puberty may bring you to understand what we take for mother-love is really murderous hatred and a desire for revenge."
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He is quite racist and misogynist, even by the standards of the time; when Sol runs against him for Mayor in Season 3, E.B. spends his entire speech at the debates making veiled anti-semitic insults about Sol's Jewish heritage.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: To just about everyone who is a station above him.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Not to Merrick's extent, but close.
  • Slime Ball: Everyone who encounters E.B. instantly knows what kind of man he is due to the secretion of slime that he tries to pass off as charm. It's accepted by everyone, from the good-hearted Charlie Utter to the monstrous George Hearst, that E.B. is a vile runt of a man who can't be trusted to take a step forward without trying to pull some pathetic con.
    Jane: Who runs that joint?
    Wolcott: A grotesque named Farnum.
    Jane: You ain't lied, so far.
  • Sleazy Politician: After he becomes mayor. There was no chance he'd be anything else, considering the type of person he is.
  • Smug Snake: E.B. would like to say he's on the same level as Al, and denigrates those who he considers beneath him (like Richardson and...nobody else is beneath Farnum). E.B. is actually a coward whose plans are poorly thought-out, hastily executed and forever doomed to failure.
  • Wicked Cultured: He does have some education, enough at least to engage in some Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
  • Yes-Man: To Al; Farnum often tells him what he wants to hear, but Al is too smart to fall for the usual Yes-Man tactics.

    Wild Bill 

James Butler ”Wild Bill” Hickock

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hickok_james_butler.jpg
Played By: Keith Carradine

"You know the sound of thunder, don't you, Mrs. Garrett?"

James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok has a reputation as one of the fastest gunslingers around. He arrives in Deadwood as a weary man who seems determined to let his compulsive drinking and gambling take over. With him are his friend, Charlie Utter, and devotee, Calamity Jane. He has apparently come to prospect but despite Charlie Utter's attempts to persuade him to do so, he shows no interest and scolds Charlie for not leaving him be.


  • Badass Longcoat: He has one.
  • Badass Moustache: A particularly impressive one.
  • Beneath Notice: Wild Bill Hickok simply does not give one hoot about Jack McCall, thinking him a droopy-eyed buffoon who runs his mouth and whom Hickok is very good at beating in poker. It's not that he didn't like McCall, he simply didn't care about him. Which is why he never saw it coming when McCall shot him.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Jack McCall kills him by shooting him at point-blank range in the back of his head.
  • The Dandy: Wild Bill is very well put-together as opposed to the slightly more shabby denizens of Deadwood and even his own friends. Considering his job, it makes sense that he'd dress to stand out.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has a dry, laconic wit.
    "If irritating me is the jackpot, you got the job done."
  • Dead Star Walking: In-story as well as in real life. Keith Carradine is a popular actor, and Wild Bill is already famous by the time he turns up in Deadwood.
  • Death Seeker: Wild Bill eventually confesses (without being direct about it) to Charlie that he's come to Deadwood to destroy himself through gambling, drink and needless confrontation.
    "Some goddamn time, a man's due to stop arguing with hisself, feeling twice the goddamn fool he knows he is because he can't be something he tries to be every goddamn day without once getting to dinnertime and not fucking it up. I don't want to fight it no more. Understand me, Charlie? And I don't want you pissing in my ear about it. Can you let me go to hell the way I want to?"
  • Doomed by Canon / Foregone Conclusion: He's shot dead by Jack McCall while playing poker at the No 10.
  • Famed In-Story: Everybody knows Wild Bill Hickok. He's treated like a celebrity by some of the camp residents, a few of whom claim to have seen him in action.
  • Fastest Gun in the West: He earned his fame by being a quick draw, and shows why he has that reputation when confronting one of Sofia's attackers.
  • The Gambling Addict: He rarely lost money because he was that good at playing, but ended costing him his life.
  • Historical Domain Character: Wild Bill is an American legend and as is well-known, was indeed a real person.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Bill is extremely cynical and world-weary, and is far from being the hero everyone expects him to be. Nevertheless, he does help to save the life of Sofia Metz and gives solid advice to the Garretts.
  • The Gunslinger: Possibly the most well-known and legendary example. He proves it, too, when he outdraws a criminal in the blink of an eye.
  • Pet the Dog: He is Wild Bill Hickok, one of the most famous outlaws in American history. He's certainly done some brutal things in his past: but in the show, he is nothing short of polite to those that don't antagonize him, strikes up a friendship with Bullock, treats his friends with respect (with a little bit of good-natured snark), and is unfailingly considerate of Alma Garrett's situation after her husband's death.
  • Professional Gambler: While he's ostensibly in Deadwood to prospect, he spends most of his time playing cards with people he doesn't like.
  • Weapon of Choice: A pair of ivory decorated revolvers.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Wild Bill Hickok only gets four episodes before he's shot by Jack Mc Call.
  • You Should Know This Already: Wild Bill was famously killed in Deadwood by a nobody named Jack McCall. His death in the series was never a spoiler, but an event that viewers were expecting (and due to the popularity of Bill as a character, dreading).
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