HBO’s Western series Deadwood is filled with violent and dangerous characters, but even the deadliest among them knew to stay clear of Wild Bill Hickok. In the first season, the show explores this famous gunfighter’s final days in the titular lawless town before he was murdered while playing poker.
The show’s depiction of Wild Bill, played by Keith Carradine, is a world-weary man who knows he’s nearing the end of his life and looking to go out with a whimper instead of a bang. Despite his reserved manner, Wild Bill is still an intimidating person who can put a man in his place with a few strong words.
- 1 10 “Was That You Or Me, Montana?”
- 2 9 “I Don’t Know, I Just Met You.”
- 3 8 “You Let That Slow You Down?”
- 4 7 “And Now I Killed You.”
- 5 6 “Go Eat, Jack.”
- 6 5 “The Game’s All That’s Between You And Getting Called A C**t.”
- 7 4 “You Don’t Figure A Good Talking To Will Do The Trick?”
- 8 3 “I’m Flat-Out Tired.”
- 9 2 “You Know The Sound Of Thunder, Don’t You Mrs. Garret?”
- 10 1 “Can You Let Me Go To Hell The Way I Want To?”
10 “Was That You Or Me, Montana?”
During one of his first nights in Deadwood, the town is thrown into chaos after news comes that a family of travelers was attacked and butchered by Natives outside of town. However, after examining the massacre, Bill and Seth Bullock determine it was thieves.
The two men corner the man whom they think is responsible. As he tries to pull his gun, both Bill and Seth are much fast with their shots. After the man falls to the ground dead, Bill calmly asks which of them it was. Seth replies, “My money would be on you.”
9 “I Don’t Know, I Just Met You.”
Though Bill arrives in Deadwood with the plan to become a prospector, he is more drawn to the poker tables, where he spends most of his time. One pathetic character he runs into frequently at these games is Jack McCall, the man who would eventually kill him.
During their first game, Jack attempts to show up the famed gunfighter and brag about winning a few hands. Bill reminds Jack who he’s talking to and Jack insists he’s not looking to get in a gunfight. He asks Bill how stupid he thinks he is and Bill replies, “I don’t know, I just met you.”
8 “You Let That Slow You Down?”
Though he is drawn to the poker tables, Bill proves himself to be a lousy player. As his friend Charlie Utter explains, Bill has a tendency to stay in a hand far longer than he should and as a result, he loses a lot of money.
However, this does not seem to phase the stoic cowboy in the least. While talking to his new friend, Seth Bullock, Bill asks if Seth plays poker. Seth responds that he’s no good at it and Bill dryly asks, “You let that slow you down?”
7 “And Now I Killed You.”
Despite his calm demeanor, Bill quickly proves to the rest of the town that he is every bit as impressive as the legends would suggest. In one of his first nights in town, Bill and Seth gun down a man suspected of killing and robbing a family of travelers.
Shortly after, the dead man’s brother comes to the saloon looking for revenge. As he approaches Bill at the poker table, Bill guns him down. The man lies dying on the floor and curses Bill for killing his brother. Bill coolly replies, “And now I killed you.”
6 “Go Eat, Jack.”
When the new saloon known as the Bella Union opens in Deadwood, Bill decides to try his luck with their poker tables. He turns out to be much more successful, much to the chagrin of Jack McCall.
After losing all of his money in one hand to Bill, a drunken and belligerent Jack curses him out. With a hint of sympathy in his eyes, Bill slides one poker chip over to Jack and tells him to go get a meal. It is a moment of kindness towards a man Bill has no love for.
5 “The Game’s All That’s Between You And Getting Called A C**t.”
Jack McCall is one of those losers who cannot help but dig themselves deeper and deeper into a hole. His constant cocky talk gets to the point that he finally makes Bill lose his temper.
After teasing Bill about finally winning a hand, Jack suggests he might take a break. Coldly, Bill asks him if he’s sure since the game is all that’s between them settling this feud in another way. Jack immediately cowers and Bill returns to his calm demeanor, explaining that he put up with Jack running his mouth just to play poker.
4 “You Don’t Figure A Good Talking To Will Do The Trick?”
Though he has no intention of playing the hero in town, Bill’s reputation means that he draws certain people looking for his help. One of those men is Brom Garret, a New York man who was swindled into buying a supposedly worthless gold claim.
Brom asks Bill to recover his money but Bill says he is not interested in becoming a robber. Brom insists those aren’t the only means of getting the money but Bill responds, “You don’t figure a good talking to will do the trick?”
3 “I’m Flat-Out Tired.”
There is a quick bond that forms between Wild Bill and Seth Bullock. The two men respect each other as honest and heroic, which is something Deadwood seems to be lacking in. Bill perhaps also sees Seth as someone who can look after things once he’s gone.
During Bill’s last night alive, he and Seth share a conversation while Bill hints at his coming demise. He finally says, “I’m flat-out tired” and Seth reassures him he can turn in and he’ll take it from here.
2 “You Know The Sound Of Thunder, Don’t You Mrs. Garret?”
After Bill turns down Brom’s request for help, Brom ends up being murdered on Al Swearengen’s orders. Brom’s widow Alma then seeks out Bill for help and he attempts to persuade her of the danger she is in if she stays in the camp.
He asks if she knows the sound of thunder then goes on to explain that he tried to give Brom the same warning, “But I didn’t say it in thunder. Ma’am, listen to the thunder.”
1 “Can You Let Me Go To Hell The Way I Want To?”
Charlie Utter is the man by Bill’s side, trying to push him on a path of prosperity. He is continually frustrated to see Bill stuck to the poker tables and refusing to even try the idea of prospecting.
When Charlie confronts Bill about these frustrations, Bill finally admits that he’s basically come to this town to live out the rest of his days. He doesn’t want to pretend to be something he is not and he asks Charlie, “Can’t you let me go to hell the way I want to?”
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