There are several
Deadwood series that never actually existed in the real life
mining camp of
South Dakota, such as Alma Garrett, Joanie Stubbs, Silas Adams and more.
Sometimes these figures
are pure fictional accounts in order to make the show more interesting. In
other cases, they may be very loosely based on a real character of
early days. Yet, in other instances, a name is merely borrowed from
a real person, without even closely resembling the historical figure. This
would be the case of E.B. Farnum.
In general; however, these characters often
personify the types of people who arrived in and lived at the camp during
its early years when
was, in fact, a violent, wild, and bawdy town.
Silas Adams - Played by Titus Welliver,
Silas Adams is one
Swearengen's henchmen in the
Deadwood series. Though Swearengen did employ several
"ugly" characters to work for him during his days at the Gem Theatre,
there is no record of a Silas Adams in
Garrett Dillahunt played the scoundrel
Francis Wolcott, who is a fictional character, as well as playing
the role of Jack McCall, who was very real.
Though there were plenty of madams in
none were named Joanie Stubbs. Played by Kim Dickens on the series.
Alma Garrett played by
Molly Parker is a fictional character of
Cy Tolliver, played by Powers Boothe, was
never part of
Bullock - Played by Josh Eriksson, this character did not
exist in actual life, as Martha Bullock was never married to Seth's
brother. The character, however, may be loosely based on Douglas
Kislingbury, Seth's seven year-old nephew. Douglas' mother, Agnes
(Seth's sister) had already died when his father Lieutenant Frederick
F. Kislingbury was sent on the Greeley Polar Seas Expedition in 1881. While his father was gone, Douglas was sent to stay with Seth, however
the Lieutenant died on the expedition. Seth later returned Douglas
to family members in New York in 1885.
Cochran - There is no record of a Doctor
1876, there was a doctor named Lyman F. Babcock who served the town
until after the turn of the century. There also appears, in the
1880 census, a 27-year-old surgeon by the name of Thomas Franks, who
was housed right next to the Gem Theatre. Another doctor by the name
of F.S. Howe set up shop in 1901 and was known to administer to the
prostitutes, many of whom escaped their lives through alcoholism,
laudanum and opium use. Dr. Howe was known to always take his
stomach pump when summoned to one of the brothels in the middle of the
Ellsworth - Played by Jim Beaver, there is no known man in
real history by this name. However, Ellsworth is typical of many men
in the camp who spent most of their time prospecting in the various
camps of the west.
Garrett - Alma Garrett, as well as her deceased husband, Brom,
are fictional characters, typical of many of the naive city slickers
who came to the camp in search of their fortunes. As such, Alma
obviously didn't own the Homestake Mine, have an affair with
or capitalize the
Bank. Alma Garrett is played by Molly Parker on the
Metz - On April 24,
1876 there was a Metz Massacre that was attributed to
but was most likely led by a white man. Charles Metz was a baker in
South Dakota, but when the strike
was made at
Deadwood, most of Custer's residents
moved to the new gold rush. Metz decided to go to Laramie,
Wyoming . Loading up with his wife and a colored maid, Metz hired a teamster named
Simpson to lead them. All four were found murdered, their bodies
horribly mutilated about 12 miles south of Custer the next morning. There were no children in the Metz party.
Stubbs - Though there was a theatre
Bella Union in
Deadwood, there is no record that a
Joanie Stubbs ever worked there or anywhere else in the mining camp. While
there were several other madams who worked in the camp, including Dora
Dufran and Mollie Johnson, the character of Joanie does not closely follow
what is known about these to madams. Additionally, the
Bella Union was not owned by Cy
Tolliver, but by a gentleman named Tom Miller. Though very grand, like the
building in the series, the
Bella Union was not a gambling saloon, but rather, was a theatre that
provided entertainment mild enough for "proper" ladies and family members.
Joanie Stubbs is played by Kim Dickens on the
Tolliver - There is no record of a Cy Tolliver in
Deadwood's history. The
Bella Union was actually was
built and owned by a man named Tom Miller in 1876 and truly was the
grandest place in town. The reception room quickly became the
central meeting place of
Deadwood. However, the
Bella Union didn't last very long. In November 1878, the entire
place was dismantled and the furniture and fixtures were sold. The
lower floor became a grocery store and the upper floor, a meeting room
called Mechanics Hall. Cy Toliver is played by Powers Boothe on the
Wolcott - Though
George Hearst and other investors would eventually buy the Homestake
Mine in 1877, there is no evidence that a man named
Francis Wolcott ever existed in
there was a man named Major Francis "Frank" Wolcott who led the Regulators
during the Johnson County War in
in April, 1892, it is very unlikely that the two were one in the same. Hearst did, however, send agents to
investigate the claims prior to his arrival, one of which was a man named
L.D. Kellogg, an experienced practical miner. After a brief investigation,
Kellogg optioned the Homestake and Golden Star Claims for $70,000.
Hearst and his partners incorporated their holdings as The Homestake
Mining Company in California on November 5, 1877. P.S. I assume
everyone noticed that the actor who plays Wolcott, Garret Dillahunt, is
the same man that played that dastardly
and Other Chinese Characters -
Though Wu is representative of Tong leaders in
the camp, there is no record for anyone by that name in actual
Deadwood history in
the 1870's. That being said, Wu is
representative of the many Chinese people who formed a
large community in
Deadwood during its early days, including
two men who owned gambling and opium dens named
Quong Lee and Wing Tsue. Though the series
shows a Chinese City within the city in 1876, the bulk of the Chinese
didn't arrive in
Deadwood until the
early 1880's and there are no mentions of the Chinese in
during 1876. In fact, when 50 Chinese men showed up in 1877, the white
miners were in an uproar. As to the Chinese opium sales to the white
settlers, this is true. There were a number of opium dens in the camp by
1880 and though an effort was made to get them to leave, they were running
very prosperously by 1883.
really use that much foul language in the
Old West ?
This is a little fictional and a little factual.
They did use bad language in
days, when the camp was primarily filled with rowdy men and rough
characters. It was so bad, in fact, that the newspaper headlines reported,
in 1879, that residents were organizing to suppress the profanity.
However, in those days, such words as crap, shit, damn, and bitch were
considered to be very foul language. Today, these words are
used in every day common language and we hear them all the time, usually
taking little offense. Therefore, the show uses the "worst"
words (of today) in order to get the point across.
original intention of the series was to use period slang and swear words;
however, according to David Milch, the series' creator, the results
sounded downright comical. Utilizing current profanity, the words have a
much greater impact on modern audiences, sending the message of how
lawless and "barbaric" the camp was during its early days.
All cast photos courtesy All cast photos courtesy