Deadwood - Factional & Fictional Accounts
Characters of Wild Bill Hickok and
on the HBO
Deadwood series, photo courtesy
A strong Chinese community did exist in
early days when as many as 400 Chinese lived in an area of
often referred to as the "Badlands." They elected their own mayor
and council, as well as establishing their own police force and fire
days, selling opium and other drugs to the white settlers was
a common practice.
Wild Bill Hickok:
Jane was every bit as foul-mouthed and
drunk as she is portrayed in the series.
There was a small pox outbreak in 1876
where quarantine tents (pest houses) were established to care for the
Calamity Jane was
instrumental in helping to care for those who were ill during this
Albert W. Merrick:
Albert W. Merrick was in fact a newspaper editor, founding the
Deadwood Pioneer in 1876. However, in August, 1879, he sold the
paper only to re-purchase it a year later.
- A Miners' Court was established in
August, 1876 to establish a provisional government in the city. At this
time, Seth Bullock
was elected as a commissioner and fire warden and
E.B. Farnum was
made mayor. Just a month later, the miners court held an election
of offices, and
Farnum actually won
in the popular vote for mayor. However, Seth Bullock
wasn't even in the running for
Marshal and the job went to Con Stapleton.
pioneer John S. McClintock, a
Gem Theater prostitute named
Tricksie shot a man through the front of his skull for beating her up.
The attending doctor put a probe through the manís head, amazed that he
survived the gunshot.
Wild Bill Hickok,
Calamity Jane, and several prostitutes did arrive with Charlie Utter's
wagon train in July, 1876.
Charlie Utter was a true friend
to Wild Bill Hickok. When
Bill Hickok died,
Charlie was indeed away, but soon made it back in time to make all
the arrangements for his funeral, bought the plot and erected the
It is very unlikely that Seth Bullock and
Sol Star even met
Wild Bill Hickok,
much less befriended him.
Sol arrived in
Deadwood only one day
before Wild Bill Hickok was
shot. The timeline here is obviously skewed so
Wild Bill could "stay in
the picture" a little longer.
Seth Bullock did
not go after
Bill Hickok's killer,
Jack McCall. After the trial in
Deadwood was found to be
a farce, McCall
was apprehended and taken to Yankton,
South Dakota by U.S. Marshals. He was hanged for the murder of
Bill Hickok on March 1,
1877. McCall was buried in Yankton
with the hangmanís noose still tied around his neck.
Seth Bullock marrying
his brother's widow is fiction. In fact,
childhood sweetheart and the couple married in Utah in 1874, two years
Deadwood. He actually sent
along with their new infant daughter, Margaret, to live with her parents
in Minnesota until he could get his business established.
joined him in the camp, they had another daughter named Florence and a
son named Stanley.
was not elected by the miner's court as
first marshal, but rather, a man named Isaac Brown was elected by the
Miner's Court after the trial of
on August 5, 1876. However, when Isaac Brown, along with the Reverend
Smith, and two other men named Charles Mason and Charles Holland were
traveling between Crook City and
they were ambushed and killed on August 20th. Leaving an open position,
the miner's court soon met again, this time electing Stapleton as the
new sheriff. However, Bullock was
appointed by Governor Pennington as the first Lawrence County Sheriff,
in March 1877. However, when the vote for Lawrence County Sheriff was
put to the residents in November, 1877, Bullock
lost to John Manning.
Star and Bullock
did not buy the lot for their store at Wall & Main Street from
Al Swearengen. They
actually bought the lot from two men by the names of Sam Schwartzwald
and Henry Beaman in April of 1877.
and Seth Bullock
were involved in a short-lived mining endeavor that never appears on the
series. In 1877, records show that the Portland Mine was owned by
a man named Peter Wiser. Just a year later, in March, 1878, records show
that the claim was sold.
obviously didn't have an affair with Alma Garrett, as she did not exist.
It is highly unlikely that he had an affair with anyone given his
did not arrive in camp with a son in tow, but actually arrived with her
daughter, who was just a toddler at the time.
William Bullock did not exist; however,
Seth and Martha
did care for a nephew for several years, but this was not until 1881.
Though evidence does suggest problems with the Cornish miners during the
Homestake Mine's early history, the vast majority seems to be among
the miners themselves, rather than between the Cornish men and the mine
owners, or George Hearst, specifically. As a rule, the Cornish were sought after by
the mine owners, as they were considered to be the best hard rock miners
in the world, having had a long history of mining in their own country.
Though the mine owners might have "loved" them, they were often
discriminated against by other immigrants who were resentful of their
clannishness and semi-privileged industrial situation.
Morgan does come along with
when the two arrive in the spring of 1877, there is no indication that he
shot anyone while in
Deadwood. There is also nothing in
historical records that indicate that he was the "goofball" portrayed on
Morgan was married at the time he
arrived in the mining camp
and the couple lived in
shows up in season three of the series, he actually appeared in
in the spring of 1877, at about the same time that Al Swearengen
opened the Gem Theater and Seth Bullock was
appointed as the Lawrence County Sheriff.
E.B. Farnum did not own the
Grand Central Hotel in Deadwood, but rather,
owned a retail store and was a real estate and mining entrepreneur.
It is very unlikely
that he was Al Swearengen's "lackey," as
all evidence suggests he was a successful businessman in his own right.
Though the series shows
nothing of a wife,
Farnum was married
and had three children.
Although the series
E.B.'s name as
Eustace Baily, it was actually Ethan Bennett.
Though it is true that
hired investigators to check out the claims prior to his arrival,
including a man named L.D. Kellogg, an experienced practical miner,
there is no evidence that Kellogg or any other investigator utilized
heavy handed tactics with the town folk. After a brief investigation,
Kellogg optioned the
Homestake and Golden Star Claims for $70,000.
George Hearst never owned the
Grand Central Hotel. However, he would build a new hotel at the
Homestake Mine in 1879.
While George Hearst, who will one day be the head the Hearst Publishing
empire, does send agents to Deadwood to inspect the
claims, there is no evidence of an agent named Francis Wolcott.
Hearst was known to have been a very controlling person in his
business interests, there is no evidence that he was the ruthless man
the character portrays on the HBO series. In fact, he was described in
19th century literature as a man of scrupulous integrity, a faithful
friend, and without pretense or presumption of any kind.
Wild Bill Hickok:
Though the series shows Wild
funeral as having been sparsely attended, it was in fact, quite the
opposite, with almost the entire camp attending the event.
The Homestake Mine was discovered by
brothers, Moses and Fred
Manuel, and Hank Harney, rather than Brom Garrett, who never actually
history. This also, obviously precludes Alma from owning the mine
or Elsworth for running it. These two also didn't exist in
While Jack Langrishe did operate a theatre in
he was not gay, and in fact ran the theatre with his wife, Jenette.
Langrishe's first productions, before he built his own building,
were held at the Bella Union rather than in an abandoned brothel.
first trial that acquitted him of murder was not held in the
as shown, but instead at the
Theatre, sometimes referred to as McDaniel's Theatre (for its builder,)
Langrishe Theatre, forJack Langrishe,
the performer's troupe manager.
Though the Metz family were ambushed and
killed in 1876, the only survivor was actually a man, not a child,
making Sophia Metz and the entire story surrounding her, fiction.
Albert W. Merrick:
Though the series never shows that
A.W. Merrick was married, he was, and in fact had three children.
Unfortunately for the Merricks, they lost their 8 year-old son on
October 8, 1880 when he died of inflammation of the bowels. They also
lost an infant daughter in 1884.
Reverend Henry Smith:
The Reverend Henry Weston Smith, who was almost 50 years old, did not
die of a brain tumor. Instead he was murdered while on the way
Deadwood to another
mining camp, most likely by
Indians. However, another preacher by the name of Father Mackin, who replaced
Smith, did die of "softening of the brain" several months
after having a spasmodic "fit" in front of the Overland Hotel.
Representations that Al Swearengen was from England
and raised in an orphanage are incorrect. His sob story to Trixie was
just that. Swearengen was actually raised
by his two parents and seven siblings in Iowa.
When the first season opens, the bulk of the
action takes place in
Gem Saloon; however, Al actually owned and operated a smaller
operation called the Cricket Saloon in 1876. The
Gem Theatre didn't actually open until April, 1877.
Though we would never know it in the series,
was actually married to a woman named Nettie. In 1878, she left
him on the grounds of mistreatment and the pair were later divorced.
Unlike the unkempt and often awkward
in the series, the real life Charlie was known for his charisma and the
pride he took in his appearance. He often dressed in hand-tailored suits
and meticulously kept his long blonde hair and mustache well-groomed.
Extremely unusual for the times, he also was adamant about bathing every
Charlie Utter arrived in
his brother, Steve, was also along with him, though he does not appear
in the HBO
Rough & Tumble Mining Camp
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Deadwood Vintage Photo Gallery
HBO's Deadwood - Facts & Fiction
Bullock Hotel in Deadwood
Wild Bill Hickok
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