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"A Two-Headed Beast" is the fifth episode of the third season of Deadwood. It is the twenty-ninth episode of the series overall. It premiered on July 9, 2006. It was written by David Milch and directed by Daniel Minahan.


Dority picks up Capt. Turner's gauntlet; Hostetler completes a deal; Bullock hands Hearst an earful.[1]


Cy Tolliver interrupts Con Stapleton, playing 'Captain' with the breasts of a voluptuous Bella Union whore. Cy is looking for an underling to represent him in his dealings with George Hearst, mimicking Al Swearengen's approach. Stapleton recuses himself, as he's in the midst of a "spasm of sex interest," having had his urges awakened by Claudia. Cy agrees he's of no use at the moment.[2]

Hearst tries to discern Silas Adams' loyalty to Swearengen, and whether he can win it away. In the end, all Hearst offers is a message that Captain Joe Turner demands Adams take to Dan Dority: "Tell your friend I know he's afraid of me."[2]

Steve Fields washes himself outside the No. 10 Saloon, scrubbing off the spittoon contents that Tom Nuttall poured on his head. It's a big day for Steve -- the livery deal signing -- and Nuttall wants Steve to comport himself with respect.[2]

A.W. Merrick interviews an unusually loquacious Alma Ellsworth. He is moved by her words, but Trixie, watching, is suspicious of her enlightened state.[2]

Swearengen debriefs Adams on his meeting. Dority, riled that he's been called out, is ready to fight. But Al wants to think first. "It's Hearst calling you out, and I'm tying to decipher his reason."[2]

Seth Bullock draws his gun to fire the signal for Arnette Hostetler (with Sol Star and Harry Manning observing at the Hardware store) and Steve (observed by Samuel Fields at the Number Ten) to sign their agreement simultaneously.[2]

Merrick reads his article about the bank to Blazanov. He's beginning to voice his suspicions of Mrs. Ellsworth's altered state when Blazanov spies a body, stabbed in the heart, being dumped in the street. Merrick fetches the Sheriff.[2]

Cy quizzes Leon on his getting-high habits and whether he's been trying to earn extra funds by copping for Lila, but Leon swears he's not. When Cy threatens him, he admits he copped for that "cunt at the bank."[2]

Bullock arrives at the abandoned body - Pasco, the final Cornish union organizer. Outraged, he busts in on Al at The Gem Saloon, insisting the third body calls for his withdrawal of their agreement that he leave Hearst alone. Al begs more time, adamant he has a plan. Bullock agrees to see to one other piece of business first.[2]

At the bank, Alma reviews the agreement between Steve and Hostetler. With all in order, Trixie fetches Hostetler's payment in gold. Alma presses for a handshake between the two men to seal the deal. But Steve won't oblige, insisting to Hostetler "you will return to me that board you made me sign."[2]

E.B. Farnum complains at the Gem that he misses the camaraderie he enjoyed before he was exiled for selling his hotel to Hearst. "We was never your fucking boon companions, E.B." replies Dority. Al tells Farnum that Hearst wants violence between Turner and Dority. "The why's what fucking confounds me," Al says. But E.B. has no useful information to offer and Al refuses to confide his plans.[2]

Jack Langrishe greets the invalid Chesterton, his company's dying star, who arrives by stagecoach. Langrishe tells him the camp is "yearning for elevation and festering with wealth" as they struggle to get the man moved inside.[2]

Al, unable to figure the angle, sends Dority off to fight. Dority prepares, greasing himself up. Johnny Burns offers to shoot Turner if Dan signals something is going wrong, but Dority won't have it. As Turner prepares, Hearst and Turner recollect past fights, Hearst insinuating he should make the fight an object lesson for everyone watching.[2]

Dority and Turner charge towards each other and a long and brutal battle ensues in the thoroughfare while Al and Hearst watch from their lookouts. It appears Dan is finished but he manages to gouge Turner's eye out and rises, victorious, to finish him off.[2]

Langrishe sees to Chesterton, suggesting that the arts do not provide enough for them to nurse him through an illness from which he will not recover. Chesterton agrees to earn his keep by helping with the conversion of the theater. Langrishe holds a company meeting, assigning roles for the next production: costumes, civic relations, the renovation of the bordello.[2]

Doc Cochran arrives asking to make his last call of the day on Dority. But Dan refuses to see him, or even to accept an offer of a bottle and whores.[2]

Mrs. Ellsworth drinks her drug, and offers to help her husband with his bath. He jumps out, nervous at her overture. Alma attempts to seduce Whitney Ellsworth but he suspects something and tells her he'll arrange to collect his things. "Will you have me bring the little one back?" Alma says she will fetch her. "Don't forget," he warns her.[2]

Sol bangs on the wall to signal Trixie, who insists she doesn't want to see him, but enters through the secret door adjoining their quarters. She alludes to her concerns about Alma, but Sol doesn't catch her meaning.[2]

Bullock, Steve, Hostetler and the General search the livery for the board Steve signed, but when they uncover it, it is moldy and illegible. Steve has a tantrum, insisting he won't accept it as the board. Hostetler can't take being called a liar anymore and in his own fit, shoots himself.[2]

Burns asks Al to look in on Dan, but Al refuses: "Some shit's best walked through alone." As they sit, Burns asks what they are waiting for. "To see what kind of hell breaks loose," Al replies.[2]

Hearst comes to the Bella Union to drink after seeing to Turner's body. Cy joins him and Hearst is drunk by the time Bullock bursts in. When Hearst tells Bullock to fuck himself, Bullock arrests him, dragging him through camp. Al sees them go. "The Sheriff has eliminated several of our options," he notes. Spying Merrick below, Al warns: "Not a fuckin' word comes to print." Merrick nods: "Understood."[2]



  • Bellegarde
  • Chesterton




Special Guest Star

Guest Starring

  • Michael Harney as Steve Fields
  • Pasha Lychnikoff as Blazanov
  • Peter Jason as Con Stapleton
  • Larry Cedar as Leon
  • Richard Gant as Arnette Hostetler
  • Franklin Ajaye as Samuel Fields
  • Cleo King as Aunt Lou Marchbanks
  • Ralph Richeson as Richardson
  • Julie Ariola as Countess
  • Cynthia Ettinger as Claudia
  • Dennis Christopher as Bellegarde
  • Aubrey Morris as Chesterton


  • Nick Amandos as Jack Young
  • Rick Dano
  • Allan Graf as Captain Joe Turner
  • Kevin Kearns as Pasco
  • Sarah B. Lund as Sara
  • David Redding as Davey


  • Parisse Boothe as Tess
  • Al Collado as Store Proprietor
  • Rico Nance as Businessman
  • George Adams as Prospector

Cast notes[]

Memorable Quotes[]



Episodes of Deadwood
Season 1 "Deadwood" • "Deep Water" • "Reconnoitering the Rim" • "Here Was a Man" • "The Trial of Jack McCall" • "Plague" • "Bullock Returns to the Camp" • "Suffer the Little Children" • "No Other Sons or Daughters" • "Mister Wu" • "Jewel's Boot Is Made for Walking" • "Sold Under Sin"
Season 2 "A Lie Agreed Upon: Part I" • "A Lie Agreed Upon: Part II" • "New Money" • "Requiem for a Gleet" • "Complications" • "Something Very Expensive" • "E.B. Was Left Out" • "Childish Things" • "Amalgamation and Capital" • "Advances, None Miraculous" • "The Whores Can Come" • "Boy-the-Earth-Talks-To"
Season 3 "Tell Your God to Ready for Blood" • "I Am Not the Fine Man You Take Me For" • "True Colors" • "Full Faith and Credit" • "A Two-Headed Beast" • "A Rich Find" • "Unauthorized Cinnamon" • "Leviathan Smiles" • "Amateur Night" • "A Constant Throb" • "The Catbird Seat" • "Tell Him Something Pretty"