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Arnette Hostetler, simply referred to as Hostetler, is a recurring character in HBO's Deadwood. He runs the livery stable and is the primary source of company for Samuel Fields, by virtue of being the only other black man in camp.

He is portrayed by Richard Gant.


Owner of the livery stable

Hostetler is the only black resident of the camp and rusn the livery stable. He is well aware that the treatment he gets from most white people because of his race is unjust, yet he acts submissive and doesn't challenge the abuse when he encounters it in order to avoid further problems.

Encounter with the N*gger-General

An African-American named Samuel Fields but known as "N*gger General", returns to Deadwood and pays for a mount he'd rented weeks earlier from the livery stable owned by Hostetler.

Later on, an angry mob of camp residents turn their anger on Fields, who's taken refuge under the hay in Hostetler's livery shop. The mob threatens Hostetler to tell the location of Fields. Flushed out of hiding, the general is being tarred with hot pitch before sheriff Seth Bullock makes his second rescue of the day. "Disperse this riotous assembly," he says, and the mob complies.

Confrontation with racist Steve

At the livery, Hostetler wakes up to observe a strange scene. An impossibly drunk Steve, one of the angry residents that previously tarred Fields, is having sexual congress with Bullock's horse. Hostetler ties him up, and later tells Samuel Fields that he is going to kill him. "He needs to be dead," Hostetler says. But Fields convinces him to let him go, after securing from Steve a blessing and a written confession: "I fucked Bullock's horse."

A wild horse

Hostetler and Samuel Fields have come into possession of a valuable wild horse, and they intend to "nut him" in order to sell him to the Calvary. Hostetler warns that the moon isn't right for it, but the men stand to make $100 on the horse, which makes a delay unpalatable.

At the livery, Hostetler and the General are having trouble containing their wild horse, and when it comes time to nut him, the horse breaks for the street. The wild animal narrowly misses Tom Nuttall aboard his bone shaker, but smashes into Steve, who is talking to William Bullock, the sheriff's son. As the sound of alarm fills Deadwood, Steve pulls himself up on a broken leg, and William, unconscious, lays splayed out on the street and later dies of his injuries.

On the run

In the moments after William Bullock's accident, Hostetler and Samuel Fields begin to realize the enormity of their situation, as Seth Bullock carries the limp body of his stepson to Doc Cochran's. "Only violence we meant was to that stallion's prick," Hostetler says. "And that to turn an honest dollar." It soon becomes clear that all in town know the horse was the General's, and Hostetler is beside himself. Saying he won't beg for mercy, he makes a move to his rifle, but the General grabs it first. As they grapple over it, the smaller man pleads for the opportunity to get out of town. "Let's ride for six hours," he says, "...If you're still of a mind, I'll shoot you."

Far from Deadwood, an uneasy General and Hostetler discuss heading to Oregon. But, hearing the whinny of the cursed stallion, Hostetler has the germ of another idea. If they return to camp, he thinks out loud, with the offending horse and to pay their respects, they'll be able to leave on their own accord. Then, he says, they can go to Oregon and open a livery. The General contemplates the risky strategy and finally agrees. "Let's find that fucking horse," he says.

Return to Deadwood

A few weeks after the incident, Blazanov delivers a telegram to Calamity Jane from Samuel Fields; frightened by what it might contain, she runs off to Charlie Utter to have it read. Utter reads the telegram to Jane: "Hostetler means to bring the horse back." As they argue over the meaning and a reply, the General and Hostetler arrive in camp with the horse that killed young William Bullock. When Steve sees them, he goes on a rampage, railing about the injustice of them coming back to claim the livery when he's the one who cared for the horses when they left. Seth Bullock follows Steve to the livery, to confront Hostetler himself.

When Bullock confronts him, Hostetler takes responsibility for the accident. Bullock won't hold him responsible; instead he wants to talk about the livery and Steve taking care of it. "Any chance to keep hell from breaking loose between you two?" he asks. Hostetler is amenable.

Selling the livery to Steve

Full Faith and Credit

Bullock accompanies Hostetler to thank Steve for caring for the livery. He offers to keep Steve on--with pay. But the drunk responds with a barrage of insults, screaming epithets while Bullock holds him in check. When Hostetler finally blows, Bullock hustles him out and restrains him. "I was gonna go to Oregon," says Hostetler. "Let him buy me out fair and I'll fucking go." Bullock goes to Steve with the offer, who agrees if he had "the means at loan."

When eveything is arranged and the contract has to been signed, Steve and Hostetler get into a standoff over who will sign first. Bullock, at wit's end, takes Sol Star's solution: "have them meet at the time their dicks will be down and have them sign simultaneous."

The next day, Bullock draws his gun to fire the signal for 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.

Driven to suicide


At the bank, Alma Garret Ellsworth 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."

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.

Hostetler is later buried by the General and Calamity Jane.


Episodes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
The Movie
Appears Appears as a corpse Appears in a flashback