This article is about the episode. For the TV show, see "Deadwood". For the town where the series is set, see "Deadwood".
Season 1, Episode 1
Air date March 21, 2004
Written by David Milch
Directed by Walter Hill
Episode Guide
"Deep Water"

"Deadwood" is the first episode of the first season of Deadwood. It is the first episode of the series overall. It premiered on March 21, 2004. It was written by David Milch and directed by Walter Hill.


In the year 1876, after executing a last act of justice as a Montana marshal, Seth Bullock relocates to a gold mining camp known as Deadwood, where he and partner Sol Star look to start a hardware business. Saloon owner Al Swearengen contends with a bungled robbery turned mass murder that threatens to incite mob violence throughout the camp. Hickok and his companions arrive in Deadwood. The people of Deadwood go off to hunt down the Native Americans whom they suspect butchered a family of white people.


In Montana territory May 1876, US Marshal Seth Bullock is sat in the town's jailhouse writing in his journal. Prisoner Clell Watson attempts to make small talk with the marshal explaining that he was on the way to Deadwood like Seth. Clell explains that he wishes the past three days never happened. He asks if there is no law enforcement at all in Deadwood which the marshal confirms as the town is built upon Indian lands. Clell states that Seth wouldn't be a marshal in Deadwood, however the marshal reveals his intentions to sell goods instead and open a hardware store with his partner and Clell tells him that he would have been prospecting as Deadwood is a gold-mining camp.

Clell reflects on his actions and states aloud that it was just his luck that the horse he stole belonged to local 'badman' Bryon Sampson just as he planned to leave the town and Bullock agrees as he offers him some water. Clell apologies for shooting Seth in the shoulder during his arrest and the marshal reassures him that it is just a flesh wound. Clell understands that his actions are punishable by death and nonchalantly bribes Seth, hoping the marshal would forgo his duties on his last night as a marshal by saying he knows two 'scores' on the way to Deadwood which would benefit them both financially.

At that moment Seth's partner Sol Star races into the jailhouse as Seth rejects Clell's offer. Sol informs Seth that Byron Sampson is coming for Clell with a dozen drunk men he picked up at the local saloon. Meanwhile Clell is shouting at Sol to leave so he can continue his proposal to the marshal. A gunshot is heard coming from outside the jailhouse and a voice shouts for Bullock to talk to them. Clell correctly deduces that the voice belongs to Sampson and that he is after him.

Outside the jailhouse Sampson threatens the marshal by saying that he is getting pissed off at waiting for Clell to be handed over and that the marshal will not last the night in the jailhouse if he refuses as he will be killed and demands that Clell be given to him. Sol appears on a horse and cart in the alley next to the jailhouse and is stopped by Sampson. Sol signals to Seth, who brings Clell out whilst pointing his rifle at Sampson. Seth announces that he will execute Clell's sentence by hanging, as per the law and not at the hands of a mob. Sampson threatens the marshal again by saying that if he or Sol attempt to move towards the gallows then they will be shot. Seth agrees and puts a noose around Clell's neck, throwing the other end over a wooden beam in the roof of the porch of the jailhouse and giving Clell a wooden stool to stand on.

Clell voices his concern that his sister was due to watch his hanging in the morning and that the lack of a drop would mean he'd strangle for twenty or more minutes but Seth tells him he will help with the drop to ensure a quick death whilst Sol looks on in disbelief. As Clell steps up onto the stool, Sampson fires a warning shot and the marshal responds by saying that any more gun play would result in action. Sampson retorts that the marshal doesn't get to tell them what to do as he's leaving Montana in the morning. However Seth encourages Clell to give his last words as if his sister was there, ensuring that he mentions Seth helped his fall before delivering a final "fuck you" to Sampson before he steps off the stool. Seth, true to his word lifts Clell up before dragging him down, breaking his neck.

Seth releases Clell and looks saddened at what has just occurred. Sampson starts moving towards Seth but Sol orders him to stay back at gunpoint and fires a warning shot. A worried looking Sol questions why Seth is taking his time as he wants them both to leave quickly. However Seth is writing down Clell's last words and is emotional when he asks who will take them to his sister. Sampson orders his men not to move. One of the mob volunteers as Sampson looks on in disbelief. Seth thanks him, hands him the letter to take to Clell's sister as well as his US marshal's badge and beckons to Sol to go. The two leave on the horse and cart with their guns pointed at Sampson and his men as the head towards Deadwood.

Wild Bill Hickok is travelling to Deadwood with companions Charlie Utter and the foul mouthed "Calamity" Jane Canary.




Main Cast

Guest Starring



Memorable QuotesEdit

Clell Watson: "No law at all in Deadwood, is that true?"

Clell Watson: "Jesus Christ almighty, no law and gold you could scoop from the streams with your bare hands...and I got to go and fuck myself up by supposedly stealing Byron Sampson's horse."

Seth Bullock: "That's poor damn timing at the least."

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