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Francis Wolcott is a main character as well as an antagonist during the second season of HBO's Deadwood.

He is the chief geologist of wealthy San Francisco mining magnate George Hearst and arrived in Deadwood in order to ascertain whether any of the claims might be of value to the Hearst empire, and if so, to set about acquiring them by any means necessary. He served as the season's primary antagonist.

He is portrayed by Garret Dillahunt, who previously portrayed Jack McCall in the series' first season.


Arrival in Deadwoodd

Francis Wolcott, agent for the mining magnate George Hearst, arrives in Deadwood and is immediately fawned over by E.B. Farnum, who-not knowing who he's up against-sees in Wolcott's fancy leather bags and his stated intention to "locate and secure an assortment of claims" an easy mark. Observing them across the dining room during breakfast at the Grand Central Hotel are Joanie Stubbs and madame Maddie, who it turns out, knows Wolcott.

Farnum, as yet unaware of Wolcott's eminent employer, wastes no time trying to run a con on him. For $10,000, he offers to sell Wolcott the letter written by Wild Bill Hickok that he's been holding, telling Wolcott that just before Hickok died, he revealed to Farnum that he'd discovered a quartz deposit which, in Bill's words, promised "wealth beyond counting." "How much wealth is that?" Farnum asks. "I don't know Mister Wolcott. I don't know how high Bill could count."

Later, Wolcott returns with a cash-filled envelope and buys the letter, to the amazement of Farnum, who has no idea he's being set up. Later still, Wolcott returns again, feigning distress over having read the letter and found no mention of a quartz deposit. Farnum is disinclined to return Wolcott's money, but sits up straight when he learns that Wolcott purchased the letter as an agent for George Hearst. Farnum is apoplectic, and readily agrees to serve as Wolcott's agent in a scheme. "This service would enlist you and one or two others circulating certain rumors about the future of the camp," Wolcott says. "In particular, about the validity of the present titles to the claims." "Consider me enlisted," Farnum replies.

Wolcott calls on Cy Tolliver at the Bella Union, who treats him rudely until discovering that Wolcott works for George Hearst. Wolcott, an odd duck who doesn't like to be touched, waves away Leon and Con Stapleton when Tolliver starts to introduce them. Wolcott wants the same thing from Tolliver that he wanted from Farnum: the rumor spread that Deadwood's gold claims may not be valid.

Mr. Wolcott and the sadistic "Mr. W"

Maddie tells Joanie who Wolcott works for, and says that were it not for Wolcott's offer to pay for one of Maddie's girls to come to Deadwood that she herself might not have come. Wolcott, it seems, is "a specialist," someone, that is, who likes his sex a bit kinky. In Wolcott's case, he's a sadist: "Mister W enjoys being cranky with his women, but sometimes when disappointed, his crankiness runs away with him," Maddie says.

Maddie welcomes Wolcott to the Chez Ami, where he's gone in search of the whore Carrie, whose passage to Deadwood he'd arranged. He is irritated to learn that she's has "been detained." When Joanie offers to fuck him "for free," he tells her "you ain't my type," but nonetheless repairs to a private room with her. Forewarned by Maddie of his violent nature, Joanie is armed for the encounter-a Derringer hidden in her waistband. Unable to arouse Wolcott with conventional means, Joanie struggles to locate the nature of his desire, but he remains a mystery to her. Shortly, he dismisses her, but not before surprising her further by saying he admires that she came armed to their encounter.

After the arrival of Carrie, Wolcott visits the Chez Ami and has a sexual encounter of sorts with her. She sits atop the fully clothed Wolcott and he orgasms almost immediately. "I'm too quick," he says to Carrie, who responds, "You can't be too quick for me." And then she says to him: "You might try sometime with your prick outside of your pants."

Tolliver's threats

Down on the street Cy Tolliver asks Francis Wolcott how long he should keep buying claims. "This phase is almost over," Wolcott says, watching the arrival of a cart driven by Mr. Lee and his men. "Even as another begins." As the cart stops, Mr. Wu approaches and angrily slices open the canvas covering its sides, revealing a cage filled with Chinese women. "Tell me those are my new employees," Tolliver says.

Cy complains about the quality of the new Chinese whores who are kept in unsavory cribs in the alley. In addition, there is something about Wolcott's anger, Tolliver says, that he is concerned about. "I hear accounts, Mr. Wolcott that you are a dangerous lay," he says. "And that adds to my concerns." Tolliver pointedly warns that such information might not be appreciated by Wolcott's boss, George Hearst. "It's a dangerous habit to indulge when you are not among friends," he says. But with barely controlled rage, Wolcott explains that Hearst is aware of his inclination, and finds it immaterial. Anger rising, he tersely insults and threatens Tolliver and suggests he find a way to make himself useful. Cy insults him in return, and Wolcott leaves.

The killing of three whores

Charging briskly across town, Wolcott is rambling in fury over the threats made by Tolliver. He plans to harm one of Tolliver's former employees, Doris, who now works at the Chez Ami. "No, Doris," he mutters. "We must not let you become past surprise." Entering the Chez Ami, he is told by Maddie that Carrie is napping, but he tells her he would like to see Doris. Maddie tenses, and Doris enters the room with him.

Soon Joanie Stubbs is back, and, knowing that Doris has been reporting to Tolliver, she is terrified at what could be going on in the room. Finally Wolcott emerges. "I would like to see Carrie now," he says. The girl is summoned, and is soon looking at Doris's murdered body. With a tear running down her cheek, she tells Wolcott that the problem can be dealt with. But Wolcott says he has another problem. Carrie has "seen him." Carrie realizes what has come. "You're fucking crazy. And I am going to die in this shithole." She asks if he can make it so it won't hurt, and in a flash, Wolcott has slit her throat with a razor.

Outside Joanie can wait no longer. But when she goes to her drawer, her gun is not there, it is in Maddie's hand, pointed at her. "Go on, get out," Maddie tells her, crying. When Wolcott comes out this time, Maddie is waiting for him. "What have you done, Mr. W," she asks shakily. "Something very expensive," he answers in a daze. Maddie points the gun at Wolcott's face, telling him he will pay her $100,000 and more, almost babbling as she pushes the gun toward him. He reaches for her and in one move flicks his blade across her throat, and Maddie falls to the floor, blood pooling from her.

Joanie rushes to the Bella Union to enlist Cy's help. At first disinterested, he jumps up when he hears about Doris. "Don't fucking follow me," he says running out. At the Chez Ami, he finds Wolcott, and after collecting himself at the ghoulish scene, smiles his alligator's smile and tells the man to go back to the hotel.

Beaten by Charlie Utter

Joanie is badly shaken, and confides her secret to Charlie Utter. She reflects especially on Maddie: "She wasn't scared of any man. First I ever met," she says. When Utter asked why Francis Wolcott did such an act, Joanie answers in a confused daze. "I don't know that. I'm not a man." As Charlie comforts her, she urges him to keep the information secret.

At the Grand Central Hotel, a seething Utter continuously insults Wolcott and accuses him of stepping on his foot. As the disagreement grows, Wolcott warns that if they fight, it won't end lightly, but Charlie unleashes a string of profanities and ends up beating the man brutally in the street. Sheriff Seth Bullock finally stops Utter's savage attack, and saloon owner Al Swearengen, observing casually, begins to connect Charlie's actions to the evacuation of the prostitutes the night before. Tolliver, however, is disturbed, and entreats Al to call a meeting of the town leaders so he can make it clear that Wolcott is the "wrong ox to gore."

Hickok's letter

Tending to Wolcott, Doc Cochran explains that Utter is Wild Bill Hickok's former partner. Wolcott, seeking to learn more of Utter's motives asks the doc to tell Charlie that he is in possession of a letter of Hickok's, said to be his last. Cochran is hesitant. "If I do deliver the message, will there be a renewal of the violence?" he asks. "Well, I don't know doctor," Wolcott replies. "I didn't do well in the original."

Some time later, Utter shows up at Wolcott's room, and the two agree not to shake hands. Using Hickok's letter as a lure, Wolcott tries to learn what Joanie has told Charlie, but Utter becomes enraged at the mention of her name. He tells Wolcott that he would rather blow his head off and take the letter from the corpse than divulge a secret, and Wolcott seems satisfied.

Informing Hearst

Francis Wolcott writes to his employer George Hearst that he has consolidated many claims and that, with the exception of Alma Garret's claim, every considerable deposit in the region is now under his control. He also outlines the brutal steps that have been taken at the mines to control the workers -"Germans and Cornish" - who are bent on stealing, but suggests that bringing in Chinese laborers and moving to a 24-hour operation is still a delicate issue. He closes the letter saying that he is looking forward to Hearst's arrival in town and promising that what he will see is "the largest and most forward-looking gold operation in the world."

Buying the Manuel claim

Tolliver introduces Wolcott to Mose Manuel, a large, surly saloon hound who co-owns a lucrative gold claim with his brother, Charlie. The brothers have had a falling out, and Wolcott offers $200,000 cash if they'll both sell. As the whole town is later watching Tom Nuttall ride his newly bought bike, the Manuel brothers are discussing Wolcott's offer. Mose implores his brother Charlie to accept the deal, but he refuses--and Mose promptly shoots him dead. Mose is overwhelmed by his act against his brother. "It's not easy to forget a fucking brother," he yells. "Money has properties in this regard," Wolcott tells him.

Bullock and Utter interrogate the loud-mouthed Manuel on the death of his brother, with Mose denying any firsthand knowledge. Bullock is suspicious of a man "gut shot by his own hand" on the same day the two sold their claim. Tolliver adds his own stream of insults to the interview, and when Francis Wolcott interrupts to report the death of a thief on one of Mr. Hearst's claims, Utter becomes enraged. He has to be held back from attacking Wolcott, and then mixes it up with Tolliver. Pulled out by Bullock, he yells out to Manuel. "Sure got to you, didn't he Mose? Now he's got to get you to die."

Later at the Bella Union, Mose Manuel is bringing the timbre to a new low, receiving sexual favors while simultaneously gambling and loudly complaining. In a fit of abuse, he claims he is being cheated and demands all of his money back. With an armed guard over his shoulder on the balcony, Tolliver moves to placate Manuel, but Wolcott steps in and baits the man further, invoking his dead brother. Mose raises his gun and is immediately shot by Wolcott. Brushing aside Tolliver's objections, Wolcott orders someone to get the sheriff.

Arrival of Hearst

At the Bella Union, Tolliver baits Wolcott, telling him that he has a strange look on his face, a look reminiscent of Wolcott's murder spree at the Chez Ami. Wolcott accuses Tolliver of being desperate over losing power. "What I do in a situation like that, instead of murdering helpless women," says Cy, "is I get on my hind legs and fight."

A week later, George Hearst himself arrives in the camp. Cy Tolliver sidles up to Hearst and not-so-delicately lets the man know that his geologist Francis Wolcott killed three women-- and that Cy was central in the cover-up. Hearst angrily confronts Wolcott about Tolliver's story, and Wolcott admits that it is true. "It happened in Mexico, and it's happened here," he says. Hearst tells him that they must end their connection.

His dismissal and the troubles of his past ultimately consume Wolcott. He decides to commit suicide and hangs himself from the balcony of his room at the hotel.


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