"Calamity" Jane Canary (based upon the historical Calamity Jane) is the traveling companion of "Wild Bill Hickok, the great gunslinger known to all in the camp well before his arrival. She is also the town drunk.
Jane Canary traveled to Deadwood with companions Charlie Utter and Wild Bill Hickok. In doing so, the wagon train is brought to a halt when one of the wagon's breaks down, much to Jane's annoyance. Wild Bill is laying down in another wagon, afflicted with a headache. Jane offers to search for whiskey, but he declines.
Later on, Jane asks the Metz family if they know the way back, to which they answer they are not returning to the camp but instead returning to Minnesota.
Once in camp, Jane enters the Gem Saloon and asks for a drink. She later decides to go hunt the natives who are allegedly responsible for attacking a family.
Along with the stalwart Charlie Utter , the three arrive in Deadwood uncertain of their purpose, as Bill is at a point in his eventful life where he no longer cares for anything other than playing cards. Jane has a deep respect for Bill and no doubt looks to him as a father figure. She is often rather spiteful of Charlie as he seems to her to be a rival for Bill's attention. They are not long in camp before Wild Bill is killed, as in real life, by fellow gambler Jack McCall. The result of this death is devastating to Jane, and only causes her to become all the more insecure and fearful, emotions which she attempts to numb through excessive whiskey consumption. Jane is often so hilariously drunk that she is discovered by Charlie lying in the street, and once leaning up against a wall balanced on her forehead.
Jane's primary form of communication is shouting obscenities, and is one of the better cursers in the camp, which in Deadwood is quite the feat. Of course, this behavior is no doubt related to a deep hurt and terrible fear instilled in her at an early age, as is evidenced by her desire to protect Sofia , and the other children in camp from harm. When confronted by Al Swearengen , Jane is reduced to abject terror, as if reliving an experience of terrible violence in her past. She is very mistrusting of most men and has another brief and terrifying encounter with Cy Tolliver later in the series. (Interestingly, both Swearengen and Tolliver make their living exploiting women). The character of Jane Canary stands as a good example of the hardships women endured in the 19th century and indeed throughout all of human history (though she is spared some due to her external appearance and brash nature).
Despite the obvious fragility of Jane's inner world, she possesses also an inner strength in her compassion for the sick and dying. Assisting Doc Cochran on more than one occasion in the difficult task of healing the camp's ailing denizens from various ailments, from gunshot wounds to an outbreak of smallpox. Even the Doctor himself tells her she has a gift for nursing. During her self-imposed exile from camp after Bill's death, she happens upon Andy Cramed , who unwittingly brought the smallpox virus with him to camp and was ordered to be left to die in the woods by Cy Tolliver, restoring his health from near death using only water and whiskey and her deep inner reserve of compassion.
Personality and Traits
Incredibly tough and brazen on the outside, Jane has been shown to be deeply wounded, cowardly, and emotionally delicate when prodded. Because she dresses in traditionally male clothing, she is sometimes mistaken for a man. She is well acquainted with the outdoors, with her face perpetually dirtied. She speaks with a mush-mouth slur, exacerbated by heavy drinking.
- Doc Cochran deems Jane a "calamity," but she is never referred to as "Calamity Jane" in the series. However, in the beginning of the movie, she refers to herself as Calamity Jane.
- Jane is either bisexual or a lesbian, as evidenced by her relationship with Joanie Stubbs.