Joanie Stubbs was abused by her father, who used her to coerce her sisters to sleep with him (to "see to his needs since Mama was gone," as she stated). Her father was also known to have pimped her sisters out as prostitutes. Cy Tolliver bought her from her father.
Joanie arrives in Deadwood in a wagon train for the Bella Union, along with Cy Tolliver and a group of prostitutes. Al Swearengen visits the new establishment in fear of it taking away business from the Gem. She encourages him to return when it opens that evening.
Al tries to converse with Cy to attempt to agree on rates so not to start any arguments or competition, to which Joanie says they are going to let the market sort itself out.
She later speaks with Cy while Bill Hickok is playing cards.
Season Three Edit
Cy encourages Joanie to spread her wings and form her own brothel, though he may not be very committed to the idea. She leaves the Bella Union to open the Chez Amis, importing high-class and experienced prostitutes from the East with her friend Maddie. Unfortunately, Maddie has funded the operation with funds from Francis Wolcott who is violent toward women and has killed prostitutes before. When Tolliver discovers this and tries to blackmail Wolcott, Wolcott kills several of the women including Maddie. Joanie arranges for the surviving prostitutes to be spirited to safety by Charlie Utter, but remains sitting alone in her shuttered place of business with her dreams of independence destroyed. Her spirits are restored by smashing a bourbon bottle on Wolcott's head when he returns to the scene. She also finds comfort in her burgeoning romantic attachment to Calamity Jane. She attempts to rebuild her life by making the Chez Amis into a school house. It is also the refuge of Mose, who recovers there after being shot in the Bella Union.
Joanie Stubbs inherited the Bella Union following the passing of Cy Tolliver, becoming the new owner. Jane Canary comes to visit her there after a long time apart. When she arrives, she finds Joanie in bed with two prostitutes. She appears hung-over, disheveled, and almost annoyed at Jane's presence, embittered by Jane taking off to travel the world years ago. Jane is heartbroken upon seeing Joanie drink, and she leaves the room.
At Charlie's funeral, Joanie finds Jane crying beside the river over the death of her friend Charlie Utter. She helps to encourage her to attend the burial. The two walk hand in hand to the service. Joanie says Utter was the only man who ever stood up for her and begins to get choked up in speaking about him.
Following the death of Charlie Utter, Joanie tends to the horses in the stable, caring for Charlie's horse. She is again visited by Jane, this time, under more friendly circumstances. When Joanie mentions how she prayed she wouldn't wake up with Cy, Jane feels deeply upset and asks her to promise not to fold no matter how sad she gets and asks for a kiss. The two then share an intimate kiss, seemingly rekindling the relationship.
During Trixie and Sol's wedding, Jane and Joanie dance together. Joanie asks her what the world is like, namely Paris. Jane has never been, saying she's never been interested in going until then. The two walk outside at night while the snow falls down. It can be assumed their relationship is on good terms.
Personality and Traits Edit
Joanie is often depressed and self-loathing as a result of her abusive childhood tha thas left her emotionally scarred and weighed down by guilt. She is a lesbian.
Joanie was bought by Cy from her own father, who had abused and pimped her younger sisters out as prostitutes. Though she is a lesbian, she has a longstanding and almost-romantic type relationship dynamic with Cy. She is one of the few peeople he cares for, though his increasingly unpredictable and violent behavior sours their friendship.
Joanie and Jane form a close friendship that later turns into a romantic partnership. The romance seems to be rather shy due to Jane's apprehensions and unfamiliarity with relationships, especially those with other women. Joanie is rather protective of Jane, often helping her to sober up after a drinking binge. She serves as a sort of mentor figure. The two have had fights, but remain strong as a couple.
The two grew apart when Jane began to travel. However, the romance was quickly rekindled once they reacquainted with each other following the murder of Charlie Utter.
Joanie described Charlie as the only man to have stood up for her. They had a good friendship and were on positive terms.
- Season 1 Episode 3 "Reconnoitering the Rim" (First Appearance)
- Joanie Stubbs is not based off of a figure in history.