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"You want me to just stay out of camp until you deal with all this? Why don't I do that, Al? How about you have Johnny check under the rock, and I'll put messages under the rock, and then I'll check under the rock every day and see if you wanna send messages to me."
―Persimmon Phil[src]

Persimmon Phil was one of Al Swearengen's road agents who worked out of the Gem Saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota. In 1876, as more and more residents were drawn to the gold-mining town, Phil and the brothers Tom and Ned Mason butchered the Metz family in a robbery staged to look like a Sioux attack; however, the young Sofia Metz had been hidden from the criminals and was later found when Ned "reported" the event. Former lawmen Wild Bill Hickok and Seth Bullock were able to see through Ned's ruse and confronted him, only to gun him down when he attempted to draw on them.[2] The following night, Tom drunkenly tried to avenge his brother's death by attempting to kill Wild Bill at the No. 10 Saloon, only for Hickok to draw first once again. Phil escaped, only to be executed by Al to stop Sofia from tracing the killing back to him.[3]


Time in Deadwood[]

Metz family[]

Persimmon Phil was among those who came to the gold-mining town of Deadwood, South Dakota, where he found work in 1876 as a road agent for criminal Al Swearengen, proprietor of the Gem Saloon. On the night of famed gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok's arrival in the camp, Phil, along with Tom and Ned Mason, butchered the traveling Norwegian Metz family in a brutal robbery staged to appear as a Sioux killing, though they failed to notice one of the family's children, Sofia Metz, hidden nearby.[2]

Ned returned alone to the town, where he visited the No. 10 Saloon to report a Sioux attack. Though immediately suspicious of Mason, Wild Bill and former sheriff Seth Bullock volunteered to ride out with Ned to see the site of the attack—there, they found Sofia and brought her back to Doc Cochran. Sofia was in shock and seemingly unable to speak English in the first place so it was impossible to confirm Ned's involvement in the murders, but Hickok and Bullock confronted him nonetheless; Ned attempted to draw his weapon, only to be shot by the duo before he could fire.[2]


"Al, i'm confident that girl don't know what I look like, but I can't guarantee you that to a moral certainty, no."
―Persimmon Phil[src]

The day after Ned was killed, Tom and Phil, unaware of his death, returned to the camp and used their share of the family's money for whores at the Gem. Al first told Phil and punished him with a violent punch to the face for his sloppiness while Tom was still in the midst of loud sex next door, and afterwards he was informed of Ned's death and broke down, vowing revenge on Hickok—that night, after drinking himself beyond reason, Tom approached Hickok with Phil watching at the No. 10 Saloon. But Hickok had immediately sensed the danger, even enlisting Bullock to keep an eye on Phil, and was easily able to draw first, shooting his attacker dead.[3]

Phil fled back to the Gem to see Al, sensing his boss's thoughts and growing in nervousness as he started to reason for his life. Just when it seemed he would be allowed to keep his life by laying low, Al suddenly stabbed Phil through the heart, killing him right there in his office.[3]

Behind the scenes[]

Persimmon Phil was played by Joe Chrest in "Deep Water", the second episode of Season 1 of Deadwood.



  1. Joe Chrest on IMDb
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Season 1 Episode 1 "Deadwood"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Season 1 Episode 2 "Deep Water"