Deadwood Wiki

"Reconnoitering the Rim" is the third episode of the first season of Deadwood. It is the third episode of the series overall. It premiered on April 4, 2004. It was written by Jody Worth and directed by Davis Guggenheim.


Competition arrives for Swearengen in the form of the Bella Union, a gambling outfit from Chicago.[1]


The sudden opening of the Bella Union, a new saloon that manages to sneak into town, challenges Swearengen's grasp on the vice of Deadwood. The establishment is run by Cy Tolliver, assisted by his right-hand man Eddie Sawyer and his Madame, Joanie Stubbs. The Bella Union is a stark contrast to The Gem Saloon, with cleaner women and a higher level of sophistication. Swearengen tries to quietly intimidate Tolliver and his crew, but they don't seem impressed.[2]

Wild Bill Hickok finally manages to win a hand of poker, taking a large pot from the lout Jack McCall, and the game gets heated. Before the situation can escalate further, McCall is thrown out of the game, but not before spewing a stream of profanity.[2]

Meanwhile, the Metz girl begins to run a fever, so Charlie Utter moves into Hickok's room, surrendering his quarters to Jane and the child. The arrangement rankles E.B. Farnum, but he doesn't have the constitution to stand up to Wild Bill. Jane continues to watch over the little girl as she recovers, but Utter has to leave for Cheyenne for business reasons.[2]

Brom Garret tries to enlist Hickok in recovering the money that he was swindled out of on the gold claim. Wild Bill isn't interested in the proposal, so Garret decides to confront Swearengen himself. Swearengen starts paying attention when Garret threatens to bring the Pinkerton agency into the dispute. He then tells Garret that he should try prospecting one more time, upriver this time, and if that doesn't work out, he'll give Garret back his stake. As Garret leaves The Gem, Swearengen tells Dan Dority to kill the city dude and to make it look like an accident.[2]

Livid at the arrival of the interlopers of the Bella Union, Swearengen briefly considers the possibility that Seth Bullock and Sol Star acted as advance agents for Tolliver. This theory falls apart when Swearengen sees Farnum heading into the competing saloon, leading him to conclude that that the hotelier is his "Judas Goat." Later, Swearengen confronts Farnum, who cracks under pressure. Swearengen lets the traitor live, but it's made clear that Farnum's continued survival depends on working as an informant.[2]

After much negotiation, Bullock and Star strike a deal for their store's lot--$1000, along with an agreement to no gambling, whoring or whiskey on the premises, and a right of first refusal for Swearengen. Construction on the hardware store begins immediately, with extra elbow grease provided by Utter and Hickok.[2]

Up on the claim, Dority follows his orders and pitches Brom off of a cliff, not realizing that the deed was witnessed by the neighboring prospector Whitney Ellsworth. Hiking down the hill to make sure the dude is dead, Dority makes a startling discovery-a thick vein of gold lines the cliff not far from the body. Realizing he's in over his head, Dority passes the information along to Swearengen.[2]






Guest Starring



  • Gill Gayle as Huckster
  • Geri Jewell as Jewel
  • Ashleigh Kizer as Dolly
  • Tammy Brooks as Gem Whore
  • Candice T. Cain as Gem Whore
  • Julius Callahan as Card Dealer
  • Joey Rocketshoes Dillon as Gold Miner
  • Michael Keyes as Gun Store Owner

Cast notes[]

  • All fourteen starring cast members appear in this episode.
  • As of this episode Powers Boothe (Cy Tolliver) has been added to the opening credits.

Memorable Quotes[]



Episodes of Deadwood
Season 1 "Deadwood" • "Deep Water" • "Reconnoitering the Rim" • "Here Was a Man" • "The Trial of Jack McCall" • "Plague" • "Bullock Returns to the Camp" • "Suffer the Little Children" • "No Other Sons or Daughters" • "Mister Wu" • "Jewel's Boot Is Made for Walking" • "Sold Under Sin"
Season 2 "A Lie Agreed Upon: Part I" • "A Lie Agreed Upon: Part II" • "New Money" • "Requiem for a Gleet" • "Complications" • "Something Very Expensive" • "E.B. Was Left Out" • "Childish Things" • "Amalgamation and Capital" • "Advances, None Miraculous" • "The Whores Can Come" • "Boy-the-Earth-Talks-To"
Season 3 "Tell Your God to Ready for Blood" • "I Am Not the Fine Man You Take Me For" • "True Colors" • "Full Faith and Credit" • "A Two-Headed Beast" • "A Rich Find" • "Unauthorized Cinnamon" • "Leviathan Smiles" • "Amateur Night" • "A Constant Throb" • "The Catbird Seat" • "Tell Him Something Pretty"