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This article contains spoilers for all three seasons of Deadwood and Deadwood: The Movie.
Discretion is advised.

Seth Bullock is one of the two protagonists of HBO's Deadwood as well as Deadwood: The Movie, along with Al Swearengen.

Bullock's honest character is instinctively repulsed by Swearengen (and vice versa), but the two form an uneasy alliance and slowly seem to develop a fondness for each other. Together they try to defend the camp against outside interests who have begun to appear in Deadwood when it begins to show the potential for some degree of wealth. Bullock's fiery temper, however, often clouds his judgment, distancing him from those closest to him.

He is portrayed by Timothy Olyphant.


He left Etobicoke, Ontario and became a marshal in Montana. Soon he heard stories of gold in Deadwood. Rather than searching for gold, he wanted to open a hardware store with best friend and longtime partner, Sol Star.

At the camp, he met Wild Bill Hickok. When Hickok was murdered, Bullock pursued the killer into the Black Hills and captured him, taking him back to Dakota for trial. After his return, he became sheriff of Deadwood. Bullock, one of the few honest men in the camp, was enlisted to look after a gold claim for Alma Garret, an upper class East Coast woman whose husband was killed by Al Swearengen's men over that claim. Eventually, they became sexually involved despite the fact that Bullock is married to his brother's widow and is the stepfather of their son.

He decides ultimately to end his relationship with Alma when his wife Martha and son William come to Deadwood. Later he learns Alma is pregnant with his child, but the pregnancy ends in miscarriage after she is married to Whitney Ellsworth. The relationship between Bullock and Martha continues to be rocky in the aftermath of her arrival until they are struck by tragedy, when William is killed by a wild horse. Though the tragedy is devastating, it brings the two closer together. Martha chooses to stay with him in Deadwood.

He makes a dangerous enemy of George Hearst because his determination to stand against his criminal conduct. This puts him in considerable danger, as Hearst does at one point try to create circumstances in which Bullock might be lured into a lethal ambush.

In Deadwood: The Movie, Bullock has become a U.S. Marshal. Though he has had three children with Martha and seems to possess a calmer temperament, he is furious when George Hearst returns to town and orders the murder of Bullock's friend Charlie Utter. When Hearst is set upon by a mob furious about Utter's murder, Bullock's dedication to the law nearly falters as he almost allows them to kill Hearst; however, he catches sight of his family and has a change of heart, breaking up the mob and dragging Hearst into a jail cell. Afterwards, he returns home and embraces his wife.

Behind the scenes[]

There are several discrepancies between the historical Seth Bullock and the character in the show. In particular, the historical Bullock's wife, Martha, was not his brother's widow but his childhood sweetheart. In the pilot episode he states he came from Etobicoke, whereas the historical Bullock was born in Amherstburg.[2]


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