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"The Trial of Jack McCall" is the fifth episode of the first season of Deadwood. It is the fifth episode of the series overall. It premiered on April 18, 2004. It was written by John Belluso and directed by Ed Bianchi.


Swearengen transforms The Gem into a courtroom as Deadwood is forced to try a cowardly killer.[1]


The line to view the body of Wild Bill Hickok stretches throughout town, and equally long is the line of people volunteering for jury service for Jack McCall's upcoming trial. Swearengen realizes that the high-profile trial could bring unwanted attention from the U.S. government, since Deadwood technically doesn't have the sovereignty to hold such an event.[2]

Back at the Grand Central Hotel, Alma Garret is still caring for the Metz girl, but the widow's withdrawal from laudanum is beginning to take a toll on her and she looks for help with the child. Still, Alma is determined to investigate the value of her claim. Meeting with Seth Bullock, she signs a proxy giving him authority over the property, as Hickok had recommended. Swearengen is infuriated to learn that the former marshal has become involved in the matter, and he and E.B. Farnum devise a plan: Trixie will offer to help with the Metz girl, using the opportunity to secretly slip Alma some of Al's dope.[2]

At the Bella Union, Andy Cramed is still terribly sick, so Cy Tolliver makes the call to have him taken out into the woods and left for dead. One of Cy's minions, Bart, isn't thrilled with this plan, but realizes that he has no choice in the matter and does as he's told. As this is going on, Doc Cochran visits the Bella Union to check in on the patient and learns of Tolliver's callous treatment. The doctor warns Tolliver of the need for medicine for the upcoming epidemic, and the saloonkeeper reluctantly sends someone to Fort Kearney in Nebraska.[2]

Before the trial begins, Bullock goes to see McCall, who is imprisoned in Mr. Wu's slaughterhouse. After some tense conversation, Bullock ends up with his hands around McCall's neck, but the accused is saved when his lawyer steps in. Bullock leaves, and McCall and his lawyer begin to plan out their defense strategy.[2]

Trixie arrives at Alma's room and takes an immediate liking to her and to the Metz girl as well. She also recognizes that Alma is going through withdrawal. Defying Al's wishes, she doesn't give Alma Swearengen's dope, but instead visits Doc Cochran for some medicine to ease the widow's shakes.[2]

At The Gem, the trial begins, and McCall's defense-concocted by his attorney-is that he was avenging the death of a brother. The proceeding has not gone far, however, before Swearengen pulls the judge aside for a little talk. Upon reconvening, his honor sends the case quickly to the jury. They quickly return a verdict of innocent. McCall is set free.[2]

The residents of Deadwood that aren't hovering near the trial attend Hickok's burial. Joanie Stubbs, angry with Tolliver over Cramed, goes to the funeral to annoy him; Bullock and Sol Star are both at the sad event, which is presided over by the Reverend H.W. Smith. Star takes notice of Smith's pale appearance and stranger-than-usual demeanor, but Bullock doesn't seem to care, as he's still seething over the death of Wild Bill. Bullock's demeanor doesn't improve when A.W. Merrick arrives, bringing the news that McCall has been found innocent.[2]

Calamity Jane is absent from the burial, choosing instead to watch the event from a distance. She doesn't observe too long, however, as she's managed to find Cramed in the woods and, in a drunken stupor, has chosen to take care of him. His condition continues to worsen, but in her state, Jane is almost oblivious to just how badly off the man is.[2]

The trial concluded, The Gem is once again filled with those seeking women and booze. Among those celebrating is Jack McCall, but Swearengen makes it immediately clear to Hickok's killer that his continued health depends on leaving Deadwood immediately. McCall takes the advice and gets on a horse. But not far away, Bullock's anger is still boiling. After a few words with Star, he makes his decision: he is going after the murderer of his friend.[2]





Guest Starring



  • Ralph Richeson as Richardson
  • Christopher Valin as Lawyer
  • Candice T. Cain as Gem Whore
  • Michael Keyes as Gun Store Owner

Cast notes[]

  • Thirteen of fourteen starring cast members appear in this episode.
  • Starring cast member Dayton Callie (Charlie Utter) does not appear in this episode.

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"