HBO’s Deadwood premiered on on March 21, 2004 and left us way too early on August 27, 2006, after just 36 episodes. There was supposed to be a fourth season, but the mediocre ratings didn’t justify the expense, and HBO cancelled it. Efforts to bring back a shortened fourth season or a two-hour wrap up film never materialized, but for three seasons, Deadwood was groundbreaking television, not just for the lavish production values and incredibly performances, but for the language created by David Milch. It was a phenomenal series that elevated the stature of many actors and actresses who are still considered some of the best character actors around, and there’s hardly anyone in this case who we still don’t’ see regularly on our television sets.
In honor of its 10th Anniversary, I thought we’d take a look back at some interesting facts, not just about the show, but about the town of Deadwood, and the real-life people who inspired David Milch’s characters.
1. It’s not the best reason to watch Deadwood, but it’s a pretty good one: The word “f*ck” is used 2,980 times during the series (or 1.6 “f*cks” per minute). I can only imagine how many times the word “c*cksucker” is used.
2. There are so many brilliant characters actors in Deadwood, one of which is Jim Beaver, who played Ellsworth. The character of Ellsworth didn’t actually have a first name for a long time, and when they finally decided upon one, Jim Beaver chose Whitney, after Whitney Ellsworth, the producer of 1952’s Adventures in Superman with George Reeves (Jim Beaver is such a huge George Reeves nut, he served as a consultant on Ben Affleck’s Hollywoodland).
3. The Deadwood pilot was directed by Walter Hill, best known as the director of Warriors and Another 48 Hours, as well as the screenwriter behind Aliens. Hill won a Directing Emmy for the episode. Interestingly, before Walter Hill signed on, David Fincher had been attached to direct the pilot.
4. Below is the real-life Bullock Hotel, which was built by Seth Bullock, the lawmen and hardware store owner played by Timothy Olyphant. That hotel still stands today.
5. Seth Bullock hailed from Canada originally and married his wife Martha (played by Anna Gunn) in Salt Lake City, before they moved to Deadwood. As in the series, Martha left to live with her mother while Bullock tamed the violence in Deadwood. Interestingly, however, although Bullock witnessed Wild Bill Hickock walk into Deadwood in the series, Bullock didn’t actually move to Deadwood until the day before Wild Bill Hickok was shot dead. In fact, it’s unlikely they ever met.