The Ultimate Deadwood Quiz


By: John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

It's uncouth. It's violent. It's the Wild West, in all of its tarnished glory. It's "Deadwood," a Western that captures big slices of life on the frontier. How much do you know about this edgy and powerful production?

"Deadwood" is a fictional show based on a real town in which state?

The show is fictional, but the town is real -- it's Deadwood, South Dakota. It's located in the far western part of the state.


Ian McShane plays the role of Al Swearengen, who had what role in the community?

Al Swearengen is the owner of a saloon and brothel named the Gem Theater. But he has a lot of other business interests, too, and most of them are rather unsavory.


David Milch is an important part of the show. What does he do?

David Milch is the show's creator. In 1993, he created a major hit called "NYPD Blue."


The show was created by which cable TV company?

HBO produced "Deadwood," which is definitely not appropriate for mainstream TV. It features heaps of violence, nudity and profanity.


The show takes place in South Dakota. Where did most of the filming take place?

Almost all of the actual shooting took place in Santa Clarita Valley, California. It's a famous location that's been used for many other Western shows.


David Milch meant the show to be as historically accurate as possible.

Milch did in-depth research about the town and its residents, mining real-life people and events for his stories. But most of "Deadwood" is dramatic fiction.


Actor Timothy Olyphant plays which part?

Timothy Olyphant is Seth Bullock, the sheriff of Deadwood. And in this wild, wild town, he has his hands full. His character is based on the town's real lawman.


In real life, sheriff Seth Bullock was tight with which U.S. politician?

Bullock became known for his tough, no-nonsense approach to law in Deadwood. He earned the respect of Teddy Roosevelt and even took part in some of the eventual president's political events.


The show lasted for three seasons. How many episodes are there?

There are just 36 episodes. There have been numerous attempts to revive the story in some format, and we may yet see more from these gritty characters.


In the late 1800s, Deadwood was a remote place. Why did it even exist?

Deadwood was a significant gold-mining camp. It was a rough and tough place -- less of a civilized town and more of a glorified camp.


Who plays the role of Alma Garret?

Molly Parker is Alma Garret, a widow who is trying to survive in Deadwood. Parker is famous for her role as Jackie Sharp in "House of Cards."


In the first season, many of the local residents become sick. Why?

Just as it did so many times in real life, smallpox ripped through Deadwood. Many residents succumb to the deadly disease.


The show immediately drew rebuke from conservative viewers due to what element?

It's impossible to watch the show and not notice its liberal usage of profanity. The F-word, for example, is used thousands of times in "Deadwood," even though the show lasted only three seasons.


Anna Gunn plays a character named Martha. Who is she?

Gunn is Martha Bullock, Seth's wife. Gunn is famous for her role as Skyler White in "Breaking Bad."


In the show, Al Swearengen is a bad-tempered man who sometimes works towards the greater good. What was Al like in real life?

The real-life version of Al Swearengen was even worse than his fictional counterpart. He was a noted criminal and took part in what would be considered sex trafficking.


Alma Garret has a hard time staying on her feet during some episodes. Why?

She is a functional drug addict. Alma is hooked on laudanum, which is a tincture that contains opium.


Paula Malcomson is Trixie. What is Trixie's role in Deadwood?

Trixie is an often-frantic prostitute who is desperate to keep her place in Deadwood's chaotic society. Malcomson also had a role in ABC's "Lost."


"Deadwood" lasted for only three seasons because it got terrible reviews.

The show got glowing reviews from nearly every professional critic who saw it. And like an enduring Western cowboy, it may rise again in new shows or films in the next few years.


Which famous person is murdered in Deadwood during the first season?

Wild Bill Hickok takes up a game of poker with a man named Jack McCall, who shoots and kills the Old West celebrity. In real life, McCall was executed for his crime.


As the story goes, how long has the town existed when Season 1 begins?

Deadwood is still a place in its infancy, just six months old when the story begins. It is on the edge of civilization, far removed from the organization and order of the East.


David Milch has repeatedly said that a certain object is a central theme of the show. What is that object?

Milch says that the show is a study of sorts on how human beings form organized societies focused on certain symbols. In this show, that symbol is gold, the all-powerful metal of the Wild West.


In Season 2, an establishment named The Chez Amis opens in Deadwood. What is it?

The Chez Amis is yet another brothel. It's opened by Joanie Stubbs and her partner Maddie.


In the second season, Seth Bullock has an affair with which woman?

Bullock takes up an affair with Alma Garret, the widow with a drug problem. Their relationship is anything but smooth sailing.


"Deadwood" received exceptionally good reviews from critics. It won eight Emmy Awards.

The show did indeed clean up at awards time. It won eight Emmys from 2004 to 2007, including Outstanding Makeup and Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series.


Al, the saloon owner, often torments other people. What happens to him in Season 3?

Al makes a power play in Deadwood and loses his gamble. Captain Turner rounds up Al and chops off one of his fingers to show him that he's not as powerful as he believes.


HBO axed the series without giving creators any opportunity to finish the story.

Actually, HBO did offer to extend the series, but David Milch turned them down. He wanted to make more than the six episodes that HBO offered.


Why were fans of the show infuriated by the way the final episode ended?

There was no real ending to the show's storyline, leaving dedicated fans hanging in anticipation. For years, they have waited for some sort of resolution to "Deadwood."


How did the cast of "Deadwood" respond to the show's cancellation?

"Deadwood" was sailing along to positive reviews. The cast was mostly shocked when the show was abruptly canceled before its fourth season.


David Milch is currently working on a script for more "Deadwood" action.

HBO gave Milch the go-ahead to create a full-fledged "Deadwood" movie. Provided the movie becomes reality, it would probably air on the channel that made the show famous.


There's an awful lot of swearing in "Deadwood." The curse words are true to the times.

Back then, the most risque curse words were a bit different than the ones in today's world. But not by as much as you might think. Coarse language has a way of surviving the generations.


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