Westerns have long been a favorite of the American viewing public, and the cable series Deadwood filled a void left open for more than a decade. Running three seasons, and with 36 episodes, the series starred Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, and Kim Dickens, and was created by David Milch. The series originally aired on HBO, and now you can watch Deadwood online. Western legends, including Wild Bill Hickock, Calamity Jane, and Wyatt Earp are portrayed in the series, which is set in Deadwood, South Dakota in the 1870s, soon after the ending of the American Civil War. The series gained critical acclaim, won eight Primetime Emmy awards, and a Golden Globe. TV Guide listed it at number 8 on their 60 Series Cancelled Too Soon and number one of their list of 15 Cancelled Shows You Want to Bring Back. The series is regarded by many as one of the greatest TV dramas of all time. Here’s how to see Deadwood streaming online:
How to Watch Deadwood Online & Stream the Complete Series
In the United States, all three seasons of Deadwood are available on both Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Here’s how to watch via either service:
If you have Prime, or if you want to sign up for a free 30-day trial of Prime, you can watch every season of Deadwood on your computer right here, or you can watch on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
There are two different options when signing up for Hulu:
Hulu With Live TV: If you want to go from watching their on-demand library to watching MLB games or other live TV without changing the app, you can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV”. This option gives you access to Hulu’s extensive on-demand library, as well as a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels. It costs $39.99 per month for the plan that includes limited commercials with the on-demand content or $43.99 per month for the plan that includes no commercials with the on-demand content.
When signing up for either of the above options, you’ll also need to add the HBO add-on to watch every episode of Deadwood. You can watch on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead
How Many Deadwood Seasons Are There?
There are three seasons and 36 episodes of Deadwood, airing from March 21, 2004 – August 27, 2006. The series producers were preparing for the fourth season when the show’s cancellation was announced. According to some reports, the show’s creators were offered a limited or shortened season run to wrap the series, but declined. Since, there have been rumors about a possible movie. Here is a Deadwood season guide:
12 episodes | March 21, 2004 – June 13, 2004
The series opens about six months after Custer’s Last Stand at Little Big Horn. The Deadwood mining camp has just been settled, and Seth Bullock arrives in town, leaving his job as Marshal in Montana, to open a hardware store. He partners with Sol Star. Meanwhile, Wild West icons Wild Bill Hickock, Calamite Jane, and Charlie Utter are also coming to the mining camp. A minor finds his gold claim worthless and demands to be reimbursed by Al Swearengen, who sold him the land. Swearengen then takes out a contract on the man, who is thrown off a cliff. It’s later learned the man’s claim isn’t worthless. His widow asks Wild Bill Hickock for advice, and after he suggests hiring an attorney is killed in a poker game by Jack McCall. Swearengen works with the magistrate to have McCall acquitted. Smallpox spreads through the camp, and the magistrate who was cowed by Swearengen tries to extort the man, Swearengen has a contract put out on the man. After all of this, Bullock, who was a marshal in Montana, volunteers to be the new sheriff.
12 episodes | March 6, 2005 – May 22, 2005
Season two takes up about seven months after Bullock becomes sheriff, and things have settled a bit in town. Swearengen is trying to damage Bullock’s reputation and the two fight. Calamity Jane returns to town and supports Bullock, and Alma Garrett, the widow of the man killed by Swearengen in season one, becomes pregnant by Bullock. Joanie Stubbs opens a brothel. Bullock has to rescue Samuel Fields from an angry mob, and the Pinkerton detectives arrive. Hugo Jerry wants the town to become part of the new Dakota territory, and to protect the girls in the brothel, Joanie sends them away. Alma asks Sol to help her start a bank, and she later marries Ellsworth. The town is annexed into Yankton territory.
12 episodes | June 11, 2006 – August 27, 2006
Season three picks up soon after the annexation of the town. Unionizing miner are killed by Hearst, and Bullock runs for a new term as sheriff against Harry Manning. Alma considers selling her claim to Hearst, but he doesn’t like her terms and threatens to rape her. A theatre troupe arrives in town and they buy the Chez Amis from Joanie, promising to build a school for the town’s children. Pregnant Alma’s life is endangered by her baby and Doc Cochran performs a D&C. Bullock tries to stop a feud between Steve and Samuel Fields over the livery stable. When more miners are killed, Bullock arrests Hearst. Alma turns to drugs to cope with losing her pregnancy. Hearst sets up Trixie, a prostitute, to shoot him, so that he can have her killed, but instead a different prostitute is killed and her body passed as that of Trixie. Hearst leaves town.
What Are the Best Deadwood Episodes?
While some critics have said that the series either used too much profanity or that the profanity used was not time-appropriate, town residents did curse and regularly. They also fought, schemed, and fought some more. Here is a list of the best Deadwood episodes:
Season 2, Episode 1 “A Lie Agreed Upon: Part 1”
Winner of the American Cinema Editors Best Edited One Hour Series for Non-Commercial Television Award (2006), the episode also won an Emmy for Outstanding Makeup. Swearengen and Bullock argue about Alma, and Bullock’s wife and child arrive from Montana. Joanie’s new business partners arrive and she plans to open a brothel.
Season 1, Episode 1 “Deadwood/pilot”
Winner of the 2004 Emmy awards for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series. The pilot episode introduces the main characters of Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen who will be rivals throughout the series. Wild West legends Sol Star and Wild Bill Hickock are introduced, along with Calamity Jane.
Season 2, Episode 12 “Boy the Earth Talks To”
Won Emmys for Outstanding Costuming and Hairstyling. George Hearst arrives in town, bringing with him more conflict for the residents. Swearengen manipulates Yankton, and the Chinese bosses have a mutiny on their hands.
Season 3, Episode 2 “I Am Not the Fine Man You Take Me For”
This episode won an Emmy for Outstanding Makeup (non-prosthetic), and highlights the upcoming election for sheriff, the battle for control of town between Swearengen and Hearst, and brings Calamity Jane back to town to tell the children about her exploits.
Who Are the Actors in the Deadwood Cast?
The ensemble series cast brought in Hollywood stars as well as character actors. Timothy Olyphant, Powers Boothe, and Molly Parker all created memorable characters on the series. Here are the actors remembered for their starring roles on Deadwood:
Seth Bullock was a law officer in Montana before coming to South Dakota to become a business man. He is intent on building his fortune, but when he sees the lawlessness, cannot stop himself from joining the fight. Timothy Olyphant is best known as Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens from the series Justified. He has had a long career, with many villainous roles, including the films Scream 2 and Go, as well as roles on series including The Office and Santa Clarita Diet with Drew Barrymore.
Owner of the Gem Saloon, Swearengen arrived in the mining town first and runs the town. He is a corrupt man who will stop at nothing to protect his empire and anyone who threatens him. Ian McShane is best known for his roles in Lovejoy and Deadwood, but has had a long career as an actor in both the UK and the US. He played Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, and his other notable roles include Shrek the Third, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and American Gods.
Alma married to escape her father’s precarious financial situation, but when her husband is killed, must learn to stand on her own. Molly Parker is best known for her roles on Deadwood and House of Cards, where she played the House Majority Whip. She is an award-winning actress.
Doc is one of the only honorable men in Deadwood and he takes his role as camp doctor very seriously. Despite owing his job to Swearengen, Doc puts helping people first. Brad Dourif is best known as Billy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; he won a Golden Globe for his role. He was also Chuckie in the film franchise and appeared in Mississippi Burning before joining the cast of Deadwood.
Dority is an enforcer for Al Swearengen and probably his most trusted associate. W. Earl Brown is best known for playing Dan Dority; before this role, he appeared in the films Scream, The Last of Us and Black Mass.
Sol Star is Bullock’s confidante and oldest friend; he encouraged Bullock to go to the mining town. Star has good business sense but is excitable. John Hawkes is best known for his role on Deadwood. He has been nominated for an Oscar for his part in Winter’s Bone, and a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award for the role of Mark in The Sessions
Paula Malcomson as Trixie
Trixie is the best girl at Swearengen’s Gem Saloon. She has a mind of her own, but Swearengen knows how to make her fall in line with his plans. Paula Malcomson is best known for her roles in Deadwood and the TV series Lost.
Wild Bill’s traveling partner and friend, Utter regularly smooths the feathers that Hickok ruffles. He is also friends with Calamity Jane. While Dayton Callie is best known for his role on Deadwood, he has had a long career in Hollywood, playing roles in Sons of Anarchy, Fear the Walking Dead and the film Halloween II.
Leon Rippy as Tom Nuttall
Tom Nuttall owns and runs the No. 10 Saloon in town. When Wild Bill decides he likes the place, Nuttall advances him money so he’ll keep playing – and draw in more paying customers – at the No. 10. Leon Rippy is a character actor best known for his roles in the Mel Gibson hit The Patriot and as Nuttall in Deadwood.
E.B. is the default mayor and he runs the Grand Central Hotel. He is connected to Swearengen and regularly takes part in his schemes. William Sanderson is best known for his role in the series; he has also appeared in Newhart, as a country bumpkin, and True Blood.
Calamity Jane was a Wild West figure; on the series, she is foul-mouthed, ready to fight, and a traveling companion of Wild Bill Hickock. Robin Weigert was nominated for an Emmy for the role of Calamity Jane in the series; this is her best known role. She has also appeared in Chicago P.D. and Sons of Anarchy.
Johnny is employed by Swearengen; he is young and ambitious and holds Swearengen up as an idol. Sean Bridgers is best known for this role. He has also appeared in The Woman, Jug Face and Sweet Home Alabama.
Sofia’s family is killed by thugs, leaving her an orphan. She is saved by Wild Bill and Bullock, protected by Calamity Jane and Doc Cochran, and lives with Alma Garrett. Bree Seanna Wall is best known for her role in the series.
Who Are the Top Guest Stars on Deadwood?
Gerald McRaney, Anna Gunn, and Keith Carradine are among the Hollywood actors who have had guest starring roles in Deadwood. Here are the most important guest stars on Deadwood
Ellsworth is a prospector and a witness to Brom Garret’s murder. He won’t come forward about what he knows, but does take care of Brom’s claim for Alma. Jim Beaver is a playwright and actor best known for his role on Deadwood.
Merrick is the editor and reporter for the Pioneer newspaper. Because of his profession few people trust him, and he always shows up when big events are about to happen. Jeffrey Jones is a well known character actor in Hollywood. He has appeared in The Hunt for Red October, Beetlejuice and as the ticked off principal in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Joanie is a madame and runs her own brothel and is a confidante of Cy Tolliver. Kim Dickens has had a long Hollywood career; her first role came in the 1995 film Palookaville, since she has acted in Mercury Rising, Gone Girl, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. She is best known for her role in Deadwood.
Tolliver is Al Swearengen’s main rival. He runs the Bella Union, a high-class saloon, brothel, and gaming joint. He was a riverboat gambler; he runs a network of spies in town and in focused on making a fortune in any way he can. A long-time character actor in Hollywood, Powers Boothe has had roles in the series Nashville and 24, but is best known for the Emmy-winning role of Jim Jones in Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.
Silas works for the corrupt magistrate who oversees the law in Deadwood and is recruited into Swearengen’s ring. Titus Welliver is best known as The Man In Black from the series Lost. He has had a long career in Hollywood, including roles in Deadwood and Bosch.
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind Deadwood?
Deadwood was created by David Milch, and ran for three seasons on the HBO network. There have been rumors that a movie is in the works to continue the series.
David Milch: Deadwood Creator and Writer
David Milch is the creator of Deadwood, and although only credited with writing five episodes, he consulted on nearly every script, in some cases rewriting the scripts that were turned in. He began his career as a writer for series Hill Street Blues and NYPD Bue.
Gregg Fienberg: Deadwood Producer
Gregg Fienberg is best known for his roles as a producer on the series Deadwood and True Blood. He has received Directors Guild of America and Emmy Award nominations for his work in the Deadwood series. He was also an executive producer for the series Big Little Lies
Mark Tinker: Deadwood Producer and Director
Mark Tinker began his career as a director and producer for NYPD Blue. In addition to producing Deadwood, he has directed series including St. Elsewhere, Chicago Hope and Scandal
Where Deadwood Ranks in the Television Pantheon
Most fans agree that Deadwood was cancelled too soon, partially because the series never had a true ending, and critics have listed it as one of the greatest TV dramas ever made. The cancellation announcement was made as the series creators and writers were getting ready for Season 4, which led to the series not having a true ending, but rumors continue to fly that a movie will be released, with the HBO bosses saying in 2017 that they ‘were open to’ the idea. Deadwood, according to series creator MILCH, is about how civilization comes together around certain symbols. For the series, the main symbol is gold and the power of money. Other themes that were touched on in the series were race, violence, prostitution, and creating order from chaos. The series has made the ‘best of’ lists for VOX and The Ringer, with Rolling Stone listing it at 23 on their 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. Over the series run, Deadwood was nominated for 82 awards, and won 27, including one Golden Globe, 8 Emmy awards, and was named the TV Program of the Year for the AFI Awards in both 2005 and 2006.