Deadwood question, possible open spoiler

I’m just getting around to watching Deadwood and up at episode 5, just starting. I understand that later in this episode Wild Bill gets shot. He seems to have every vice possible except chasing women in whom he has no interest. Is he gay and is his partner his business manager, whose name I forget?

Every vice? He’s a drinker and a gambler but other then that he seems fine. He is shown to write a very romantic letter to his wife and no indication to say he is gay.

Considering 90% of the women in Deadwood are prostitutes it is entirely possible he’s either loyal or just doesn’t want to spend his money on hookers when he could be gambling it away.

No, he doesn’t appear to be gay in the show. His business partner is Charlie Utter.

Anyway, I seem to remember a big emphasis on him writing long love letters to his wife, possibly one just before he was killed. I think that is supposed to be the explanation of his lack of interest in womanizing.

I’d also quibble with “he seems to have every vice possible except chasing women…”

As far as I can tell, his only two vices on the show were poker and ego. Otherwise he is portrayed pretty sympathetically.
ETA: Beaten to it by Darkhold.

Alright, I finished watching the episode, and Charlie Utter was in the bar when Bill was killed. Also, McCall’s horse was fixed so that the saddle would slip. As an old fan of Westerns, I have seen this trick where the buckle is loosened to cause that. McCall also had a new suit with no way of buying it. And for the first time Hickock wore his famous red sash. Hickock wrote a last letter to his wife and concluded his business with Bullock. It seems to me that Hickock and Utter arranged for McCall to assassinate Hickock quickly for a painless death.

Despite Swearingen considering Hickock’s death this way, it seems to me to be he had nothing to do with it.

As a Gay man, I too sort of read between the lines in this show.
I don’t think they were saying he was “Gay” as much as perhaps “things happen” when men are away from women for long periods of time. Granted, in situations like this, one guy is often more invested in that casual relationship, and “love” the person - and I think that might have been the case - at least in this show.

I didn’t think the Hickok character had any sexual dimension at all. That character was mainly about myth vs. the man for me, conventional male bonding and, in terms of the main arc across all of Deadwood, represented the cusp in a society between disorder - anarchy - and when order becomes an organised, collective effort.

Whoa Nelly !

We wasn’t gay; he was racked with syphilis. There’s nothing to clue you into that in his Deadwood eps though. It’s just a little historical touch they kept.

I have a biography on Hickok around here somewhere, and there was no indication he was gay. Syphilis or some other disease was causing visual deterioration, which affected his ability to shoot. He was losing his ability to be a lawman. He was haunted by an incident in 1871, in which he accidentally killed his deputy. (He had just shot a man named Coe, heard someone rushing up behind him, whirled and shot; and it turned out to be the deputy.) In 1873 ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody and ‘Texas Jack’ Omohundro invited him to join their Wild West show (not Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, but an earlier stage show). Hickok thought it was silly and pulled some dangerous pranks such as shooting his (blank-loaded) pistols to close to other performers (possibly causing some burns). He was an inveterate gambler. He’d earned a decent living from that, and the shows with Cody, but later had financial troubles and more than once was arrested for vagrancy. In the year of his death he married a circus owner named Agnes, who was a dozen years his senior. They weren’t together for long, before he headed for Deadwood with Charlie Utter to make his fortune. Of course, gambling was easier than manual labour, so he did that instead of his original plan.

Apropo of nothing, keep an eye out for the return of McCall. Not the character (that would be a spoiler), but the actor. For some reason he returns later in the series as a whole new major character.

:confused: Do you mean Swearengen and Utter? No way Utter was in on it. Al was pissed at Hickock but if I remember right, we never saw Al or any of his minions in a scene with McCall. Al wouldn’t have used him anyway – he would have done it himself or had Dan do it.


There’s no way Utter would arrange for Hickock to be killed. Even if he was willing he’d never hire a drunken loser to do so. McCall hated Hickock and would hardly go along with some convoluted plan by Hickock to shot him.

I don’t think any of what you’re proposing is supported by the show at all.

I agree. The show is complex, but it’s not that complex.

Wow. I’m ashamed to say that even though I’ve seen all of Deadwood (and all of the 4400!), I never noticed that until you just mentioned it. D’oh! :smack:

I don’t know how I missed that.

Yeah, future episodes beautifully illustrate how much Utter respected and (platonically) loved Hickock. He would never in a thousand years play any part in killing Hickock. Really, Utter emerges as one of the (maybe only?) unfailingly moral people on the show.

Because Utter is played by the guy who does Unser in Sons Of Anarchy, I immediately recognized him in the bar. I played it back a few times. It is him or a twin brother. He arranged it or knew it was going to happen. And his conversation with Hickock where Bill says “let me go to hell the way I want to” is a parting conversation. In real life Utter was a very handsome man.

I have some familiarity with Hickock’s life, having seen a number of documentaries and westerns. I had seen the death wish stuff before in Wild Bill (Jeff Bridges). David Arquette played Jack McCall in Wild Bill, and the guy here looked so much like him I looked it up, wasn’t him. I see from my googling that he will be back.

The closest my googling came to confirm my suicide theory was an review which pointed out a general death wish.

I’ve seen 5 episodes so far. I love it.

Utter wasn’t even in Deadwood when McCall shot Hickock. He was off hauling freight, and doesn’t find out that Bill is dead until he runs into Seth on the road. He didn’t arrange it and he didn’t know it was going to happen. There’s nothing in the historical record or on the show that supports your theory.

You’re way off beam, fella. It’s not Inspector Morse.

Played it a dozen times now. It’s Utter or a twin brother. About 20 frames 12 with the character dead center, dressed up as a miner. The only difference is that he looks like his sideburns are slightly more full.

It’s not Charlie. I just rewatched and looked for someone in the No. 10 who looked like him. I couldn’t see it, but I’ll admit that early in the show, it was easy for me to mistake one character for another – all those beards and muttonchop whiskers and the scraggly hair and the same kind of clothes. And occasionally Milch would use an actor more than once, not just Dillahunt but a couple of others too.

Are you talking about the guy hereat about :26? He does sort of resemble Utter, but it’s not him. Just another hairy western guy.