This series about Deadwood, South Dakota in the post-Civil War era shows a lawless town that's struggling to become a real city. Lots of drifters, gamblers, and prostitues - all in search of refuge and perhaps a modest fortune. A former Montana sherrif named Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) arrives with his partner Sol Starr (John Hawkes) and open a hardware store to supply the prospectors and townfolk. The town is effectively ruled by the ruthless owner of the Gem Saloon, Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) who isn't above cheating, gouging, or even murder when it will profit him in the end.
While the actors are marvelous, it's the writing that really makes this series from HBO shine. Still, it's the cast that keeps you coming back for more. Set in this dirty, gritty, and dangerous environment, the characters show how daunting it must have been for ordinary people who lived in those wild times. British actor Ian McShane is the most interesting villain on television today. Swearengen is evil, but has his small touches of humanity that make his character likeable. Timothy Olyphant's portrayal of the world-weary Seth Bullock is the hero almost by default as he struggles to do what's right when everyone around him is only looking out for themselves. If you didn't see this on HBO, be sure to buy or rent the DVD set. It's one of those touchstone shows that puts most network series to shame.
Rainbo Electronic Reviews published this review in our June, 2008 issue.
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