Deadwood: The 10 Most Badass Characters, Ranked

Deadheads unite, our favorite show is back! In just a few days, the long-awaited Deadwood movie will finally premiere, bringing us back together with our favorite characters who we've been away from for so long. Set 10 years later, we'll finally learn what happened after George Hearst's intense seizure of power over the course of season 3. Though the show has diverted from the real-life history of the town, we're interested to hear if any of it will come into play, including the fire that burnt down much of Deadwood in 1879.

At any rate, we felt that this would be a good time to countdown our favorite characters from the show. There are a lot of good ones, so this was admittedly hard to do!

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10 Sol Starr

Sol Starr was always one of the quieter characters of the show, for much of it acting as a support to the stronger characters, especially his best friend and confidante Seth Bullock. Yet, in a way, he's the soul of the show as well, especially through John Hawkes' sensitive portrayal.

Sol doesn't personally see much action (other than being shot himself while getting in the middle of Seth and Al's fight at the start of season 2), but he's got more than enough spirit to make up for it. His relationship with head prostitute Trixie actually forms one of the more believable romances of the show, however unlikely it seemed at first. Sol is firm in his morals and beliefs, and that makes him a standout character, even if he somewhat pales in comparison to the many other characters of the show.

9 Charlie Utter

Much like Sol Starr, Charlie originally existed as a supporting character under another stronger personality, here being none other than Wild Bill Hickock himself, who Charlie looked out for due to Hickock's dangerous way of life. Once Hickock was unfortunately killed, though, Charlie steps into his own, forming his own business in addition to looking out for other characters on the show, such as Jane and Joanie.

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Dayton Callie's portrayal shows his progressive spirit as the show continues. A particular highlight is when, after learning of the brutal attack by Francis Wolcott on the prostitutes of Joanie's new brothel, he doesn't hesitate to lay Wolcott out on the street, showing his no-holds-barred way of dealing with brutes.

8 Doc Cochran

The Doc, played by the great Brad Dourif, is one of the more compassionate characters of the show. It's fitting, given his profession, yet he also isn't afraid to lash out at the people who deserved it. His ease at switching between doting caregiver and angry judge is impressive, to say the least, and much of that is thanks to Dourif himself.

In season 3 of the show, Cochran had unfortunately fallen ill himself, so as a result we may not know of his fate. Hopefully, though, Cochran has persevered, because such a strong character that helped so many others (including none other than Al himself) deserves to stick around.

7 Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane is one of the more recognizable characters of the show, though, as opposed to being portrayed as an untouchable heroine as she often is in the movies, instead she is much more wounded and vulnerable, in a way probably more true to life. Played by Robin Weigert, Jane has a good heart but she is often held down by her own chaotic nature, which often leads to heavy drinking.

With just about the foulest mouth of anyone in the Deadwood camp, Jane does not appear approachable, and indeed often lashes out at those trying to help her. But it's clear that her intentions are pure, seen when she helps out during the smallpox epidemic, and later on with her partnership with Joanie Stubbs. When last we saw her, the two had become involved romantically, so it'd be interesting to see where she is now.

6 Joanie Stubbs

Joanie is yet another character that steps into her own. Originally seen as the head madam of the Bella Union under Cy Tolliver, she eventually pushes her way out into the world, opening her own brothel in Deadwood (though we know this prospect ultimately doesn't go too well, through no fault of her own).

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Yet Joanie perseveres despite her major setback, not allowing Wolcott's attack to define her. She moves on, forming a close relationship with Jane and learning to care for people less fortunate than herself. Kim Dickens, hot off a recent streak with Fear the Walking Dead, is thankfully back for the new film. Her performance was one of the highlights of this show.

5 Cy Tolliver

Oh Cy, how we will miss you (sort of). Powers Boothe, who portrays Cy, unfortunately, passed away in 2017, before the filming of the new film. Yet, his legacy in the original series lives on. Cy, the owner and operator of the Bella Union, came on the show as a formidable force against the already established Al Swearengen. Yet, whereas Al eventually softened up, even expressing genuine compassion for others as the show went on, Cy seemed to only get more brutal as time passed.

Powers Boothe played Cy with a menace that only the Old West could conjure up. His scene in the first season of the show, in which he brutally tortures and interrogates two kids that had tried to rob him, is still one of the darkest moments of the series. Though he will be sorely missed in the coming film, I'm sure the town of Deadwood is happier without him.

4 E.B. Farnum

You may be surprised at how high Farnum is on this list. But the character, perfectly played by William Sanderson, was just so deviously obnoxious that it's hard not to love him. Prone to fits of anger or long bouts of talking to himself, Farnum is a character whose ambition is perhaps too far out of his reach. His election to mayor of Deadwood, for example, couldn't have gone to a lesser-worthy person, and despite this Farnum is left out of most of the town's major dealings.

Yet, despite his setbacks, in season 3 in particular, Farnum has been known to be relentless. He's almost universally hated by the townspeople of Deadwood, but that's not going to stop him from butting his nose in everything all the same. We're excited to see where this attitude has gotten Farnum when the Deadwood movie premieres.

3 Seth Bullock

The ying to Al Swearengen's yang, Bullock almost always stood for the forces of good in Deadwood, and for what the town was capable of despite its grim dealings. Timothy Olyphant, who would go on from here to play an equally righteous character in the great show Justified, has an iconic look about him from the start, and where he takes Bullock shows his range as an actor.

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Bullock is someone who knows what is just, yet knows when people are a necessary evil as well, such as Al Swearengen. His unlikely partnership with Al forms one of the most compelling story threads of the series, as it was Al who even pushed Bullock to become sheriff in the first place, and from there the two go on to face off against the power-hungry George Hearst. When Bullock is marching down the street towards you, with his teeth gritted in anger, you better watch out. Many characters of the show have learned that by now.

2 Alma Garret

Alma Garret was often the centerpiece of Deadwood, and the show was all the better for it. Though beginning as a meek wife addicted to opium, she emerges as one of the strongest characters, taking ownership of her strong gold claim and refusing to stand down when people threaten her. It's even Alma who comes up with the idea to open up the first bank of Deadwood, putting up her own wealth as collateral.

Alma struggles the most when we last saw her in season three, losing much of what she had gained over the course of the prior two seasons. It's here that the show's abrupt ending most rears its face, as we just know that she would swing back from it. Molly Parker's portrayal of the character is easily one of the most praiseworthy attributes of the show, and her return in the Deadwood movie is definitely something to look forward to.

1 Al Swearengen

Come on, of course we were going to put Al in first place. Played in such incredibly watchable fashion by Ian McShane, Al easily rose as the standout character of the show, almost from episode 1. Though he begins as a villainous brute, prone to bouts of rage and even murder, he eventually warms up as the series progresses, which we could easily see as the show's way of detecting just what a beloved character he was.

Al is the puppetmaster of Deadwood, maneuvering its many strings around to benefit himself first and foremost, yet, as mentioned he also has some of the strongest dramatic moments as well. Sometimes it may be just a nod to a character in understanding while atop his balcony perch overlooking the town, or, at others, it's compassion disguised as a business strategy. Either way, Ian McShane's portrayal is what put him on the map for us, and we've followed his career closely ever since first falling in love with this show. We really can't wait to see him once again in Deadwood: The Movie.

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