The HBO series Deadwood brought the Wild West's most infamous prospecting town to life with a cinematic attention to detail that was practically unheard of at the time. Famous American pioneers like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Seth Bullock were among the characters who appeared in the historical drama, walking the streets with guns on their hips and profanity on their lips.
One element about the show which gave it a gritty realism was the way the characters spoke, with the imaginatively foul language seamlessly blending with dated style of speech. The show pulled itself off so well that fans might have overlooked the top-notch costuming that helped keep them so immersed. Keep scrolling to check out the ten best costumes from Deadwood.
10 Jack McCall
The coward Jack McCall was a drunk and a poker player who haunted the poker halls and gambling dens of Deadwood. He might have been just one of the countless pathetic souls whose name was lost to history, except that he had the grave misfortune of murdering the legendary gunman Wild Bill Hickok, shooting the Western hero from behind.
In the show, McCall was instantly recognizable, his dirty loose-fitting clothes and lopsided cap easy to spot as he staggered about flapping his lips. What really brought the whole look together was his makeup with unshaven scruff, bags under his eye, and the red cheeks of a chronic drunk.
9 Joanie Stubbs
This woman was the madame who co-ran the Bella Union, a popular bordello and casino in Deadwood. A lady's lady, she had no interest in servicing the male clientele of her establishment, though she eventually found romantic fulfillment with the frontierswoman Calamity Jane. Joanie was one of the most sophisticated people in the whole town. She spoke French and had a strong sense of business acumen.
Her various outfits had lots of frills and lace, while she frequently wore expensive jewelry, showcasing her refined background. She also wore a top hat and fine jackets to demonstrate her entrepreneurial spirit.
8 Cy Tolliver
Alongside Joanie, Cy helped to run the Bella Union. He was a shrewd businessman with a smooth tongue and a nose for opportunity, always sniffing out ways to his clients from their cash. Joanie and he offered a higher caliber of gambling and women at Bella Union than their rival establishment the Gem.
Tolliver dressed smartly as proof of his wealth and respectability. He wore a clean red jacket- its bright color and straight-cut lapels popping vibrantly. The turquoise stud on his necktie, his embroidered black vest, and well-groomed hair and mustache all stood out as unusually rich and refined in contrast to the dirty-looking prospectors of Deadwood.
7 Doc Cochran
A slender and fearful man, Doc Cochran treated the injured of the rough-and-tumble mining town where shooting the wrong glance at the wrong person might earn someone a fresh hole in the head. Being the one who mended the ailments in Deadwood, he was quite aware of the dangerous men whose enemies and acquaintances had a habit of ending up bloodied.
With his delicate spectacles and clean suit jacket, Doc Cochran looked like a man with both an education and enough wealth to keep his clothes well-laundered. A particularly nice detail about his design was how his mustache framed his mouth, extending his dropped jaw into a perpetual look of surprise.
6 E. B. Farnum
One of the historical residents of the town, E. B. Farnum was not so much a man as he was a weasel in human form. He ran the Grand Central Hotel but was a lackey in the service of Al Swearengen, demonstrating a boot-licking loyalty to the pimp. One of the first acts Farnum did on the show was to help Swearengen swindle a man into buying bad property.
The costume design for Farnum was some of the best on the show! He dressed in what was supposed to be fine clothing with a frilly lace shirt, bowtie, bowler hat, and checkered jacket. However, the clothing is old, the whites dirtied and colors faded to sepia tones, small tears in need of mending on all his garments. In other words, his respectability was a sham.
5 Calamity Jane
One of the more famous people to have lived at Deadwood, Jane Canary was a friend and traveling companion to Wild Bill and Charlie Utter. With fire in her belly and liquor in her veins, the drunken frontierswoman was surprisingly compassionate. She was also a raging fool ruled by her own self-loathing (though she seemed to mellow out after she and Joanie Stubbs entered into a relationship).
With a feather in her cap and a tear along every few inches of her clothing, she looked like she just stumbled in from the wilderness. And to be fair, she usually had.
4 Al Swearengen
This historical businessman cursed with a sophisticated elegance of speech and raw visceral command of all things profane that one would expect from someone with the word "swear" in his name. He ran the Gem, a gambling den and brothel in Deadwood, though in truth, he ruled almost half the town, thuggishly bullying others to get his way.
In his pinstripe suit and with that well-trimmed thick mustache, Swearengen looked like a man of wealth and principles, though the black of his costume belied his dark intent. His slicked-back hair also added an oily quality to his appearance, which was perfect for such a slippery businessman.
3 Alma Garrett
The laudanum-addicted widow of Brom Garrett came to Deadwood with her husband, a man from New York's upperclass society who was tricked by Al Swearengen into buying bad land, and then murdered for raising too much of a stink about it. Alma was far more observant and shrewd than her husband. As a beautiful woman in a lawless town, she realized how vulnerable she was once her husband was killed and quickly sought the aid of honorable men like Wild Bill and Seth Bullock.
Alma wore several distinctive outfits throughout the show, all of them expensive. Silk, lace, and intricate embroidery were common elements of her attire. Both her wealth and vulnerability were apparent in these delicate clothes, able to rip at any moment, yet she held them, and herself, together through all she endured.
2 Seth Bullock
Seth Bullock came to town with his traveling companion and dear friend Sol Star, the two of them intent on starting a business selling wares to the prospectors of Deadwood. Seth worked as a lawman before this change in career and maintained his sense of right and wrong despite having moved somewhere that existed wholly outside the law. He was a skilled gunman who offered aid to those in need.
Wearing a longcoat that didn't quite conceal his gun belt over his double-breasted vest, Bullock was a man ready for action, but clearly groomed and tamed by law-and-order society. Plus, he rocked that 'stache!
1 Bill Hickok
Wild Bill was a legend of the American West. He was a sheriff, an army scout, and a performer in Buffalo Bill Cody's traveling circus. After he rode into Deadwood, he spent much of his time playing poker until he was shot in the back during a game.
Actor Keith Carradine looked every bit the part of Wild Bill Hickok. With his shoulder-length curly hair, epic mustache, broad-brimmed hat, and black jacket, he looked like a photograph of the gunslinger come to life. No other character better demonstrated how important costumes were to the show's success.