Deadwood was a show full of deceitful and nefarious characters but Seth Bullock was a man who always tried to bring law and justice to the violent town. Played by Timothy Olyphant in the series, Seth Bullock was a former lawman who left behind that career to seek his fortune in Deadwood. But before long, Seth found he couldn't let the evils of the town go unpunished.
While a generally respectful man, Seth has a brutally violent temple. Anyone can become the target of his rage when he's in a rotten mood and he is not a man to back down from a fight. He is one of the most compelling characters in Deadwood and has provided the show with some of its best moments. Here are the greatest Seth Bullock quotes from Deadwood.
10 "No law either against me breaking your f***ing jaw if you don't quit it."
Seth left his lawman career behind when he moved to Deadwood, but it is not so easy to shake off those lawman habits in his new life. He is quick to call out anyone trying to cheat or scheme their fellow citizens and certainly not above threatening violence against the offending parties.
After the death of his friend Wild Bill Hickok, the townspeople line up to pay their respects to the famous gunfighter. As one of the citizens tries to take advantage of the situation by selling souvenirs, Seth is quick to put an end to it with a well-placed threat.
9 "I'll mother f*** you and blow your head off."
Once Seth finally does return to his lawman ways, he doesn't take a softer approach in dealing with Deadwood's bad apples. He is also a man that does not judge based on race which is more than you can say for most people of this time.
As the town's violent idiot, Steve, is attempting to tar a local black man for a perceived insult, Seth intervenes. Through Steve's ignorance, he believes he is in the right to punish the black man. Seth corrects him by showing that he can do a lot worse than insult Steve. Seth might be a violent man, but he's better than most.
8 "Don't tell me what the f*** I mean."
Right from the beginning, Seth and Al Swearengen do not get along. Al is the owner of the Gem Saloon and landlord to Seth and Sol Starr's new property in Deadwood. Seth is a prideful man who doesn't like being in business with a man like Al which causes them to but heads in their first meeting.
As Al begins to dig into Seth and Sol's business, Seth lashes out. When Al corrects Seth's grammar, you can see the rage rising up in Seth's eyes. It doesn't take much to make that many angry and Al really knows how to push his buttons.
7 "Disperse this riotous assembly!"
The people of Deadwood certainly do have a way with words. Credit to the writers of the show who come up with elegant and layered dialogue for all of the show's colorful characters. The show has even been dubbed by some as "Shakespeare in the mud."
Seth is prone to such language as well, like when he goes upon to racist mob. Firing a warning shot, he calls for them to break it up in the most commanding and fearsome of ways. Despite being in a town filled with murderers, Seth always seems to be the one giving orders and most people are smart enough to follow them.
6 "Every bully I've ever met can't shut his f***ing mouth. Except when he's afraid."
Certainly, the most contentious and dangerous rivalry Seth is involved in is with George Hearst. The rich and powerful businessman comes to Deadwood to buy land. His corrupt dealings immediately make him an enemy of Seth who is not at all afraid of a man like Hearst.
After Hearst successfully intimidates Alma Garrett out of her land, Hearst attempts to gloat about the victory. Seth shuts Hearst down and lets him know what kind of a man he thinks he is. Despite the danger, Seth won't let Hearst win on his terms.
5 "You pie-faced c***s***er, get in here and account for your insult."
Before their relationship turns somewhat friendly due to shared enemies, Seth and Al finally come to blows at the beginning of Season 2. Al, in a drunken state, insults Seth in public regarding his relationship with Alma. Obviously, Seth takes offense to that and visits Al to make him pay for the remark.
The vicious and insulting threat Seth levels Al is blunt, to say the least. Few people have the courage to talk to Al that way but Seth doesn't blink an eye. That insult and the ensuing fight may have actually brought the two men closer together.
4 "I'll be the f***ing sheriff."
Seth is a complex man. He was frustrated with his life as a lawman so he decided to try to make a business for himself and leave the public service behind. He struggles with that decision, struck by a sense of duty to uphold the law when no one else will.
While he refuses the position of sheriff in Deadwood on several occasions, he finally sees it taken up by those who are corrupt and will bend the law for a price. Not willing to see the position tarnished and the townspeople put at jeopardy, he reluctantly becomes Deadwood's lawful guardian.
3 "Get out of here, or I'll drag you out by the ear."
George Hearst leaves Deadwood richer than when he arrived. He got what he came for and managed to commit murder without punishment. However, due to Seth Bullock's interference, it hardly seems like Hearst left as a winner.
Seth stood in Hearst's way, refused to back down and humiliated the man like no one ever had. He dragged Hearst to a jail cell by the ear in front of the entire town. Seth made sure to remind Hearst of that and to remind him that no everyone in Deadwood was afraid of him.
2 "People angry at their difficulties often act like f***ing idiots."
The Old West is a tough time. People lived hard, grueling lives, and the people of Deadwood were no different. Though it was promised as a place where people could find their fortunes, many of them continued to find nothing but more trouble. Regardless, Seth has no sympathy for people suing their misfortunes to act stupid.
These are wise words and as true today as they were back then. Seth deals with a lot of people frustrated with their lot in life. He has no patience for them and will not allow them to blame their actions on their bad luck. Seth makes people accountable for their stupidity.
1 "My job ain't to follow the law. My job is to interpret it."
Deadwood: The Movie was a fitting farewell to from the brilliant show after all these years. It was also wonderful to see what these characters were up to after so long. For Seth, he was very much the same man, though his sense of right and wrong were beginning to blur as George Hearst returned to Deadwood.
Seth begins to question how a man like Hearst is able to escape the law for so long. He finally explains to Al that a lawman is meant to see the law in their own way which is left open for interpretation. For the first time, we see Seth might be willing to bend the rules.