The *real* Deadwood


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javafiend
June 25, 2005, 04:10 PM
If you talk to some historians and economists about Deadwood and the rest of the West, you get a much different picture from what's on television - or what's been taught in history classes, writes columinst John Tierney in, of all places, the op-ed pages of The New York Times.

Roger McGrath, a historian who studied dozens of Western mining camps and towns, found a high rate of homicide in them mainly because it was socially acceptable for young, drunk single men to resolve points of honor by fighting to the death. But other violence wasn't tolerated, he said.

"It was a rather polite and civil society enforced by armed men," Dr. McGrath said. "The rate of burglary and robbery was lower than in American cities today. Claim-jumping was rare. Rape was extraordinarily rare - you can argue it wasn't being reported, but I've never seen evidence hinting at that."

Deadwood's bad reputation was established by the famous killing of Wild Bill and enhanced with claims that the miners averaged a murder a day. But Deadwood historians like Watson Parker dismiss that statistic.

"Pure bilge," Dr. Parker told me. "There wasn't an awful lot of violence in Deadwood except for the crooks and drunks killing each other. When everybody has a gun on his hip, they tend to avoid confrontation."
****

AMAZING!

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Old Fuff
June 25, 2005, 05:34 PM
NEWS FLASH!!!!!!!!!!!

Tombstone, Arizona was the same during the early 1880's.

In those days they tended to hang killers, without much fuss or fooling around ... :evil:

Monkeyleg
June 25, 2005, 06:06 PM
David Kopel goes into great detail about "The Wild West" in his book, "The Samurai, the Mountie, and the Cowboy."

Too bad liberals don't read stuff like this.

Sistema1927
June 25, 2005, 09:52 PM
I don't imagine they said the "F word" quite as much in the real Deadwood as they do on TV.

I saw one episode, and decided that the assault on my sensibilities wasn't something I could tolerate.

Jeff
June 26, 2005, 03:01 AM
I don't imagine they said the "F word" quite as much in the real Deadwood as they do on TV.

I've heard from more than one source that the salty vernacular of Deadwood is pretty accurate. There's no real reason to assume otherwise given the rare incidence of adequate education during that period.


"Pure bilge," Dr. Parker told me. "There wasn't an awful lot of violence in Deadwood except for the crooks and drunks killing each other."

And who the hell does he think is doing the killing in the TV show? Saints and schoolchildren? What an asinine statement. :rolleyes:

Deadwood might take an occasional liberty here and there; but what fictional play doesn't for the sake of maintaining its entertainment value?

The first two seasons of Deadwood might be as good or better than the first two seasons of The Sopranos, IMO.

And Al Swearengen is is one of the top 5 greatest TV characters ever.

Onmilo
June 26, 2005, 10:35 AM
Historical facts combined with supposition to create entertainment.

I don't have HBO so I rented the 1st year of the series on DVD.
John Milner and several of the cast offer opinion and fact as to how this series came to be in a series of interviews included on the DVDs.

Cussing was a part of language in the old west but Victorian upbringing would never allow a man to cuss openly in front of the fairer sex, unless of course she was a whore.

Deadwood was a wide open place during the era that the series portrays, it didn't stay that way forever.
Violence was part of that era, there was no law.
Several towns founded in unincorporated areas of the west faced the same lawlessness that is portrayed in Deadwood and, in fact, Milner draws on historical accounts of a number of wild west towns to portray events in the series.

In fact, if you actually watch the series you will notice that very little actual out and out, uncontrolled, gunplay takes place in the program

This is entertainment based on fact but not neccessarily facts directly associated with the town of Deadwood proper.

I enjoyed the series.

Werewolf
June 26, 2005, 12:10 PM
Heh...

I don't give a hoot whether the history is accurate or not. As far as I'm concerned Deadwood is the best show on TV today and when it's running is the only show that I stop what ever it is I'm doing to watch.

I'm really looking forward to the next season and watching Powers Booth die slowly as his insides rot out from that knife wound he took in the gut. Yeah - that's the ticket - DIE - slowly. Muhahahhah...

AND why is this thread in L&P? Shouldn't it be General?

2nd Amendment
June 26, 2005, 01:00 PM
I was with a bunch of other people who all saw it for the first time a few months ago. We universally rated it one of the worst shows we had seen in years. Bad, wooden acting, lousy dialog, excessive use of the F word and a 10 year old's fantasy of what the "Wild" West was like.

Pathetic show. Truly pathetic. I wouldn't mention this at all but there were probably ten of us at a party and the conclusion was unanimous. I've tied to watch it again since and only had this opinion reinforced. Blech. What IS it you see in that thing? And great actor? Someone was acting? :scrutiny:

Jeff
June 26, 2005, 10:38 PM
Bad, wooden acting, lousy dialog, excessive use of the F word and a 10 year old's fantasy of what the "Wild" West was like.

You must be watching a different show. :rolleyes: To say that Deadwood has bad, wooden acting is like saying Citizen Kane is a B movie: yes, there might be a few people out there that believe it, but the overwhelming majority know it for what it really is. Ian McShane's Swearengen is universally considered the finest, most realistic character in any current TV drama-- and better than just about any recent movie.

Brad Dourif's Doc is right up there with Swearengen. Dourif won an Oscar for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

The supporting cast is also excellent. (Although I will admit the Seth Bullock character is overrated.)

The writing is superb. The relationships and plot developments are nothing short of Shakespearean.

As far as a 10 yr old's fantasy of what the west was like, this is a strange comment considering the amount of research that went into the show's development. The show is highly regarded as being historically accurate.

2nd Amendment
June 27, 2005, 12:09 AM
Like I said, I'd have kept my opinion to myself if I had seen it alone or if I had been the only one present who thought it flat out sucked. Fact is we turned it on because of all the good PR we had heard. But too each their own...

Jeff
June 27, 2005, 12:31 AM
Another thing about Deadwood that blows me away: the dialogue is frequently difficult to follow. This may be due to much of the obsolete dialects and turns of phrase, but a good part of it, also, is that it is VERY intelligently understated and VERY subtle. You don't see that anywhere else, not in TV drama.

I frequently have to replay a scene to catch its full meaning or impact-- and I am no dummy.

It's not for everyone, that's for sure.

Vernal45
June 27, 2005, 12:34 AM
Although I will admit the Seth Bullock character is overrated.

You could not do a "Deadwood" style without Seth Bullock. Research Seth Bullock, interesting life.


Deadwood is one of the best shows on Cable. NOW, if Showtime would bring back "Dead Like Me", life would be good.

Z_Infidel
June 27, 2005, 10:10 AM
Jeff pretty much summed up my opinion of the show nicely. I can't wait until the next season gets underway. Some of the writing does demand your attention due to the subtleties and subplots. The show has also contained some of the most humorous scenes:

"Jane, how much they payin' you to hold up that building?"

Warren
June 27, 2005, 06:37 PM
I love the show.

I don't have the cable so I rented the DVDs. Outstanding and astounding.

Too much to list as to why I like it.

Anyone else notice Bullock's posture when he walks?

And trivialy:

Every time I see it or any western I think to myself how ieasy it would be to carry a gun like that. Wide belt, strong buckle that hangs at the proper angle for a draw.

JJpdxpinkpistols
June 30, 2005, 07:34 PM
Historical data supports that overuse of certain terms and course language.

If you read over some of the Lockley Files --interviews with Oregon Country settlers and miners that are housed in Eugene, Oregon, you will find a LOT of **** and *** and ********* littered through the manuscripts.

Sorry--let me clarify...Lockley didn't actually TYPE the words, but rather put stars in place of the words.

Since Oregon Country was a succeeding destination for a lot of the folks that started in the Dakotas and moved further west, I cannot doubt that the conversations were quite salty. However, it cannot be discounted that those folks were just overly expressively angry with the ever persistent rain in our beautiful state.

It can be distracting, but I didn't feel that it detracted from the show. If anything it was a breath of fresh air. I also have had to rewind the DVR to catch weird snippets that were exceptionally subtle, especially the interactions with children and women. It is the most verbally sophisticated show on television. The use of language is exceptionally complex.

Anyone else notice Bullock's posture when he walks?

Actually, I think that is a quirk of the actor playing Bullock -- Olliphant (sp?) and the boots he wears. If you can stand to watch The Girl Next Door, he walks the same way, kinda loping gait with a ramrod posture.

NOW, if Showtime would bring back "Dead Like Me", life would be good.

Seconds all around here. That was a fun show.

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