I’ve always had a thing for westerns. I think that, to an extent, I like them because I feel like I could hang in the Old West. I could get down with the laid back vibe and the way everyone walks kind of slow. I also think I look pretty good in a cowboy hat, and unless things change in my life, I don’t see a suitable scenario presenting itself where I could rock one of those on a regular basis. It really is a damn shame.
Of course, it seems that part of living in the Old West is being somewhat of a gunslinger and I’m hesitant to get too ahead of myself there. Truth be told, I don’t think I’d make it through my first duel if I were challenged on account of my piss poor reaction time. My best bet would be to steer clear of duels all together, but based on the number of westerns I’ve watched, that seems hard to do.
I feel like everyone finds themselves in an altercation at some point. Between the heat and the booze, it’s probably unavoidable.
But a kid can dream, right?
This leads me to Deadwood, which makes its return on Friday with the long-awaited movie that has been promised and teased since the show was abruptly canceled following its third season.
Deadwood did not provide a glamorous view of what life was like in the 1800s out west. There was a lot of mud, a lot of violence, more mud, and more violence.
When I think of a version of the Old West I could live in, I’m not sure the one depicted in Deadwood is it.
However, if I were living in Deadwood and needed some company, which character from the show would be the best one to do some drinking with?
Short of murder, whoring, and mining gold, it seems like the best way to spend one’s time.
Here’s a ranking of everyone who was still alive when the series ended.
17. A.W. Merrick
On one hand, homeboy would know all the latest gossip and I’m not above talking a little shit about folks while drinking. On the other hand, I don’t want to find myself getting a little loose with any secrets I may have locked away after a few drinks and then accidentally telling Merrick them. He’s one person you definitely don’t want to tell secrets too—the Varys of Deadwood, if you will.
If he’s not going to run and print them in the paper, he’s definitely going to tell someone in the camp. I can’t have that happen. I’m a very private person.
I do have tons of respect for him as a journalist, though.
16. E.B. Farnum
Nah, man. Eff E.B.
This fella talks too much and it would get old fast. Plus his assistant, the old weirdo that was always hanging around him, would be there and that guy creeps me out.
Talk about a rough package deal.
15. Mr. Wu
There would be a little bit of a language barrier between myself and Wu, and while I’ve never let that stop me before, I have had enough experience drinking with people who are speaking a different language than me to know that it can be problematic.
I’m also well aware that my jokes do not work well when there’s a language barrier, and if I can’t tell dumb jokes while drinking, what am I even doing there?
14. Martha Bullock
At first glance, you might assume the lovely Mrs. Bullock should be ranked lower because she never really brought anything of substance to the table.
However, have you ever gone out drinking with a teacher? If you have, then you know full well that once they have a few drinks in them and start telling teacher stories, things get hilarious. Teacher stories can involve anything from discovering a penis drawn on the wall to kids who spend a suspiciously long amount of time in the bathroom.
Teacher stories are great. Teacher stories told while drinking are fantastic.
Bring the teacher stories, Martha Bullock, and we’re good.
13. George Hearst
Well, I don’t trust this guy, that’s for damn sure. As a general rule, I try not to hang out with people I don’t trust. It’s bad business.
Yet at the same time, one of my best friends is someone I don’t really trust and that dude is a blast to hang out with. So it’s not really fair just to cross untrustworthy people off the list.
Pros for George Hearst: super rich and probably knows the owner of the bar.
Cons for George Hearst: he’s a big picture schemer and likely to talk you into doing something shady.
So you have to ask yourself: are you willing to trade free drinks for possibly be swindled?
12. Cy Tolliver
I don’t trust this fella that much either, but as previously mentioned, you can’t let that be the deciding factor. Sometimes you just have to hang with people you don’t entirely trust and be cool with keeping your guard up.
Tolliver is also a pretty gregarious dude, though, and under the right circumstances for a set period of time, would probably be good fun and a quality hang.
I can’t stress that enough though: UNDER THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES FOR A SET PERIOD OF TIME.
11. Doc Cochran
Drinking + teacher stories = gold
Drinking + doctor stories = something as good as gold if not slightly better
Think of the wild stories Cochran could tell you after a few drinks; tales from his days being the lone doctor in Deadwood and his time serving during the Civil War. Sure, I bet they could get pretty gnarly after a while, but until that happens let those doctor stories roll, Doc Cochran!
10. Calamity Jane
Another language barrier here.
Of course with this one—as opposed to the barrier that would be there with Wu—Calamity Jane speaks English; it’s just an English that is incredibly hard to understand, especially after she’s done some boozing. I don’t understand two-thirds of Deadwood anyway, but when it comes to drunk Calamity Jane, I don’t understand a damn word she says.
A funny thing about me is that I’ve been told that after I’ve had a few drinks, I’m also hard to understand, so game recognizes game, I guess.
I’m going to go drinking with Calamity Jane and neither of us will have any idea what the other person is saying after a while. It’ll be perfect.
Until she starts threatening to shoot people.
Then I’m out.
9. Seth Bullock
Without getting into sweeping generalizations about members of law enforcement, there are two different kinds of cops: the kind that are cool to hang out with in social situations and the kind that are not.
Seth Bullock, the lawman of Deadwood, would not be cool to hang out with in a social situation.
He’d be judgmental and quiet, most likely spending the evening ignoring you as he eyeballs up questionable characters across the bar from you.
I don’t need judgmental and quiet, thank you very much.
The eyeballing up questionable characters sounds fun, though.
Trixie’s not here for your shit and I am here for Trixie not being here for it either.
Trixie is a straight talker and by all accounts seems like a good hang. She seems like such a good hang that she’ll murder someone who did you wrong. That’s solid.
I would like to add that I don’t condone murder and if someone did me wrong, I’d be perfectly okay with something like a strongly worded letter or public shaming.
Murder might be a step too far.
7. Silas Adams
I suppose they’d refer to Silas as the silent type in the Old West. He didn’t say a whole lot and when he did, he didn’t use many words when getting his point across.
These days we’d peg Silas as a chill dude and I’m always down to hang out with a chill dude. Everyone likes a chill dude because a chill dude is one of the best versions of a dude there is.
6. Charlie Utter
If Silas is a chill dude, then Charlie Utter is a good dude. A good dude ranks just above a chill dude on the Official Rankings of Dudes. Hence why Charlie is ranked higher than Silas.
During the three seasons that Deadwood ran, Charlie Utter was a hell of a solid partner in crime, first with Wild Bill and then Bullock. Charlie isn’t interested in being the lead dog. He just wants to be with the rest of the pack. That’s something that I respect quite a bit. If everyone wants to be in charge, we end up ass up in a cactus patch. That’s why some people need to be followers.
Charlie is a great follower and I very much mean that as a compliment. He also continued to look after Jane, no matter how many times she berated him or abused him.
Charlie is a good dude and you never say no to having a drink or two with a good dude.
5. Alma Ellsworth
The laudanum addiction is a hiccup, I grant you that.
Provided she steer away from that and, in turn, remain upright and not passed out, I think it would be very pleasant to spend time with Alma. The gal had some moxie too by electing to stay out west and make a go of it after her husband died.
That’s layers right there.
You should always want to drink with someone who has layers to their personality because it will no doubt lead to interesting conversations and take the night in fascinating directions.
Again, though, she’s got to stay away from the laudanum.
4. Al Swearengen
You’d have to hold your own when it came time to do some drinking with Al. You cool with that?
I’m not talking about holding your own in terms of drinking (although Al can no doubt throw them back). The iron hand of Deadwood could take down nearly an entire bottle of whiskey in just one sitting. And he could hold a conversation—complete with veiled threats of violence—while doing so.
Al is a learned fellow, a global citizen who has seen shit, done shit, and lived shit. He knows all too well how the world works. If you’re going to spend a couple of hours with Al, you’d be wise to be one of two things: a capable conversationalist or a damn good listener. If you’re neither of those things then it doesn’t matter how skilled you are at drinking. I’d have to think Al wouldn’t waste his time with you.
I suspect that Al would respond well to someone who could keep him interested in a conversation, someone who could discuss a variety of topics in a casual manner.
Pull that off and you’re good.
Fail and you’re stuck drinking with E.B. effin’ Farnum and that’s God awful.
3. Joanie Stubbs
Like Trixie, Joanie was a lady who could handle her own business. Yet unlike Trixie, there was a slight tinge of vulnerability to her. She isn’t as rough around the edges as Trixie is, and as a result, might be a little easier to hang out with.
I’m not saying Joanie is soft; not by any stretch of the imagination. I want to make that clear.
What I am saying is that Joanie is rough and tumble but she isn’t that way all the time. She could turn it off and on. If she could press pause on her ferocity for a bit, I think she’d be pretty cool to hang out with over a few drinks.
2. Sol Star
Don’t be fooled by Sol’s passive demeanor. He could throw down when needed (albeit not so much in a physical way, which is great because I’m not much for throwing down in a physical way either).
I got in a fight once. It was in third grade. It went terribly.
Let’s leave physical confrontations out of this and have some drinks, Sol.
Sol is well-traveled and it definitely feels like he’s one of the more educated people in the camp. That right there is a good sign.
Other folks might lead you down a more destructive path or a more exciting one, but if you’re looking for a solid hang with a solid dude (a solid dude ranking between “a good dude” and “a chill dude,) then Sol is your man.
Don’t sleep on the quiet ones. They’re likely to be either the most dangerous or most fun.
I don’t think Sol would be dangerous, which means he’d be fun.
1. Dan Dority
Dan has a temper. There’s no denying that. He’s also a murderer. No denying that as well.
However, if you get past those two things, I don’t think Dan is that bad of a guy—especially as far as dedicated henchman go. He’s loyal and there’s no shame in that.
He has had some good guy moments during the show’s three-season run and you can’t ignore those moments (no matter how few and far between they might have been).
It’s those moments I like to think about when I think about doing some drinking with Dan. I also like to think about how if he were absent Al’s looming shadow, he might be prone to relax a little, kick back some and, when doing so, show himself to be a quality hang.
Dan would likely have some fun stories and anecdotes; wild tales from his days before he met Al when he was a self-described scum bag.
I once met a dude at a bar who had been struck by lightning not once, but twice. This guy told me that and I was hooked. I ended up hanging out with him for an hour or so as he told me more about his adventures as a fisherman. I imagine that’d be what it’d be like hanging out with Dan.
Provided I keep Dan level and calm and—most importantly—stay on his good side, Dan would be a hell of a guy to saddle up to a bar and throw back some drinks with.