When the Bella Union arrived in Deadwood, it came with its own supply of high-caliber whores. These ladies have a savvy madame in Joanie Stubbs, a woman who knows her craft inside and out. Her business acumen isn't limited to just prostitution either, as she's able to assist Cy Tolliver with a variety of tasks around the Bella Union and serves as one of his confidantes.
But Joanie has become uncomfortable working for-and being the love object of-the mercurial and often-ruthless Cy Tolliver. When he forces her to execute a child thief, Joanie almost turns the gun on herself. "Kill me too, Cy, or let me go," she says. "If you don't kill me or let me go, I'm going to kill you." With Tolliver's grudging support and with some illicit financial help from the card dealer Eddie Sawyer, Joanie sets off to open her own whorehouse.