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Synopsis

Directed by: Mark Tinker
Written by: David Milch and Ted Mann

As Swearengen surveys the deserted thoroughfare from the Gem balcony, Dority warns him things are headed toward a bloody outcome. "Absenting myself don't change your f**kin' instruction," Swearengen counters. Resigned, Dority heads back inside where three Cornishmen from Hearst's operation are heckled by a man making fun of their talk. When one of the Cornish reacts, the man shoots. Another man enters, gun pulled. Dority chases the armed men out and orders the two Cornishmen to leave their dead friend. Burns, who's been watching from above, checks with Al, also watching, on where to stow the body.

At home, Bullock nervously asks Martha if she'll review the campaign speech he's written. Deadwood's first elections are being held and tonight the candidates stumping for Mayor and Sheriff are to address the camp. Bullock accompanies Martha to the schoolhouse, now housed at the Chez Ami, and they run into Mr. Ellsworth, escorting Sofia to school before he completes his home decorating errands for his new bride Alma. Ellsworth comments on Bullock's pending meeting with Hearst, "If the chance comes up natural, stomp on the cocksucker's foot."

Joanie Stubbs heads out from Chez Ami and Jane, emerging from the alley and a night of drinking, observes to Mose: "Off to the Bella Union like the moth to the f**king flame." She harangues Mose for his uselessness as a watchguard at the Chez Ami and he, in turn, criticizes Jane's drinking habits.

As the Bullocks pass the Gem, Swearengen calls out from his balcony, asking for a word with the Sheriff. Bullock agrees to stop by. Charlie Otter walks awhile with Bullock to update him on the morning's activities - Cornishman killed at the Gem; as far as he can tell it wasn't Dority. Bullock says he'll look into it.

E.B. Farnum is prepping his own speech for Mayor, but not too worried about the competition: "Will they have the Jew-merchant instead? - let them then, and welcome."

When Joanie Stubbs arrives at the Bella Union to check up on Cy Tolliver and the whores, she isn't pleased with what she finds-run down, dirty whores and their unkempt rooms. Joanie yells at Tess for their habits, and threatens to toss out Lila if she doesn't clean up her act. "You know she's gonna let her stay," Tess mutters when she leaves. As Joanie tends to Tolliver, still recovering, she suggests he might have picked wrong choosing Tess over Lila to see to the whores. He defends his choices, since Lila's on the needle. "Tess ain't picking up the bit," Joanie warns.

Silas Adams busts in ranting to Sol Star and Trixie that he can't pay the note on his house. Sol assures him they'll work something out but Silas sees no hope. Trixie follows him out "Why not cork up and go onstage with that tragic f**kinā¬TM minstrel turn?" she demands. He tells her Al wants Star to take over his house. Trixie heads to Al's to find out why. Swearengen explains that with Sol a candidate for office, he has to worry about appearances. She's to install herself at Shaunessey's and sneak through a special-cut passage to the house. "F**k you Al, f**k Shaunessey's, and f**k the passage into Adams' house," she shouts. She returns to Sol and relays the plan in a full-throttle rage. Bemused, Sol tries to follow her rant, "You said you'd just gone to piss."

Shaunessey accuses Joanie of disarray in her room during her last stay. She insists she sat on the bed for three hours that last day. "Very very likely," he sputters. She pays for her room while he works himself into a twist. In her room, Joanie holds a gun to her head, contemplating. When she returns her key this time, Shaunessey demands to know the state of the room. "No disarray, but you nearly had brain on your walls."

Bullock comes to Al to ask about the morning's shooting. Al wants to spare him the details until after his meeting with Hearst, so Bullock can confine himself to the meetingā¬TMs purpose - what if it was Hearst behind the murder, sending a message to Swearengen that everything is in his- domain and testing "your willingness to bend to his f**king will before he backs your candidacy"? He urges Bullock to skirt the topic and to exercise some self-control.

Meanwhile, Ellsworth returns from his chores to find Alma unconscious and runs for the doctor.

Bullock ascends to his meeting with Hearst. Hearst enquires about Star being a candidate for Mayor and Bullock for Sheriff, noting that both are partners in a hardware concern as well as officers at the Deadwood Bank - capitalized by Alma Garrett Ellsworth. Bullock bristles at her name. Hearst says he's interested in her holdings and would like Bullock to tell her so. He brings up the shootout that morning, feeling Bullock out for how he'll handle it. When Bullock evades, Hearst clarifies "I'd want to back you. To thank you for taking her my message." Bullock says he hasn't agreed to anything and leaves, boiling. On his way out, Bullock lashes out at Farnum, assuming he has told Hearst of his affair with Alma. Swearengen interrupts the beating and carts Farnum off to be tended to.

Doc Cochran prepares laudanum for Alma's pain. She resists, not wanting to awaken those demons. "Leave the demons to God and the pain to me," he urges. She takes the drink. Doc tells Ellsworth that Alma must remain abed and take her medicine. Fearful of losing another wife and child, Ellsworth is nervous but agrees to do his best.

Bullock tells Al he wants to withdraw from the race or Hearst will use Alma against him. But Al urges him not to do anything - including more beating on Farnum - until he talks to Hearst. Al debates with Dority whether Hearst really knew about "Bullock putting it to the widow." Either way, Bullock certainly tipped him now.

Bullock confides to Utter that his temper got the better of him and contemplates withdrawing from the race. Utter draws from Bullock his agreement that his opponent Harry Manning is dimwitted, pushing him to realize the camp is better off with a sheriff with a temper.

With school out, Jane enters, hesitantly. Martha tells her the children are curious to know about scouting for Custer, "Shall we fashion a story about your experiences, Jane, for the children to hear?" But Jane demurs.

Trixie goes to Alma and pushes her to answer whether she truly wants to keep her baby. When Alma admits she does, Trixie, relieved, insists she must succumb to being waited on and to rest until the baby is born.

Frustrated with the politics, but determined to get a bead on Hearst, Swearengen interrogates Farnum about whether he told Hearst about Bullock and the widow. Farnum insists he didn't say anything and Al believes him.

Swearengen and Hearst meet. Al plays that he fears a plot against Hearst, based on the morning's shooting. Hearst counters he believes it's a plot against the Cornish, not against him. But Al insists he takes it as an affront that the shooting happened on his premises without his approval and cancels the speeches for the night, threatening to nix the elections as well "if the insult ain't cured by tomorrow." "Shall I perceive you then as dangerous to my interests?" asks Hearst. Al cannot argue with dangerous. Hearst orders the thugs back to the saloon.

Bullock, Star, and Utter are toiling over their speeches when Al arrives with a reprieve: the speeches are postponed. He asks to see the much-relieved Bullock and updates him on his meeting with Hearst.

Joanie finds Jane drunk at Chez Ami. When Jane pointedly asks Joanie whether she plans to return to the Bella Union - to live and work - Joanie evades, insisting the girls need looking out for. Jane asks to sleep inside for the night and Joanie wonders why she stopped. Jane shrugs, "Every day takes figurin' out all over again how to f**kin' live."

Al Swearengen at E B Farnums bedside

25: Tell Your God To Ready For Blood

Season 3

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Photos Trixie and Al Swearengen

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