Reconnoitering the Rim
Deadwood | Season 1 | Episode 3

Reconnoitering the Rim

TV-MA | 52 MIN

Directed by Davis Guggenheim
Written by Jody Worth

"You people must've trained with the heathens, come upon us unbeknownst."

The sudden opening of the Bella Union, a new saloon that manages to sneak into town, challenges Swearengen's grasp on the vice of Deadwood. The establishment is run by Cy Tolliver, assisted by his right-hand man Eddie Sawyer and his Madame, Joanie Stubbs. The Bella Union is a stark contrast to The Gem, with cleaner women and a higher level of sophistication. Swearengen tries to quietly intimidate Tolliver and his crew, but they don't seem impressed.

Wild Bill finally manages to win a hand of poker, taking a large pot from the lout McCall, and the game gets heated. Before the situation can escalate further, McCall is thrown out of the game, but not before spewing a stream of profanity.

Meanwhile, the Metz girl begins to run a fever, so Utter moves into Hickok's room, surrendering his quarters to Jane and the child. The arrangement rankles Farnum, but he doesn't have the constitution to stand up to Wild Bill. Jane continues to watch over the little girl as she recovers, but Utter has to leave for Cheyenne for business reasons.

Brom Garret tries to enlist Hickok in recovering the money that he was swindled out of on the gold claim. Wild Bill isn't interested in the proposal, so Garret decides to confront Swearengen himself. Swearengen starts paying attention when Garret threatens to bring the Pinkerton agency into the dispute. He then tells Garret that he should try prospecting one more time, upriver this time, and if that doesn't work out, he'll give Garret back his stake. As Garret leaves The Gem, Swearengen tells Dority to kill the city dude and to make it look like an accident.

Livid at the arrival of the interlopers of the Bella Union, Swearengen briefly considers the possibility that Bullock and Star acted as advance agents for Tolliver. This theory falls apart when Swearengen sees Farnum heading into the competing saloon, leading him to conclude that that the hotelier is his "Judas Goat." Later, Swearengen confronts Farnum, who cracks under pressure. Swearengen lets the traitor live, but it's made clear that Farnum's continued survival depends on working as an informant.

After much negotiation, Bullock and Star strike a deal for their store's lot--$1000, along with an agreement to no gambling, whoring or whiskey on the premises, and a right of first refusal for Swearengen. Construction on the hardware store begins immediately, with extra elbow grease provided by Utter and Hickok.

Up on the claim, Dority follows his orders and pitches Brom off of a cliff, not realizing that the deed was witnessed by the neighboring prospector Ellsworth. Hiking down the hill to make sure the dude is dead, Dority makes a startling discovery-a thick vein of gold lines the cliff not far from the body. Realizing he's in over his head, Dority passes the information along to Swearengen.