The story of the early days of Deadwood, South Dakota; woven around actual historic events with most of the main characters based on real people. Deadwood starts as a gold mining camp and gradually turns from a lawless wild-west community into an organized wild-west civilized town. The story focuses on the real-life characters Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen.
Elections are just days away, and Bullock lets his temper get away from him. Alma's pregnancy is not progressing as expected, and Swearengen baits Hearst.
Campaign speeches are rescheduled, Sol makes an investment, Alma's condition worsens, and Hearst starts a deadly game with Swearengen.
A dandy arrives by stage coach and immediately begins exploring how to bring culture to the camp, Alma and Hearst negotiate business, and Hearst's Aunt Lou comes to camp.
Alma presides over the bank's grand opening, the feud over the livery between Steve and Hostetler tests Bullock's patience, Swearengen taps Adams to negotiate with Hearst, and Joanie has reservations about Langrishe's offer to buy her place.
Tolliver looks for a representative, the Captain calls Dan out, Swearengen continues to be perplexed by Hearst's moves, and Alma and Ellsworth's relationship takes a turn.
Hearst's feathers are ruffled, Aunt Lou's son comes to town, and Bullock and Swearengen make a decision.
A meeting of the elders occurs with surprising results, Doc's absence is noted by Swearengen, Alma battles her addiction, and Sol offers Trixie something she never expected.
The letter is published, Wyatt Earp hits town, delays continue with the theater, and Hearst makes a move.
An Amateur Night is organized by the new theater troupe, Pinkertons hit town, the students move to their new school, and Hearst makes another move regarding the elections.
Swearengen is spurred to action when a prominent camp member is attacked, Langrishe makes arrangements for his theater, and Jane has an epiphany.
Another attack is made at Hearst's behest, Harry and Bullock travel to Sturgis for campaigning, and there's unrest in Langrishe's troupe.
Election day arrives, Hearst has his revenge, Sol and Trixie have it out, and Tolliver releases rage at his impotence.