Deadwood: Season 1, Episode 5

The Trial of Jack McCall (18 Apr. 2004)

TV Episode  |  TV-MA  |   |  Crime, Drama, History
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 607 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 3 critic

Swearengen transforms the Gem into a courtroom as Deadwood is forced to make its own laws to try a cowardly murderer. With Calamity Jane off on a bender, Trixie is enlisted by Swearengen to... See full summary »



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Title: The Trial of Jack McCall (18 Apr 2004)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:


Swearengen transforms the Gem into a courtroom as Deadwood is forced to make its own laws to try a cowardly murderer. With Calamity Jane off on a bender, Trixie is enlisted by Swearengen to help Alma with the orphaned child and to keep her pliable to his purposes. Fearing Andy's illness might threaten his business, Cy banishes him to the woods, where he is discovered by Jane. Written by WyattJones

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19th century | See All (1) »



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Release Date:

18 April 2004 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jack McCall was actually found not guilty of murder for shooting Hickok because the trial was hurried due to a rumor of an Indian attack. When South Dakota became a territory, McCall's first trial was thrown out because it had taken place in what was technically Indian territory. McCall was subsequently found guilty and hung for the murder. See more »


Hickok was killed the evening of the same day Bullock and Starr arrived in Deadwood. They may have met that day but were not friends, as depicted, See more »


Al Swearengen: [of a newly-acquitted murderer] That type guy hanging round gets people agitated. Forces them to take a position, one side or the other. And agitation brings a slight bump up in whiskey sales, but sale of cunt plummets.
See more »


How Firm a Foundation
Written by John Rippon
Performed by Nycypcd
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User Reviews

Law comes to the corrupt camp as the Gem is transformed into a courtroom
25 August 2012 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

This is a brilliant episode as the possibility of democracy and law coming to Deadwood is played with as Swearengen's Gem is transformed into a courtroom as the people of Deadwood are forced to make some kind of laws after the coward Jack McCaul shot Wild Bill Hickcock in the back of the neck and killed him in the episode "Here was a Man". The jurors are selected from a hat and when recess is called, they get 'some pussy' up in the whores rooms with no apparent discussion taken place. Give it time, I suppose. McCaul is nearly strangled to death by Seth 'Montana' Bullock before the trial, and his lawyer instructs him to tell the court that Wild Bill murdered his brother a few years back so his shooting of Wild Bill is somewhat justified. The court believes him, and he is set free. When he is celebrating later on, Swearengen instructs him to leave town before someone decides to kill him. Swearengen informs one of his men later that he only did it because the likes of him hanging around makes people question right and wrong, therefore they stop drinking and the sale of c**t plummets. A true business man, that Al Swearengen. Seth rides out after McCaul as the episode ends, promising a superb revenge saga in the works for the next episode. This is one of the best episodes I've seen so far. The funeral of Wild Bill was very well done and very true to what a funeral in the wild west would have been like. Nothing glamorous at all about it. A depressed and drunken Calamity Jane finds the Bella Union man with the syphilis in the woods and takes care of him, paving the road for a possible outbreak in the camp if she takes him back in. Meanwhile, Swearengen instructs the whore Trixie to befriend the widow Garret and to get her hooked on something stronger than the morphine she takes as he attempts to get rid of her. Brilliant episode. Swearengen's speech on how the flag will eventually be raised on Deadwood and law will arrive was very moving and added another dimension to his sadistic character. "Maybe I should take down that picture of Abe Lincoln," he says at the end of the episode.

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