Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant enjoyed stellar roles between ‘Deadwood’ gigs

Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane in “Deadwood: The Movie.” Both actors went on to many roles after the original “Deadwood” series went off the air.

“Deadwood: The Movie” reunites many of the debauched, haunted and brutally eloquent Gold Rush pioneers lucky enough to have survived the original HBO series without having been shot, beaten or stabbed to death. Canceled after three seasons in 2006, the existential western earned 28 Emmy nominations, with eight wins. Alongside “The Sopranos,” “Deadwood” helped usher in premium cable’s Prestige TV on the strength of series creator David Milch’s outrageously inventive dialogue delivered by crackerjack actors who themselves would go on to populate high-end dramas for years to come.

Milch’s HBO film, which premiered last week, catches up 10 years later with the denizens of Deadwood, beginning with the mining camp’s ferociously eloquent kingpin Al Swearingen, portrayed by British actor Ian McShane. A revelation to most American TV viewers when he first appeared in “Deadwood,” McShane anchored an ensemble that included such veteran character actors as Gerald McRaney, Brian Cox, Keith Carradine and Powers Boothe. The series also served as a career-launching showcase for younger performers. Anna Gunn, for example, went on to costar in “Breaking Bad”; Kim Dickens became a regular on “House of Cards”; Sarah Paulson later won an Emmy for portraying Marcia Clark in “American Crime Story”; and Titus Welliver now stars in Amazon Prime detective series “Bosch.”

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Here’s a look at other key “Deadwood” players and the roles that followed.


Ian McShane

“Deadwood” character: Al Swearengen, proprietor of the Gem Saloon.

Defining traits: Ruthless, wily, well-spoken and fond of cursing.

Sample dialogue: “Should Mrs. Garret lose her claim, rather than operate it themselves, her [expletive] in-laws will sell to third-party [plural expletive] inimical to the whole of my interests in this camp.”


Life after “Deadwood”: McShane played Broken Ray in one episode of “Game of Thrones” and now portrays shape-shifting pagan deity Mr. Wednesday in “American Gods.” He also appears as criminal mastermind Winston in “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.”

Timothy Olyphant

“Deadwood” character: Sheriff Seth Bullock.

Defining traits: Hot-tempered moral arbiter of frontier justice.

Sample dialogue: “People angry at their difficulties often act like [expletive] idiots. But there will be no murdering people in this camp of any color or officials of any stripe.”

Life after “Deadwood”: In the Elmore Leonard-inspired “Justified,” Olyphant earned an Emmy nomination for his star turn as witty, sharp-shooting Kentucky marshal Raylan Givens.

Molly Parker

“Deadwood” character: The widow Alma Garret.


Defining traits: Prim demeanor, steely determination.

Sample dialogue: (To Swearengen): “As much as you can, please minimize your obscenities.”

Life after “Deadwood”: In her Emmy-nominated “House of Cards” performance, Parker played coolly ambitious Congresswoman Jacqueline Sharp, the deputy House minority whip.

Paula Malcomson

“Deadwood” character: Town prostitute Trixie.

Defining trait: Fierce.

Sample dialogue: “As you lay in your beddy-bye, I’ll pop from the wall like Grandma Groundhog in a storybook and attend to your johnson.”

Life after “Deadwood”: In “Ray Donovan,” the Northern Ireland-born actress played Abby Donovan, the profanity-spewing wife of a violent, unfaithful Hollywood fixer.


Robin Weigert

Deadwood” character: Gunslinger Calamity Jane.

Defining traits: Drunk, unkempt, profane.

Sample dialogue: “You and every human being on Earth past, present and future can drink mare’s [urine].”

Life after “Deadwood”: Emmy-nominated as Jane, Weigert portrays therapist Amanda Reisman in HBO’s hit “Big Little Lies.”

John Hawkes

“Deadwood” character: Hardware store owner Sol Star.

Defining trait: The only Jew in Deadwood.

Sample dialogue: “Even in an Eden like this, wrongs sometimes occur.”

Life after “Deadwood”: Oscar-nominated for his meth addict role in “Winter’s Bone” and Golden Globe-nominated as a sex therapy client in “The Sessions,” he also played the abusive ex-husband to Frances McDormand in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Hawkes lightened up as comically inept contractor Dustin Powers in “Eastbound & Down.”

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