Deadwood and Forgiving

Deadwood was on several years ago and I didn’t watch, but we discovered Season 1 because we watch a lot of On Demand series and, well, I put the first epi on just to see Tim Olyphant. Yes, I’m that shallow. I became a huge Olyphant fan from watching Justified.

By the way, Justified isn’t family viewing, but Deadwood has it beat by a country mile on the curse per minutes ratio. If you don’t like profanity, stay far, far away. I don’t mind it and even so it is pretty over the top. It isn’t sprinkled with it, it’s SATURATED.

BUT I love it just the same. It has complex characters who aren’t completely good and aren’t completely bad either. It is very wild west, dirty, corrupt, resilient, generous…

Part of the reason why I am so taken with it is because I began watching with a built-in…well, knowledge doesn’t sound quite right but maybe “impression” fits because of a very different fictional accounting of the town – the novel FORGIVING by LaVyrle Spencer.

I can’t imagine LaVyrle would have soaked her prose in f-bombs, but there are things she had in common with the series.

1) Painting a picture of a rough, lawless town where the only women were the whores in the brothels.

2) One man who stands out as the good guy, yum yum! (And yes, I mean Tim as Seth Bullock)

3) A spunky, well-spoken, classy heroine. While Deadwood is populated with several characters and storylines, Alma Garrett (Molly Parker) truly stands out.

4) The addition of the story of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane. I love this part. Jane was such a rough character with such a big heart.

5) The addition of a small pox outbreak and pestilence tents

6) A good, upright man in love with a prostitute.

If you haven’t read Forgiving, see if you can find a copy. It’s a wonderful read. Especially a particular scene at midnight on Christmas Eve. Deadwood’s coarseness might not be for everyone, but Forgiving is a beautiful story that will still manage to give you the flavour of this gold rush town.


And if you can’t find Forgiving, my newest release, A Family For The Rugged Rancher, is out in the UK this month. You can find out more on my website: .

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19 thoughts on “Deadwood and Forgiving”

  1. Donna,

    I love Deadwood, the real town and the series! It’s one of my favorite places to visit. You’re right about the language, but it fits in the rugged wild West town (although they do get a bit carried away at times).

    Thanks for recommending Forgiving, I’ll try to track it down, as well as A Family for the Rugged Rancher.

  2. Hi Donna, I missed out on “Deadwood” but am curious. I’ll take a look if it shows up on another station or On Demand. “Forgiving” sounds good, too!

  3. I love anything by LaVyrle Spencer. Have you read Years? I laughed and cried reading that book. It was wonderful. I’ve never seen Deadwood, but would love to. I’m a fan of Timothy Olyphant and Justified also.


  4. Kirsten and Victoria – I’ve never been to the real town! Swearingen is aptly named, don’t you think? It’s not for everyone, but I like it just the same.

    Linda- you bet I have. I’ve read all of hers so many times they are falling apart. Teddy and Linnea are 2 of my fave characters. Have you read Then Came Heaven? I went through a whole box of Kleenex in the first 1/3 of that book. All time fave, but so sad and poignant.

  5. Donna, I loved LaVyrle’s FORGIVING! I still have it on my keeper shelf. I can’t bear to part with it. It was a very special story. Actually it was the first book I’d read of hers and it made me a fan. I’ve read a good many of her others. I didn’t watch Deadwood on HBO. Sorry. I couldn’t get past the bad language. I think a person can tell a good story without those words. Maybe it makes me a prude, but so be it. That’s the way it is.

  6. Linda, yeah, it’s definitely not for everyone, and there are definitely times it seems like overkill and it makes me uncomfortable.

    It is one of those things where the language treads – or goes over – the line of realism into sensationalism.

    I’d watch it for Alma and Seth alone, though. 🙂

  7. Hi Donna, I didn’t catch Deadwood first time around either…but recently watched a History Channel deal on DW and found out it was truly a foul-mouthed place. Oer the top for the time. But as for Timothy…oh, I adore Justified. I DRV’d the last episode and watched it four times before deleting. So now I gotta pick up DW somehow just for the view. Sigh.

    Thanks for the awesome post. oxox

  8. “It isn’t sprinkled with it, it’s SATURATED.”
    That is an understatement, Tanya. I watched a couple of episodes when it first came out and couldn’t get by the language, which is unusual for me. Later I rented season one, for research, and enjoyed it more. Timothy Olyphant was wonderful – just turn down the sound and enjoy. 😀

  9. I started watching Deadwood for the same reason (Tim O). My son and I crack up at some of the cursing, because it’s so over the top. I love Jane, though, and I grew to enjoy Swearingen (what an apt name!) I don’t see Seth Bullock as a hero. Maybe in the first season, but he wasn’t always heroic as the series progressed.

    Off to look for Forgiving!

  10. I watched one episode and couldn’t get past the language. Unfortunately that just stops me cold and I can’t move past it. I may have to try again.

    There isn’t a LaVyrle book that isn’t on my keeper shelf or that hasn’t been read and reread.

  11. MJ – I am not sure there is ANY character in that series that is black and white, good and evil, you know? Now I’m intrigued with what happens to Seth after Season 1…

    Cheryl – you’re not alone.

    BUt what is cool about Forgiving is that you see a picture of the same town from an entirely different perspective, you know? It may be gentler, but it’s no less honest. If you couldn’t take Deadwood but are interested in the town as a setting, truly give Forgiving a try. Sarah and Noah are wonderful characters. 🙂

  12. I didn’t watch Deadwood, but maybe I can find it somewhere to watch. I love LaVyrle Spencer stories. It has been a while since I read one of her books. I will see if I can’t find a copy of Forgiving so I can re-read it. Thanks for recommending A Family for the Rugged Rancher, I can’t wait to read this one.

  13. Donna, you’re right–the lines between good and bad are definitely blurred. Only Jim Beaver’s prospector and Seth’s partner are truly good. And maybe the doctor. Makes for an interesting show though.

  14. Donna,

    Swearingen is definitely aptly named. :o) You’d love Deadwood. It’s a bit more commercial today then when my dad took us when I was eight (almost thirty years ago, yuck). Back then it was pretty much the same as it was in the 1800s only paved roads. He got us there in time to see Bill Hickok murdered and the subsequent hanging of Jack McCall. My brother and I were sold on the town! :o)

  15. Have never watched either DEADWOOD or JUSTIFIED. I’m not sure we get the channel, but have been interested in trying JUSTIFIED.
    I have read many of LaVyrle Spencer’s books, but haven’t yet read FORGIVING. It sounds like an interesting book. I’ll have to dig through the older part of my TBR mountain to see if I have it. If not, I’ll check the libraries.
    We visited Deadwood a few years ago. Interesting town. The cemetery was the best part of the visit. We didn’t have time to explore much of the town. Unfortunately, it has pretty much been taken over by casinos.
    Have a good week.

  16. Becky, Melissa, Linda…LaVyrle is my favourite author ever. I love her contemporaries but her historicals are just perfection. The only time I skipped classes in Uni was when I got my hands on November of the Heart. I sat in the cafeteria with a bundle of tissues and finished it instead of going to lectures!

  17. MJ…Jim Beaver’s character cracks me up. And I like Bullock’s partner, but he’s a bit too good, you know? I kind of like the twisty dark side that comes out of the good guys now and again, and the good side that comes out of the people you least expect it to.

    Patricia and Kirsten – I haven’t traveled a lot in the US. I think I’d like the west though. We did some driving in Nevada and Arizona a few years ago, and I thought the desert and landscape was gorgeous. 🙂

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