Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Original Creator of "Deadwood"

February 28, 2019
   Recently, I started reading Pete Dexter's magnificent "Deadwood" and I must say—the book predates the TV series of the same name by a decade—it is without a doubt the source material for the HBO TV series.

   Here for your reading pleasure is a random sampling of just a few of Dexter's poignant and "dead on" Deadwood comments from the first fifty pages of the book:

"And Bill laid his eyes on him again, calm and cold, until he went away. That was the way Bill handled annoyances when he could. He never threatened a soul unless he meant it."

Daily Whip Out:
"Wild Bill Advances"

   "Whatever kind of blood disease Bill had, it had gotten worse since March."

Daily Whip Out:
"Wild Bill Going Blind"

   "It wasn't the newspaper that got Bill and [Charley] Utter out of Kansas, though. It was a petition. It was left with the clerk at the hotel where they stayed, three hundred and sixteen signatures asking Bill to leave, not a word of gratitude for what he'd done. He sat down in the lobby with the petition in his lap, running his fingers through his hair. He read every name—there were six sheets of them—and when he finished a sheet, he'd hand it to Charley and he'd read it too.
   "It was the worst back-shooting Charley had ever seen; they even let the women sign. Bill shrugged and smiled, but some of the names hurt him. He thought he had friends in Kansas, and looking at the names he saw they were all afraid of him."

Daily Whip Out:
"The Pistoleer"

   "Charley had been to Cheyenne in March, when Bill had married the famous circus performer Agnes Lake, and even getting married, Bill had been in a brighter mood than he was now."

"Wild Bill's Wedding"

    "There was a respect between Bill and Agnes that did not invite inspection of the parties."

"It was the history of things that Bill would wear out his welcome."

Daily Whip Out:
"Wild Bill Blank Shooter"

   "They came into Deadwood downhill, from the south. The gulch fell out of the mountains, long and narrow, following the Whitewood Creek, and where things widened enough for a town sign, that was Deadwood. It was noon, July 17. The place looked miles long and yards wide, half of it tents. . .the mud was a foot deep, and every kind of waste in creation was thrown into the street to mix with it."

Daily Whip Out:
"Wild Bill In Smoke"

   "Some of the buildings had been thrown together in a day, and the ceilings would shift in a wind or a fight."

Daily Whip Out:
"Wild Bill Lamp Damnation"

   "There was a way clothes hung when you left them on a year that looked like old people's skin."

Daily Whip Out:
"Wild Bill Mule Man"

    "There was no question God had given him uncommon gifts, and he went where they took him."

Daily Whip Out:
"Wild Bill Smirk"

   "Boone May slapped himself awake. He could have slept all morning, even with the snoring, but Jane Cannary had rolled in her sleep and come to rest with her mouth next to his ear. As she snored, she blew, and the breath in his ear felt like insects to Boone, who reached out in his sleep and slapped himself across the side of the head. the hand was cupped and caught his ear, and there was an empty, numb feeling inside there, along with a sort of ricochet noise that he associated with the sound of going deaf."

Daily Whip Out:
"Wild Bill Smirk Number II"

"'I heard that [Hickok] come to Deadwood to the same purposed he went to Abilene and Cheyenne,' Al Swearingen said."

Daily Whip Out:
"Wild Bill Takes Aim"

   "After that, everything [Wild Bill] did got immortalized. If he ate pork, he shot the pig at high noon in the street."
—Pete Dexter, in "Deadwood"

1 comment:

  1. I loved Pete Dexter's book and brought it with me to a book fair in Deadwood. Pete expressed a little annoyance that I didn't purchase a fresh one but I did assure him that I bought it in a store. The owner of the Franklin Hotel at the time, Bill Walsh told me that Pete was a regular in Durty Nelly's bar downstairs and that Pete wrote most of his novel "Deadwood" in it. I asked him about it and he said grinning..."Sound's about right." He also told me that the movie "Wild Bill" with Jeff Bridges purchased the rights for his book but only really used 2 scenes from it...and that the series "Deadwood" used a bunch of it and paid him squat. I remember him saying something about the Hollywood Universe somehow evening things out. My biggest disappointment with the HBO series was NO Boone May, who was the best character in the book.


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