It's the lawless Old West during the gold rush days, but Al Swearengen (Ian McShane, "Lovejoy") likes to run things his way. However, there's a new sheriff in town, Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant, "Justified"), and he has different ideas. The two butt heads, surrounded by crime, money, rivalries and muddy streets. As an HBO series, there's also plenty of sex, violence and an astonishing amount of profanity.
The power struggle between Swearengen and Bullock is fascinating, but the series has many unique characters worth watching. There's Cy Tolliver, a saloon owner and unsurpassed schemer. Joanie Stubbs is Cy's sometime love and full-time madam of his prostitutes. Mr. Wu, a Chinese businessman, helps Al with his problems, sometimes by feeding them to flesh-eating pigs. The foul-mouthed Calamity Jane swaggers into scenes, often following the unrequited love of her life, Wild Bill Hickok. Sol Star, Bullock's business partner, is arguably one of the few decent people in the town. Grizzled Civil War veteran Doc Cochran tries to keep everyone in town alive, but they don't call it "Deadwood" for nothing.