Deadwood ushers in some new arrivals on the stagecoach: Jack Langrishe, a flamboyant stage promoter and old friend of Swearengen, and Aunt Lou Marchbanks, Hearst's longtime cook who settles in nicely as the Grand Central chef. Also returning to town is a newly westernized Wu, with news for 'Swegin' about a soon-to-arrive group of imported Hearst workers. Apparently recovered from her ailments, with the aid of a reliable pal, Alma decides to approach Hearst with a claim deal, despite Ellsworth's adamant objections. Bullock uncovers the truth about the Gem killings, and vows to put Hearst on notice. Hearst calls Tolliver's bluff, then offers him a 'fresh start.'
Amidst as much fanfare as Deadwood can muster, Alma opens Deadwood's first bank. Cochran ministers to Tolliver, but it's unclear now who's sicker. Hostetler and Fields return to Deadwood, looking to settle scores and move on. Captain Turner throws down a gauntlet to Dority, who hesitates to pick it up. Looking for credibility in his campaign for sheriff, Harry is persuaded by Nuttall to start a fire-wagon-rental business. Con Stapleton seeks out the company of Claudia, one of Langrishe's actresses, to scratch a very old itch. Hearst has a stand-up sit-down with Swearengen and Tolliver to explore long-term business allegiances. Following Utter's counsel, Stubbs counters Langrishe's offer to buy the Chez Ami. Looking to avoid all hell breaking loose, Bullock brokers a deal with Hostetler and Steve the Drunk for the livery. Swearengen chooses Adams to be his deputy in dealing with Hearst, to Dority's temporary dismay.
With Bullock campaigning away from camp, Alma finds herself targeted by Hearst's henchmen, and finds shelter with (of all people) Swearengen. Sent to the Gem with a missive from Hearst, Barrett is treated rudely by its proprietor, who turns to familiar methods to get the henchmen to reveal his boss' future plans. Langrishe recruits one new actress at the expense of another; an obsessed Stapleton finds Claudia a hard one to pin down; and Jane shares the particulars of her latest dream with Stubbs.
As Deadwood is overrun by Hearst's men, Bullock issues contingency plans to Martha. Wu, caught in a Pinkerton stampede, delivers a cryptic message to Swearengen; it takes Burns, of all people, to decipher it. Barrett makes Merrick pay for embarrassing Hearst in The Pioneer; Morgan Earp calls out one of the "Pistoleros"; Commissioner Jarry arrives from Yankton to solicit Hearst; Aunt Lou gets some bad news; and Joannie survives an encounter with her former boss. As night falls, Langrishe mines Deadwood's talent pool with an amateur-night performance in front of his future theater, financed in part by a loan from Alma's bank.
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