In the Season Two finale, as Deadwood readies for a celebration, George Hearst's arrival in camp brings upheaval. Swearengen's manipulations extract a counter-offer from Yankton. Hearst comes to arrangements with Farnum and Swearengen. Tolliver seeks to improve his position with Hearst at Wolcott's expense. Tensions in Chinaman's Alley boil over.
Odell makes Hearst a proposition involving 'the color,' causing his mother to fret further for his safety. The camp elders hold another Gem meeting (sans Doc Cochran), complete with peaches and cinnamon, to map out a strategy to deal with Hearst. Their solution, proposed by Bullock via a letter to the family of a slain Cornishman, promises to make news in The Pioneer. Blazanov violates a communication credo for the supposed good of the camp. Langrishe's theater renovations are delayed by the illness of Chesterton, hovering near death in the Grand Central. Steve offers Fields a reason to stay in Deadwood, though the latter won't bite. Jane is convinced to bunk with Stubbs at Shaunessy's. Cloth swatches, given to Swearengen by a tailor, are put to a different use by an ailing Cochran.
The Pioneer edition featuring Bullock's letter is published, raising concerns about Hearst's response. Erstwhile lawman Wyatt Earp and his brother Morgan ride into town, having defended, ostensibly, an incoming stagecoach against sabotage that marks them heroes. Maintaining that they intend to work on a timber lease won in a card game, some question the brothers' actual motives. Langrishe grants Chesterton a curtain call, and offers to perform long-term therapy on Hearst's chronic aching back. Fields' departure is delayed by an injury at the livery to Steve the Drunk.
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.
Bullock holds an impromptu morning meeting to determine which emergencies warrant wiring him in Sturgis, where he and Harry are delivering campaign pitches. The first summons doesn't take long, as Hearst follows up Alma's close call with one that's decidedly more on-target. In the aftermath, Alma takes refuge at the Gem, again, while Trixie decides to take matters into her own hands. Langrishe has a falling out with Hearst, giving him little time to huddle with his new lineup of actors. Dismissing the likelihood of ever seeing 23 mercenaries promised by Hawkeye, Swearengen turns to Wu to deliver more reliable, if not quite weapons-tested, reinforcements from Custer City.
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