Swearengen and Bullock have a violent confrontation; Bullock and Utter discover that mistaken identity led to a fatal shooting at Nuttall's.
Alma and Bullock face an abrupt decision about their future; Swearengen prepares for another showdown with Bullock; Calamity Jane returns to camp.
A scout for a powerful mining operation arrives; an ailing Swearengen refuses visitors and medical attention; Farnum finds someone to buy the Hickok letter.
Doc Cochran contemplates a procedure that could cure Swearengen; Bullock attempts to settle into domesticity; rumors about the camp's future begin to spread.
As a convalescing Swearengen bridles, Cochran schools Burns and Dority how best to assist his recovery. Alma is also feeling unwell, mornings. Unexpected profits at the Chez Ami lead Tolliver to an unexpected discovery about Wolcott. Merrick posts a provocative statement from Yankton on title to the claims; Bullock protects Commissioner Jarry from an angry mob, which redirects its ire. After returning a horse to Hostetler at the livery, professional go-between Samuel Fields finds a kindred spirit in Jane.
Alma proposes forming a bank, and looks to familiar faces to run it. To test himself, Swearengen grants audience to a long line of supplicants; talks with Farnum and Miss Isringhausen prove most illuminating. The arrival of low-priced Chinese whores begins the next phase in Tolliver and Wolcott's arrangement. Humiliated by Bullock, an angry claim owner looks to "square the scales." An enchanted Merrick tours a new schoolteacher about the camp. Wolcott's inner demons test his alliance with Tolliver, and prompt Stubbs and Utter to covert action.
Tolliver wrecked Merrick's newspaper office in retribution for not publishing the county commissioner's notice. Con Stapleton and Leon are having difficulty generating business for Tolliver's new Chinese whores. Utter learns that Wolcott is in possession of Hickok's last letter. Joanie returns to Tolliver to "turn tricks."
Wolcott offers on a rich claim operated by two ornery brothers, and reports to Hearst on their progress overall. Nuttall proudly unveils his new "Bone-Shaker" bicycle--but some doubt he can ride it. Swearengen and Bullock discuss alternatives to annexing the Hills to Dakota. Miss Isringhausen strikes a deal with Swearengen; Alma receives proposals from both Martha and Ellsworth. Merrick's new office mate is a Russian telegraph operator, and Stubbs has two unexpected visitors at the Chez Ami.
Eagar for the latest news from Yankton, Swearengen enlists Farnum to keep tabs on Blazanov and his telegrams, and admonishes Merrick for over-hyping the Montana rumors in his paper. Wolcott gets a new moniker; Jane and Joanie continue their unlikely alliance; Sweargengen strikes a departure deal with Miss Isringhausen; and Fields and Hostetler attempt to tame a wild horse for the cavalry with damaging results.
The camp waits vigil for Doc Cochran's prognosis of William Bullock. Martha regrets her move to Deadwood after her son is severely injured. Commisioner Jarry returns to Deadwood to discuss possible annexation with Swearengen, who then asks Sol Star to school Silas Adams on Montana policy. Trixie forces Alma to make a decision on Ellsworth's proposal.
Bullock's corroboration of the Montana offers complicates Commissioner Jarry's counter-efforts - and sends Blazanov's telegram lines to Yankton to overdrive. Swearengen uses a Deadwood tragedy to delay an altercation between Wu and Lee, while buying time to improve his own standing with the Hearst delegation.
Swearengen's shrewd manipulation of the rumor mill pays off in a Yankton counter-offer that requires only slight amending. Meanwhile, George Hearst's arrival in Deadwood has shaken up the camp's status quo from Wu to Farnum to Wolcott. Tolliver, for his part, seeks to avoid marginalization by offering the tycoon damning nuggets about his engineer's nasty habits.