Ian McShane as Al Swearengen
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – There’s a lot of hustle and bustle on the set of “Deadwood,” which has been built here on the late Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch. Horses struggle to drag covered wagons through the river of mud that courses through the main street of the ramshackle mining settlement.
In front of the hardware and supply stores, extras dressed as dudes, miners and cowboys go about their business. The only unnatural elements are the cameras and lights manned by technicians in sneakers and baseball hats. It’s a strange amalgam of present and past.
“It’s amazing that a story of this size can be told in such detail and over such a large spate of time,” says actor Powers Boothe, who plays one of Deadwood’s main power brokers, the entrepreneur Cy Tolliver.
David Milch, the creative force behind the HBO series, which begins its second season tonight at 9, describes the South Dakota frontier town as a midway point for everything America was up to 1876-77 – and as a symbol for everything it continues to be.
“It’s the most obvious example of how things we’re all familiar with start – …