Bullock runs into Sol, who is making a deal on a corner lot with a big, mulleted guy named Dan. Bullock clearly feels it's a rip-off, but Sol knows best and cinches the deal at twenty dollars a day. That does seem a bit high. Dan tells them to settle up every morning with a Mr. Swearengen down at the Gem Saloon. Bullock asks where the Gem is located. "You'll find it," Dan says. "Everybody does."
We do find it, in the next scene. Behind the bar, none other than Mr. Al Swearengen is wheeling and dealing with a customer who has brought in a gold nugget. This is our first time seeing Al, and we can see right off that he is not one to be messed with. "Eight ounces of gold at ten dollars an ounce is a hundred and sixty, plus ten dollars for a half-ounce is makes a hundred seventy, total." The customer nods his approval at Al's assessment and delivers my second-favorite line of the episode: "Inform your dealers and whores of my credit, and pour me a goddamn drink."
Al says it's his pleasure and does just that as Dan comes in to deliver the cash he just collected off the hardware guys. Al raises an eyebrow, and goes to write it in his book while the customer, a man named Ellsworth, takes his first drink of the day. Well, the first drink of the day with his left hand. He asks Al, "Now, with that limey damn accent of yours, are these rumors true that you're descended from the British nobility?" And I don't get it, because though the great Ian McShane who plays Al to absolute perfection is, in fact, English, he has no such accent on this show. In any case, Al says he's "descended from all them cocksuckers." What I love about this scene are the small cuts to Dan, who is looking on and listening from the corner as this exchange is made. Dan is always watching.
Ellsworth raises his glass, saying, "Well, here's to you, Your Majesty," as he begins a small soliloquy: "I tell you what. I may have fucked my life up flatter'n hammered shit, but I stand here before you today beholden to no human cocksucker." I've watched it twenty times now, and it kills me every damn time.
Ellsworth goes on for a while about how good he's got it with his paying gold claim, and how none of the various "limp-dicked cocksuckers" like the Indians or the government should try and stop him. Al listens to this speech with an intensity that is scary. Al does everything at a scary level of intensity. Seriously, McShane plays him like the hardest, darkest, most multi-faceted diamond and no matter what he does, you have to love him, even when -- especially when -- he's doing something you hate.