Joanie Stubbs, Deadwood
Joanie Stubbs (Kim Dickens)
Joanie Stubbs was a former madam at Cy Tolliver’s Bella Union saloon. During the series, Joanie acted only as the hostess of the saloon and not as a prostitute herself. Although she was a lesbian, she had a long, complicated relationship with Cy and was one of the few people Cy cared for, though he became increasingly unpredictable and violent.
Often depressed and self-loathing, Joanie was apparently bought by Cy from her own father, who had abused and pimped her younger sisters as prostitutes. Joanie also revealed at one point that her father used her to coerce her sisters to sleep with him—to “see to his needs since mama was gone.” As a result, the emotionally scarred Joanie was weighed down by guilt.
Joanie’s sexuality was revealed early in season 1, first in episode 5 when she kissed a woman she was washing, and then in episode 7 with the arrival of a new prostitute Flora, with whom she flirted and spent the night (although nothing happened). For the rest of the season and for most of season 2, her sexuality did not come up.
Cy encouraged Joanie to form her own brothel and she left the Bella Union to open the Chez Amis, importing high-class and experienced prostitutes from the East. Unfortunately, the operation was funded by Francis Wolcott who was violent towards women, having killed prostitutes before and killing several of the women at the Chez Amis.
Joanie arranged for the surviving prostitutes to be taken to safety, but remained sitting alone in her shuttered place of business with her dreams of independence destroyed. Her spirits were restored by smashing a bourbon bottle on Wolcott’s head when he returned to the scene.
Joanie also found comfort in her burgeoning romantic attachment to gunslinger Canary Jane, a relationship that started at the end of Season 2 and developed further in Season 3. In episode 3×06, as Joanie tried to give a drunk and uncomfortable Jane a sponge bath, Jane told her she “never had a sister,” and Joanie replied with “I had two. And I slept with both of ’em.”
They kissed and began a relationship that was rarely explicitly shown on screen, as Joanie attempted to rebuild her life by making the Chez Amis into a school house.
They were still together by the Season 3 finale, and the show was canceled soon after.
- 34 episodes.
Female love interests:
- Jane Canary (Robin Weigert, lesbian, regular, 30 episodes)
- Flora Anderson 💀 (Kristen Bell, guest, 2 episodes)
Relationship story arc with a woman: No
Male love interests:
- Cy Tolliver (Powers Boothe, main cast, 39 episodes)
Relationship story arc with a man: Yes
Male love interest after being identified as a lesbian? Yes
Filter Relationship Arc:
Storyline during sweeps? No
 A relationship story arc is defined as explicit, developed on screen, and lasting more than 3 episodes. It is listed as questionable or subtext if romance is only implied, mentioned instead of shown on screen, part of a dream sequence, or otherwise not explicit for the viewer.
 Sweeps episodes air in February, May, July and November, the periods when advertising rates are set. A character is marked as "sweeps" when there is a very limited number of episodes that address their sexuality, all air during sweeps period, and the storyline is otherwise ignore/dropped.