It is the ONLY plausible explanation for the completely bumbling, ridiculous failure it turns out to be, and here's why:
The first episode is masterful. It introduces the characters, and the overall plot almost perfectly. You're instantly drawn in with scenes such as Sam Waterston's Marshall character riding into a destroyed town, his face remains stone-like as he inspects all the examples of horror there, dead bodies burnt to a crisp, blood mayhem, what went on here? It's not until a posse member points out a child hanging from a pole that we see a reaction on his face, and this relays so much of character to us, he's a hard man, but even he is taken back from that. Subtle and intelligent, I was hooked. The dialogue so interesting and well-written as well, I was convinced this was going to be a great series. And for a while it WAS. That's the best part of the joke; I so wanted it to keep being great that I kept forgiving it and suspending my disbelief well past the point where I would normally do, until I finally got to the point where I just shook my head and thought 'WTF???'
I'd been got. I admit it. The cherry on top of this whole farce is that they actually FORESHADOWED the whole thing in the first episode: a train goes off the rails and becomes a smoking wreck. Just like this series in the final episode where the whole stupid shootout just rubs your face in it... ha ha! gotcha sucker! Then you reflect on alllllll the stuff you let slide before, all in a confident belief that it was all going to pull together at the end, and you realize not only how terrible this whole thing was, but how bad you've been played.
A list, in no particular order:
-Buffalo Soldiers, already warned that Griffin's bunch is on the way, fail to post sentries and are taken out easily. Who had the foresight and brains to inform them of this and ask for assistance?
-Whitey, the same guy who had the presence of mind to keep Goode's identity a secret, suddenly becomes a complete idiot and walks blindly into a fire zone and dies with a knife in his chest. After a lot of time was therefore wasted developing the whole story of him and...
-Louise Hobbs, the girl who didn't shed a tear after her entire family and everybody she ever knew was massacred, but does cry after Whitey dies, someone she never really got that close to. Know who else cried?
-Most everybody at Whitey's funeral. How many women died during a half-hour-long gunfight against 30 experienced murderous villains whom had just gotten the drop on and wiped out aforementioned Buffalo Soldiers? None apparently, since the funeral was for Whitey only. What???
- Griffin's gang, who had shown themselves to be more than cunning and dangerous, effecting well thought-out tactics in the past during robberies and such suddenly decide, after having a whole night to formulate a plan in advance, ah screw it, let's just ride into town like the with no recon like the biggest pile of morons on the planet. Best way to start a massive gunfight, right?
- Apparently, the best way for very experienced gunfighters to fight is to either sit on their horses or stand in the wide open street and just blast away at each other. Taking cover, at all, is for losers.
- Griffin's crew has been robbing everything in sight for over a decade at least, and not only do they not have any money, but not a single bounty hunter comes after them. Guess nobody bothered...
- Goode wakes up Granny butchering the elk she just shot. Obviously, he never saw her do it, yet is somehow able to tell Alice all about how she shot it later, after of course...
-They just so happen to arrive in time to stop Whitey from shooting at the black girl's dad. They had already finished hunting, so for what reason were they even there in the first place, let alone at the crucial moment?
-Speaking of showing at just the right time, where was Goode during the big final shootout? He was with Sheriff Magoo, traveling with him, yet showed up long after the Sheriff did. Guess he had drop a deuce or something...
- And what the hell was that flashback with the men going to the mine for the last time all about? You're telling me that every day, like clockwork, every woman in the town walked the men down to the mine, wearing their best clothes, so they could give them a nice big kiss before they go off to work?? Hell, even Whitey was in the group! WTF???
-Of course, much mention was made of the sole survivor, 'John Doe'. Who was he? Where does he live? Do you know? What's he looking for? My guess? Checkov's gun...
-They waste so much time on such pointless and irrelevant characters and backstories, yet when it comes to the actual relevant ones, like Alice's and Roy & Griffin's, it's hurried through and left lacking. What happened to Alice with the natives? How did Granny become so close? What was the 'final straw' that drove Roy away from Griffin? Who knows? Who cares? Let's have Sheriff Magoo talking with ghosts instead!
- And what was the entire point of having the mysticism aspect in the first place? They built up the whole 'I've seen my death and this ain't it' schtick during the whole series, so many times he enables its reality by escaping death so nonchalantly and confident, it almost DEMANDS there be some sort of telling resolution on the matter yet at the end they just whoop! Throw it out the window, and he dies otherwise, making the whole thing completely pointless.
And on and on and on... the more you reflect on the whole thing, after you realize you've been had, the more such holes and stupidities you realize. If you consider all the great acting, dialogue, imagery, individual scenes, cinematography...etc... involved, it's inconceivable to believe that this thing trainwrecked so badly through sheer ineptitude.
It has to be a joke.