AMC has announced a mid-season marathon of its acclaimed Western drama series Hell on Wheels. Beginning this Saturday, September 15th at 1pm (EST), AMC will run the first five episodes of the show’s second season back-to-back.
The end of the first season saw former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) effectively left an outlaw for his actions in that season’s final episode. At the start of the series, set at the conclusion of the US Civil War (1861-1865), Bohannon had traveled westward on a mission to avenge the murder of his wife and son during the war by a Union gang. That quest saw him join the construction of the Union Pacific transcontinental railroad as a way to find members of the gang. Hell on Wheels is the mobile town that follows the railway and its workers.
Foreground: Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount)
Background: Elam Ferguson (Common)
The series has a strong ensemble cast. In addition to Mount, Colm Meaney plays real-life railroad entrepreneur Thomas Durant, hip-hop artist and poet Common plays recently-freed slave Elam Ferguson and Dominique McElligott is Lily Bell, an Englishwoman who becomes widowed during the first season. McElligott is not new to the Western genre, having played the role of Etta Place in the recent revisit of the Butch Cassidy story, Blackthorn (2011).
Hell on Wheels explores a number of themes that include American expansionism, race relations between white workers and former African-American slaves hired by the railway, Indigenous territorial rights, the lingering resentments of the Civil War and notions of social class.
The mid-season marathon sets up viewers for a new episode (Episode 6) of the series on Sunday, September 16th at 9pm (EST). Prior to the start of Season Two of Hell on Wheels, AMC provided this clip of cast members discussing the current sophomore season:
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)