New information has come down the wire related to the filming of Season Three of AMC’s acclaimed Western series Hell on Wheels. The show is centered around the construction of the transcontinental Union Pacific railroad in the post-Civil War era and explores such themes as American westward expansion, Indigenous territorial rights, race relations and social class. The lead character, southerner Cullen Bohannon (played by Anson Mount), was drawn to the 19th century project in Season One to search for a Union gang that had murdered his wife, son and hired help during the war. Season Three will be set in the year 1867.

News has emerged that a new female character will be added to the series – Jennifer Ferrin will play strong-willed journalist Louise Ellison, who travels to the Union Pacific “end of track” to cover the building of the railway. While female journalists were a minority in 19th-century North America, historical antecedents for the role exist in such women as Margaret Fuller and Nellie Bly.

Jennifer Ferrin

In other major news, AMC has revealed that the series will move to Saturday night for the coming season. Saturday nights have traditionally been a difficult night for a TV series but AMC has a different approach to the move – its Saturday schedule has been Westerns-focused and AMC believes that will serve as an extensive lead-in for Hell on Wheels. In addition to screening Western films, AMC has been screening classic Western TV series such as The Rifleman (1958-1963) to great success. AMC has also announced they have acquired the rights to Rawhide (1959-1966) – that series gave Clint Eastwood his start in Westerns.

Filming for Season Three of Hell on Wheels begins April 23rd in Alberta with a launch of the third season on Saturday, August 3rd. The following clip contains the Emmy-nominated theme, composed by Gustavo Santaolalla, for the show:

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)

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