With the August 10th premiere date of Season 3 of Hell on Wheels fast approaching, AMC has released a behind-the-scenes clip providing some insight into the new season for their acclaimed Western series. Set in the period after the US Civil War, the story-lines of Hell on Wheels are centered around the creation of the westward Union Pacific transcontinental railroad.

The lead character, Cullen Bohannon (played by Anson Mount), initially joined the railway project in Season 1 on a revenge mission. From embedding himself as foreman to seek vengeance against a Union gang that had murdered his family during the Civil War, the former Confederate soldier Bohannon has moved thru a dramatic character arc that now sees a leadership position on the railway offered to him at the start of Season 3.

AMC Image

Among the insights provided in the following AMC-produced clip is the acknowledgement within the story arc of the very real race that occurred between the Union Pacific and the eastward-building Central Pacific Railroad of California. The Central Pacific began construction in 1863 but would face an early test in crossing the mountains of the Sierra Nevada which would slow its progress. Delayed by resources tied up in the Civil War, the Union Pacific would start to lay its track by mid-1865. 

The greater the amount of track laid by either railroad, the greater amount of government subsidy and control of adjacent land to the tracks each would receive – it is estimated that between 1862 and 1872 that the US Congress gave railway companies ownership of over 100 million acres of public (traditionally Indigenous) land. The two lines would meet May 10th, 1869 at Promontory Summit, Utah. Season 3 of Hell on Wheels is set in 1867.

The third season of AMC’s Hell on Wheels debuts Saturday, August 10th at 9pm(EST)/8pm (CST) with a two-hour premiere. 

 (Copyright – Chad Beharriell)

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