AMC has confirmed that its popular post-Civil War Western series Hell on Wheels will receive a Season 4. In addition to the renewal, AMC announced that the fourth season will expand to 13 episodes from the previous 10 for each of the first three seasons.
Hell on Wheels is based upon the mobile town that historically followed the construction of the Union Pacific transcontinental railway. Following the conclusion of the US Civil War, the Union Pacific built westward from Iowa to its eventual meeting in Utah with the eastward-building Central Pacific in May of 1869. The historical “Hell on Wheels” sought to profit from the workers’ wages with diversions of drinking, dance halls offering female companionship, and gambling.
The show features a strong ensemble cast led by Anson Mount; Mount plays Cullen Bohannon, a former Confederate soldier initially drawn to the Union Pacific railway on a mission to avenge the murder of his family during the Civil War. Hip hop artist, writer and actor Common plays Elam Ferguson, a former slave who has advanced professionally from his position of railway laborer in Season 1. Colm Meaney brings to life one of the real-life historical figures in the series, that of Union Pacific financier Thomas Durant.
Common as Elam Ferguson (l) & Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon (r)
The series has explored a number of issues in dramatized form; those issues include Indigenous territorial rights, the “rightness” of American nation-state expansion (often accompanied by a Christian missionary impulse), race relations, the growth of industrial technology, and social class. AMC has produced a number of detailed promo-videos for the series – which is shot in Alberta – that demonstrate the high level of research and hard work that is required to create the show. The following clip looks at the building of sets, cinematography and costumes for Season 3 (set in 1867), a point in which Bohannon has assumed a leadership position with railway:
Hell on Wheels was moved to Saturday nights for its third season to cap off AMC’s traditional Saturday Western programming. Westernsreboot.com has posted a number of articles about the show on this site – to view these articles see the related links below, visit the above category of TV and/or search by the show’s title in the right-hand search engine.
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)