After a five-week break, AMC’s Hell on Wheels returns tonight (November 8) with the first of three consecutive episodes to close out its fourth season. Launched in 2011, the Western series dramatizes the westward construction of the transcontinental Union Pacific railroad in the post-Civil War years. An ensemble cast is led by Anson Mount, who plays former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon, a man absorbed by the railway quest after initially being drawn to the project on a revenge mission.
AMC has now announced that Hell on Wheels has been renewed for a fifth and final season. That last season will be expanded from 13 to 14 episodes (the first three seasons were 10 episodes each). In an interesting approach by the network, half of Season 5 is slated to air in the Summer of 2015 with the second half rolled-out in 2016.
The majority of Season 4 has been focused around the burgeoning town of Cheyenne (Wyoming Territory), which the Union Pacific historically first reached in November 1867. The race between the Union Pacific and eastward-building Central Pacific railway would conclude May 10th, 1869, in Utah. Both railroads raced to lay as much track as possible so as to receive government subsidy and land grants with each mile. “Hell on Wheels” refers to the mobile tent towns that followed the Union Pacific’s construction, seeking to siphon workers’ wages via the diversions of gambling, drinking, and the paid company of women.
Ultimately, just as the Union Pacific did, the show Hell on Wheels must move on westward from Cheyenne. That fact is alluded to in this promo video for the remainder of Season 4:
Further info, photos & promo videos can be found at the AMC site Hell on Wheels. Episode 11 of the fourth season, entitled “Bleeding Kansas”, airs tonight at 9E/8C on AMC.
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)