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.

Hell on Wheels S4 Cast (Anson Mount – center) / AMC Image

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 WheelsEpisode 11 of the fourth season, entitled “Bleeding Kansas”, airs tonight at 9E/8C on AMC.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)


  1. Well now the question becomes what will happen to Ruth now that Sydney is dead? And I’m wondering if the final season will deal with the Union and Central Pacific railroads finally crossing paths and the Swede and Cullen confronting each other for the final time?

    1. Thanks for the visit & comment, James. I would agree that the show, drawing on the actual history of the Union Pacific (UP), will move toward closure with the meeting of the UP and Central Pacific.

      There was an interesting comment made by Durant to Bohannon in the episode in terms of who will be remembered for the accomplishment of the transcontinental railroad…with Durant declaring it will be public men like him and not a leader of the workers like Bohannon. That type of statement, I would argue, can be easily found in corporations and organizations today.


    1. Interesting take, James. From my perspective, Bohannon appears to be immersing himself into the railroad work as perhaps part of a redemptive journey (i.e. to make amends and/or make sense of the life lived before). Additionally, the character is an excellent leader of men and appears in his element when motivating others toward a goal.

  2. Poor Cullen. He’s now lost 3 important women in his life,his best friend and Ezra. You gotta wonder if he’s reached his breaking point with all of these deaths surrounding him.

    I sometimes wished the writers would have made some sort of attempt to put a romance between Ruth and Cullen. I didn’t care for Cullen marrying the Mormon girl. They should have ditched that storyline and had both Ruth and Cullen hook up. They missed the boat on that one oh well.

    I’m sadden though that Ruth is dead. She was starting to break out of her shell so to speak. Going from some background character to being someone important to HoW and to Cullen.

  3. Thanks for the visit and comment, James. In terms of the 412 episode, I thought the execution scene was well-directed (particularly when it gave Ruth’s point-of-view) and the creation of the 19th century steam shovel by the production team was also well done. It will be interesting to see the balance between the overall railroad project and Bohannon’s personal journey in the remaining episodes of the series.


  4. Well Cullen is now a part of the CPR and no longer a part of the UPR which caught me off guard. I understand though why he did it so he can find his Mormon family but now the question remains. What is he really going to do with the CPR? Is he just using them just so he can find his family or what?

    I also see a confrontation with him and the Swede as now both of them are a part of the CPR. How this confrontation will ensue is something we have to wait until the final season.

    1. Hi James….to respond to the second question first, I believe the show was inferring an Indigenous attack (perhaps in retaliation for encroachment on their territory) although I may have missed if that was clearly stated…that said, it could have been made to look that way by another group.

      In terms of Bohannon as now part of that the Central Pacific, I think that should be very interesting in terms of sharing the history of that railroad’s construction and the specific geographic challenges it faced. Additionally, the perspective of the Chinese workers can now be shared. Interestingly, in its first season, Hell on Wheels actually received criticism from a group for not showing Chinese workers…until it was pointed out to that group that Union Pacific had not hired them en masse (that was the Central Pacific).

      Thanks for the visit and comments,

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