After five seasons of building story-lines in its dramatization of the building of the first transcontinental railroad, AMC’s Hell on Wheels will have its final episode this Saturday, July 23rd. The Western railroad series, which debuted in 2011 and has been filmed in Alberta, Canada, has framed its stories around that construction project undertaken by the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads in the post-Civil War West. The completion of the world’s first transcontinental rail line, as the westward-Union Pacific met the eastward-Central Pacific in Utah on May 10th, 1869, is set to be celebrated in the show’s final installment. The name of the series is derived from the mobile tent town that followed the Union Pacific track workers, offering diversions of drink, gambling, and the paid company of women – that transportable town was aptly nicknamed “Hell on Wheels”.


Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon in Hell on Wheels AMC Image

A strong ensemble cast has been led by Anson Mount, who plays former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon, first drawn to the Union Pacific railroad on a revenge mission. Issues explored by the show have included race relations, Indigenous territorial rights, social class, and the ascendancy of women in the 19th century. Further, real historical figures, such as Thomas Durant (Colm Meaney), controversial financier for the Union Pacific, have also been incorporated into the story-lines.

The final season, which has been delivered over 2015 and 2016 in separate halves, has shared focus with the Central Pacific, highlighting the contributions of Asian-American workers. At the beginning of Season 5, Bohannon moves from working for the Union Pacific to its competitor, the Central Pacific. Two questions that linger for a number of characters in the final episode, with the transcontinental line now completed, are “Was it worth it?” and “Now what?” The following AMC-produced clip previews the series finale:

The series finale of Hell on Wheels will debut Saturday, July 23rd at 9E/8C. Further information about the show can be found at the official link AMC – Hell on Wheels.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)

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