There are so many television programs on so many different stations (never mind Netflix now jumping into the television program game) that some are bound to slip through the cracks as there are only so many hours in the day and so much that your PVR can record. Hell on Wheels is probably one of those that slipped went by unnoticed by many and thank God for DVD or blu-rays which you can purchase and watch these television programs at your own leisure.
The show is a period piece that brings us back to the late 1800s in the United States. It starts in the 1860s when the Union Pacific Railroad was setting about constructing a railroad westward called the Transcontinental Railroad. Former Confederate soldier and slaveholder Cullen Bohannan (played by Anson Mount) is seeking revenge and will go to lengths to satisfy this urge. His quest to get back at those he feels have wronged him brings him in contact with the Transcontinental Railroad and that is where our story begins.
For the most part the story is very interesting and well written but as you get deeper into it there tends to be more and more melodramatic moments. Though this probably has to do with the fact that the cast keeps getting bigger and bigger so the moments for the supporting characters are fewer and far between so there is a compulsion to make this moments count. Expect plenty of mind games, showdowns and real feelings in most seasons.
Despite the fact that we live in Canada most of us tend to know a lot about American history. Or think we do. The Wild West is an era that captures the attention of many. It is filled with plenty of violence and set the plate for America becoming a major player in the Industrial Revolution and a world power. It is not all cowboys and Indians. The makers of the series try to keep it as realistic and true to what actually happened as possible. The series has ended but not because it is being cancelled rather because the story is winding down.
Learn about the history of how the railroad was built in the United States. The final season starts off with a bang with the first three episodes going at a frenetic pace. The East and West coasts of the U.S. meet up with the construction of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads. We get close to the men and women who were part of the building of the all-important railroads that brought both coasts together.
Cullen (played by Anson Mount) finds himself in a new town – mountain town of Truckee, California. The town is the home of the Central Pacific Railroad. It is packed with Chinese who have been brought in to work on the railroad. They speak a different language, eat different food and are just generally of a different culture. It is Cullen who is going to lead the blast through the Sierra Nevada Mountains in an effort to finish the first transcontinental railroad.
It is up to the writers of the series to give the characters we have come to like over the first few seasons the ending they deserve. We have become invested in the wide variety of characters in the series not only because of the solid writing but the strong acting of the cast. Standing above everyone is Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannan. He is a man’s man who is a supreme fighter with a gun or without and with a vulnerable side as well. A Confederate soldier who joined the Union Pacific Railroad in order to track the men who killed his wife. The series revolves around this character – a likable but flawed hero.
Once you start watching this series, set in the Wild West, you’ll be hooked. Each episode will drag you deeper and deeper into its world. It keeps you hanging on because you want to know what will happen next but don’t try guessing as that will just be a waste of time. The look of it is great, right up there with the best on television.
- The Making of HELL ON WHEELS
- “Inside the Episode” Featurettes
- Character Featurettes
- Behind-the-Scenes Footage
- Set Tour with Anson Mount