They make their introductions. Mickey is one who was struggling to read and Sean is his marginally more educated traveling companion. The gunman is named Cullen Bohannon, which is just sort of terrible. It's like a bunch of people sat around aiming for a name that sounded "Westerny" and overshot. "Mickey has twelve toes," Sean says out of nowhere. "And Sean but eight," Mickey says. "Individually we're freaks," Sean goes on. "But together we're whole," Mickey finishes. Cullen stares at them and becomes the inventor of the "what the fuck?" face.
Some time later, the train pulls into Council Bluffs, Iowa, stopping when it runs out of track. The plains are green, the sky vast and blue. White tents cluster together like a flock of sheep. Men labor to add new lengths of track. "So Far From Your Weapon" by the Dead Weather begins to play. Nothing says "1865" like rock music from 2009. There's an explosion in the distance. Chunks of earth rain down from the sky, but Cullen just stands there unflinchingly because he's supposed to be that badass.
He makes his way to the hiring tent and introduces himself to Daniel Johnson. He's grizzled old man who looks like he hasn't had a friendly encounter with a washcloth in a long, long while. "Railroad experience?" he asks. "None," Cullen admits. He says he's willing to do just about anything, but they already have prostitutes for that. "I ain't got no place else to go, sir," he says. Johnson isn't sympathetic, but asks if he'll work the "cut crew." Cullen agrees without knowing a cut crew from the Cutting Crew. "You're a Johnny Reb, aren't you?" Johnson asks, sipping some whiskey and/or paint thinner. Johnson recognized him by the Griswold revolver he's carrying. Because it's impossible he could have bought it or stole it from someone else. Johnson holds up the stump where his right hand used to be and says, "It was a Griswold like that that took off my hand." Cullen draws his coat over Chekhov's gun. They have a chat using words like "copperhead" and "Greybacks" in an attempt to imbue the scene with an air of authenticity. Johnson doesn't have any hard feelings about Southerners. "It's the darkies I blame," he says. Cullen looks uncomfortable. His discomfort only grows when asked if he owned any slaves. When he says he did, Johnson hires him on the spot.