Hell on Wheels
Pilot

Episode Report Card
Tippi Blevins: C | 2 USERS: A
YOU GRADE IT
I Choo-Choo-Choose Vengeance

"It's all horse crap," Doc later admits to the silver fellow. "Twaddle and shite, I say!" The other men have of course wandered off by now, allowing the two wheelers and dealers some alone time. Doc lays down a stack of shares in Credit Mobilier. It's his own company and he wants all the construction contracts for the Union Pacific railroad. The other fellow catches on quickly: "So you'll be paying yourself with government subsidies." His part in all this as a senator is to take the shares as a bribe and grease the wheels for Doc's enterprise. He tries to negotiate for a bigger bribe, thinking himself quite smooth, but Doc even more smoothly threatens to reroute the railroad around the Senator's land in Nebraska, thereby rendering it worthless. In the end, the Senator has to take fewer shares than he was initially offered.

A train with three cars heads west over open grassland. In one of the cars, two dozen or so men sit on wooden benches, looking grim as their buttocks slowly callus into rawhide. A young Irishman reads a newspaper aloud with considerable difficulty. It's an article about the church shooting. "He was gunned down... while he... prayed in the con...con..." "Conference," his equally Irish seatmate offers helpfully. "Confessional," corrects the passenger in the seat opposite theirs. It's our bearded gunman. "What is the world comin' to?" wonders the first Irishman. The second one makes a remark about the victim getting to Heaven that much faster for having confessed his sins. The gunman scoffs. The Irishmen scoff at his scoffing, but the gunman says the only "higher power" he believes in is the one he wears on his hip. He pulls back his jacket to show the lads his revolver. These guys are probably in their mid-twenties but they practically squeal with childlike glee. They ask with unconcealed anticipation if their fellow passenger is a gunslinger. Alas, he tells them he's just looking for work on the railroad. The Irishmen, too, are out to seek their fortunes in the West.

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.

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Hell on Wheels

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