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.
They head out to the cut crew where a team of men -- mostly black, mostly not very young -- are hacking into the hard, baked earth with pickaxes. "This is Mr. Bohannon, your walking boss," Johnson introduces. "You can address him as Boss or Boss Man or Walking Boss." Then, just to make sure everyone gets off on the right foot, Johnson explains to everyone that Cullen was a "master of slaves." Cullen looks uncomfortable again. "Some things don't never change," one of the crew says under his breath. He's Elam Ferguson, played by Common. Johnson leaves the scene and leaves Cullen to stew in the stink he just laid down.
Now we join a group of missionaries, singing by a nearby ravine. Behind them, the railroad construction goes on, explosions going off to clear expanses of land. The missionaries sing louder. A preacher leads a youngish Native man into the water. "Jesus Christ, accept this humble servant into your heart." He holds the man's nose as he dips him back into the water, baptizing him. While he's under water, he sees a large bird fly across the sky and out of sight. The preacher pulls him back up from the water. "Brother Joseph, your sins are washed away." Joseph looks pretty happy. Let's see how long that lasts.