Hell on Wheels
Pilot

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

Night falls on a bustling Hell on Wheels. Salesmen peddle their wares and prostitutes wiggle their pairs. One of the larger tents serves as a saloon. Here Cullen has a poker game going on with Johnson and two other fellows. One of the unnamed men asks Cullen about his slaves. He owned five on his small tobacco farm, he says. They ask him if he "sampled the goods" from his female slaves (no) and if he was bitter about giving up his slaves (also no). He tells them he freed his slaves a year before the war. Johnson looks at him like he just sprouted a second head. "I married a Northerner," Cullen explains. "She convinced me of the evils of slavery." Everyone drinks and smokes and drinks some more. It's very, very slow and boring and talky. Johnson asks why Cullen would still fight in the war. His answer: "Honor." Johnson asks about Cullen's wife and he drawls out "she's dead" and gives Johnson a steely look. "Did the war take her?" Johnson asks. "Somethin' like that," Cullen answers. With that, the scene is blessedly over.

Nebraska Territory. Lily and Robert are quietly making love in their tent. At least that's what I think they're doing. It's dark and they both look fully clothed. She's lying flat on top of him like she's posing for a planking shot. She moans softly and then it seems to be over. Robert coughs. "I fear this cough will be the death of me," he says. Obviously he hasn't read ahead in the script. Lily doesn't like him talking like that. She starts singing him a wordless little melody.

The next morning, a group of Cheyenne warriors advance on the survey team's camp. One of the team goes to take a leak outside his tent when there's a faint whoosh and then a dull thud behind him. A spot of blood appears on the front of the man's shirt. He looks confused as he grabs his belly. An arrow has passed clean through him and stuck in a wooden cart behind him. His wound begins to pour. A second arrow pierces his neck and he falls to the ground. The camp is plunged into battle. Robert, seeing the fighting outside his tent, quickly gathers up the survey maps. He and Lily run into the woods as the rest of the team are shot and scalped. Robert wheezes and struggles to keep up with his wife. A Cheyenne follows them. Robert falls, coughing. Lily tries to quiet him, but it's no use. The Cheyenne finds them and clubs Robert over the head. Lily braces herself against a tree, holding up her hand as the Cheyenne readies his bow. The arrow goes through her palm and shoulder, pinning her to the tree behind her.

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Hell on Wheels

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