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"Big Bad Wolf"

Season Number: 3
Episode Number: 1
Airdate: August 10, 2013
Director: David Von Ancken
Writer: Mark Richard
Episode order
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"Blood Moon Rising"
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"Eminent Domain"

"Big Bad Wolf" is the first episode of the third season of the AMC series Hell on Wheels.


Cullen Bohannon attempts to obtain engineer control of the Union Pacific Railroad, while an imprisoned Thomas Durant wishes to prevent that. Elam Ferguson and Eva welcome their new baby.


Alone in his snow-covered burned-out caboose, Cullen Bohannon hallucinates seeing Doc Whitehead, who tells him that his candle will soon go out. Cullen runs outside to a riverbank, splashes water on his face, and hears a wolf howl. Cullen fends off its attack and scares it off. Cullen finds the train engineer frozen to death and takes his tobacco pipe. He then walks to the train engine, breaks ice away, and starts a fire in its firebox. With the engine cranked up, he drives it away from the destroyed town.

He arrives in Omaha, Nebraska and describes Elam Ferguson and Eva to asks their location. He finds a shotgun in his face when he knocks on Elam's door. A very-pregnant Eva lies on a bed behind Elam. Cullen orders him to accompany him to New York or lose his place on the railroad. Eva insists Elam go as they need the work. In New York City, Clement Beale, Secretary of Crédit Mobilier, greets Cullen and Elam with news that the Chief Engineer position has already been filled. Cullen has Clement take him to see Thomas Durant in Hudson Prison, where Cullen asks Durant to vouch for him to Crédit Mobilier. Durant refuses. They won't listen to him and, besides, Cullen is not a Yankee.

Cullen buys new suits for himself and Elam. The Irish shop owner tells Cullen where to find railroad workers. At the Credit Mobilier office, Congressman Ames tells Cullen the job belongs to Senator Metcalf's son-in-law is in charge. A determined Cullen presents the board with detailed plans and designs. He is awarded the job with Union Pacific stock as payment. He and Elam talk with Three Piece Duffy about hiring railroad workers. Cullen refuses Duffy's wanting gold upfront. A gang circles and Elam reaches for Cullen's gun. Cullen must get the two out of the situation.

In their hotel room, Cullen reprimands Elam for grabbing his gun and mocks Elam for thinking he's truly free. They fight but are interrupted by a telegram about Eva having the baby. Cullen later enters a church. Alone, he repents for the things he's done and those he's left undone. In his cell, Durant criticizes Senator Metcalf for failure to oust Bohannon. He warns the senator that his fall will be greater if Durant is not returned to the railroad.

Beale shows Cullen to Durant's former railroad car. Collis Huntington, head of Central Pacific Railroad, awaits Cullen and tells him the Union Pacific is broke. He offers Cullen an opportunity to cross the California border, promising gold as payment, but Cullen declines. At home, Elam greets his newborn daughter. At the Omaha train station, Sean McGinnes tells Cullen that the many workers arrived after hearing Cullen was back. Ruth Cole prays in front of the train as Elam and Eva pack their belongings. Mickey McGinnes talks to a group of prostitutes. Durant leaves the prison in a carriage with Metcalf. Cullen tosses his hat in the air as the train takes off.




  1. Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon
  2. Colm Meaney as Thomas Durant
  3. Common as Elam Ferguson
  4. Jennifer Ferrin as Louise Ellison
  5. Robin McLeavy as Eva
  6. Phil Burke as Mickey McGinnes
  7. Ben Esler as Sean McGinnes
  8. Kasha Kropinski as Ruth
  9. Dohn Norwood as Psalms

Guest starring


External links[]

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