Hell on wheels Wiki
John Campbell.jpg
John Allen Campbell
Status: Alive
Occupation: Provisional Governor of Wyoming
Behind the scenes
Portrayed by: Jake Weber
Seasons: 4, 5
First episode: "The Elusive Eden"
Last episode: "Done"
Appearances: 15 episodes (see below)

John Allen Campbell is a former Brigadier General for the Union Army. He is appointed by Grant as the first governor of the Wyoming territory.


Background Information[]

Very little is known about John Campbell's past except that after the war he was made provisional Governor of Georgia and was stationed in Atlanta by General Grant. He was put in charge of Reconstruction and did so very radically. The major changes he instituted upset the majority of the white populace, leading to violence and rioting. Because of this Grant stripped him of his governorship and sent him West to Cheyenne.

Attributes and Personality[]

Campbell is a staunch believer in government control. He established the Freedman's Bureau, a government bureau dedicated to distributing land amongst freed slaves and ensuring they were treated right. When he first arrives in Cheyenne he immediately sets to work establishing a U.S. presence there. This includes building a State Capital as well as a Treasury and Jailhouse. He seizes the Casino in the name of Eminent Domain and begins to impose law strictly in the town, beginning by hanging a man accused of murder on his first day in the town.

Campbell despises the slave trade and slavery in general. Though he has shown himself to be a racist (referring to African Americans as a lesser people) he still acknowledges that they are human beings and cannot be sold as property. He is greatly offended when Elam Ferguson arrives in town looking to sell his "slaves" and is ready to shoot him.

Season 4[]

John Campbell is first seen in the car of President Ulysses S. Grant where he is informed that he'll be the Governor of the Wyoming territory and leaves for Cheyenne accompanied by his men. John Campbell deals with a lot of issues in Cheyenne, including the replacement of the Sheriff with Sidney Snow and Elam Ferguson's hostility upon women.

Season 5[]

John Campbell is also seen in the final season of Hell on Wheels, firstly when he arrives in Laramie, Wyoming to deal with the kidnapping of Thomas Durant whose kidnappers are later revealed to be Dandy Johnny Shea and Mickey McGinnes, who accepted Durant's offer to fake his own kidnapping. After noticing there's no progress in finding Thomas Durant, Campbell fulfills Maggie Palmer's wish and obtains the ransom of $250.000 which Durant's kidnappers wanted. In the final episodes of the series, John Campbell watches the railroad finally reach its completion and the last sight of him is when he takes part in the court of law in which Thomas Durant is the accused.

Behind the Scenes[]

John Campbell is loosely based on the first territorial governor of Wyoming, John Allen Campbell.


Season 4 appearances
"The Elusive Eden" "Escape from the Garden" "Chicken Hill" "Reckoning" "Life's a Mystery"
"Bear Man" "Elam Ferguson (Episode)" "Under Color of Law" "Two Trains" "Return to Hell"
"Bleeding Kansas" "Thirteen Steps" "Further West"
Season 5 appearances
"Chinatown" "Mei Mei" "White Justice" "Struck" "Elixir of Life"
"Hungry Ghosts" "False Prophets" "Two Soldiers" "Return to the Garden" "61 Degrees"
"Gambit" "Any Sum Within Reason" "Railroad Men" "Done"