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"Pride, Pomp and Circumstance"

Season Number: 1
Episode Number: 6
Airdate: December 11, 2011
Director: Michael Slovis
Writer: Bruce Marshall Romans
Producer: Tony Gayton
Joe Gayton
Jeremy Gold
John Shiban
David Von Ancken
Episode order
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"Bread and Circuses"
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"Pride, Pomp and Circumstance" is the sixth episode of the first season of the AMC series Hell on Wheels.


Senator Jordan Crane arrives in town for an arranged peace talk with the Cheyenne, and to discuss the Union Pacific Railroad's future with Thomas Durant. Cullen Bohannon is put in charge of security while the natives are in town. He prevents Lily Bell from causing a scene, after she spots a female native wearing Lily's dead husband's hat.


Thomas Durant prepares the town's makeshift depot for Senator Jordan Crane's arrival via train. Crane arrives and announces to all that he has come to discuss peace with the Cheyenne people. However, he threatens battle if the natives decline. Over a meal served outside under a tent, Crane, Thomas Durant and Lily Bell discuss the issues with payroll and the Union Pacific Railroad's finances. Durant tells the Senator things are fine. Lily comments about her husband Robert Bell's missing survey maps and the path to the Rocky Mountains. Crane lets Durant know that the rival Central Pacific Railroad has already laid its 40 miles of track, pushing east from California.

Cullen Bohannon is put in charge of security for the peace talks while the Cheyenne are here. He asks Elam Ferguson to keep his crew civil during their visit. Elam speaks of their recent fisticuffs and Cullen accuses him of cheating. Elam seems shocked at the mention of his peppered hand wraps and denies cheating.

Out of view from Durant's coach, Thor Gundersen informs Crane that Durant used $147,000 of Union Pacific cash to speculate on railroad stock. Crane wonders about Gundersen's interest in the matter. Gundersen then requests information about Frank Harper, who is Cullen's current objective in revenge for his wife's death.

Chief Many Horses and his tribe arrive at Hell on Wheels. At the negotiations, the chief scoffs at Durant's opinion that Crane is offering the Cheyenne a better way of life. After debating who really owns the land they're discussing, the Cheyenne or the U.S. government, Durant storms off. The chief has rejected the discussion of his people living on a reservation. Crane warns Chief Many Horses that his people will be killed if he doesn't accept the U.S. government's deal. The chief threatens slaughter for Crane's people in return.

After Durant returns to the table, Chief Many Horses describes Pawnee Killer's "vision" of defeating the train. On a whim, Durant offers the chief's son a chance to make his vision a reality. As Cheyenne and townsfolk watch, Pawnee Killer races on horseback against a locomotive, taking the early lead as the train crew stokes the fire to increase speed. The locomotive eventually bests Pawnee Killer. Durant boasts over his victory later to Crane, who congratulates him but again vows to ruin him over the embezzlement. To prove he's not bluffing, Crane reports that he's sold his landholdings and Crédit Mobilier stock. Durant no longer has a figurative hold on Crane.

At the church tent, Ruth and Joseph Black Moon attempt to explain Christian theology to the Cheyenne. Outside, Cullen stands guard. Lily approaches him to inform that she is taking his advice and leaving town. She notices a Cheyenne woman wearing her dead husband's hat. Lily tries to snatch it from the Squaw, but Cullen wrestles her away. She accuses Joseph of lying to her that it wasn't his tribe that attacked her camp. She intends to tell Durant that Robert's killers are in town. Cullen warns her that the price of her revenge will be the death of innocent women and children. The Squaw with Robert's hat later offers it to Lily, stating her husband was killed in the massacre as well, with his own arrow. Lily awkwardly realizes that she killed the Squaw's husband. After placing the hat on her husband's grave marker, Lily digs up the missing maps from his grave and gives them to Durant, urging him to complete the railroad.

Chief Many Horses leaves town, warning Joseph about the people with whom he now resides. Meanwhile, at the saloon, Gregory Toole and his gang attempt to incite the townsfolk against the natives. Although outnumbered, Cullen moves to stop him. Gundersen also intervenes, reminding everyone that Durant does not want the natives harmed. Gundersen suggests the men "find some amusement here in town." Toole heads with his men to the cathouse, demanding to see Eva but is told that she's not around. Eva and Elam are dressing in his tent, when Toole and his men storm in to beat Elam and drag him away.




  1. Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon
  2. Colm Meaney as Thomas Durant
  3. Common as Elam Ferguson
  4. Dominique McElligott as Lily Bell
  5. Tom Noonan as Reverend Nathaniel Cole
  6. Eddie Spears as Joseph Black Moon
  7. Ben Esler as Sean McGinnes
  8. Phil Burke as Mickey McGinnes

Guest starring

  1. Duncan Ollerenshaw as Gregory Toole
  2. Gerald Auger as Pawnee Killer
  3. Christopher Heyerdahl as Thor Gundersen
  4. Sharon Taylor as a Squaw
  5. James D. Hopkin as Senator Jordan Crane
  6. Dohn Norwood as Psalms
  7. Kasha Kropinski as Ruth
  8. Robin McLeavy as Eva
  9. Diego Diablo Del Mar as Dix
  10. Wes Studi as Chief Many Horses

Also Staring

  1. April Telek as Nell
  2. Justin Michael Carriere as Sentry
  3. Robert Hay as Irishman
  4. Michael Peters as Fiddle Player


Opening credits

  1. Joe Gayton &
  2. Tony Gayton - Creators
  3. Gustavo Santaolalla - Theme
  4. Kevin Kiner - Score
  5. Bridget Durnford - Editor
  6. John Blackie - Production Designer
  7. Marvin V. Rush - Director of Photography
  8. Mark Richard - Consulting Producer
  9. Paul Kurta - Co-Executive Producer
  10. David Von Ancken - Executive Producer
  11. Jeremy Gold - Executive Producer
  12. John Shiban - Executive Producer
  13. Tony Gayton - Executive Producer
  14. Joe Gayton - Executive Producer
  15. Chad Oakes - Episodic Producer
  16. Michael Frislev - Episodic Producer
  17. Bruce Marshall Romans - Writer
  18. Michael Slovis - Director

Closing credits

  1. Scott Schofield - Associate Producer
  2. Jami O'Brien - Executive Story Editor
  3. Bruce Marshall Romans - Staff Writer
  4. Linda Rogers Ambury - Unit Production Manager
  5. Philip Chipera - First Assistant Director (AD)
  6. Lorie Gibson - Second AD
  7. Cathy Sandrich Gelfond &
  8. Amanda Mackey - Casting
  9. Cami Patton - Additional US Casting
  10. Jennifer Lare - Additional US Casting
  11. Jackie Lind, CSA - Canadian Casting
  12. Alyson Lockwood - Extras Casting


  • The episode title is a quote from Act III, Scene III of William Shakespeare's play Othello, wherein the title character bids farewell not only to being happily married, but also to his career as a military general, after receiving news his wife has been unfaithful. He feels he can no longer experience "pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war."

Featured Music[]

  • "Death to Everyone" by Bonnie 'Prince" Billy (cover by Deer Tick).


Critical reception[]

The episode received mixed reviews from critics. Adam Raymond of New York Magazine conveyed his happiness about seeing trains in the episode: "Before last night's episode, I was ready to rename it Hell on Hooves because, you know, there are more horses than trains. But then 'Pride, Pomp and Circumstance' arrived bellowing enough black smoke to warrant a visit from the EPA."[1] TV Fanatic's Sean McKenna gave the episode almost 4 out of 5 stars: "'Pride, Pomp and Circumstance' continued to move the show forward in its efforts to draw the characters closer towards a larger conflict ... Here's to hoping that the second half of the season begins to take all of those interesting story lines and make something of them."[2] Phil Nugent of The A.V. Club would prefer the series to center more on Cullen. "The problem with giving the hero of a TV series a vengeance quest for his principal motivation is that, once it's fulfilled, you have to figure out what he's going to do next or the series has to end ... If the show becomes swamped by matters in which the man-of-action hero has no stake, then why should we care?"[3]


The sixth episode was watched by 2.15 million viewers, and had a 0.6 rating with the 18-49 age range — the lowest viewership of the season, so far.[4]


  1. Raymond, Adam K. (December 12, 2011). Hell on Wheels Recap: We Have Trains. New York Magazine.
  2. McKenna, Sean (December 12, 2011). Hell on Wheels Review: War and Peace. TVFanatic.com.
  3. Nugent, Phil (December 12, 2011). Pride, Pomp and Circumstance. AVClub.com.
  4. Seidman, Robert (December 13, 2011). Sunday Cable Ratings: Kourtney & Kim Top 'Housewives Atlanta' + ' 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'Bag of Bones,' 'Homeland,' 'Dexter' & More. TV by the Numbers.

External links[]

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