Purged Away with Blood

"Purged Away with Blood"

Season Number: 2
Episode Number: 6
Airdate: September 16, 2012
Director: Joe Gayton
Writer: Tony Gayton &
Tom Brady
Producer: Tony Gayton
Joe Gayton
Jeremy Gold
John Shiban
David Von Ancken
Episode order
← previous
"The Railroad Job"
next →
"The White Spirit"

"Purged Away with Blood" is the sixth episode of the second season of the AMC series Hell on Wheels.


Thor Gundersen and Reverend Nathaniel Cole aid the Sioux in their war with the railroad — Gundersen supplies their guns and Cole hijacks the train taking Thomas Durant, Eva, and Doc Whitehead to Chicago, intent on killing them all.


Thor Gundersen and Reverend Nathaniel Cole meet a band of Sioux Indians. Leader Yellow Dog gives a white wolf pelt to Gundersen, who explains to Cole that the Sioux rescued him after he was chased out of town. He confirms that he is the "White Spirit", and the two distribute rifles to the Indians.

While the train to Chicago is being prepared, Thomas Durant hallucinates about his son. Lily Bell informs him that she has telegraphed his wife, who will meet him when he arrives. He begs her to stay with him, but she insists on remaining behind to oversee railroad business. Elam Ferguson tries to stop a pregnant Eva from escorting Durant as his nurse, but she says her "condition" is not his concern and explains that Durant is paying her, just like he is paying Elam.

Cullen Bohannon wants to flee with Doc Whitehead, but Lily says Durant could die without Doc to treat him. Cullen argues that Doc will die if he does not leave town and adds that if Durant dies, Lily will not have to share Durant's bed anymore. Appalled, she slaps him. Doc tells Cullen he will not abandon Durant despite the death warrant. Cullen relents, making Doc promise to get off the train before it reaches Chicago. On the train, Eva tells Doc that Durant's fever is down.

At church, Joseph Black Moon shows Ruth a Bible passage that Cole marked and left for him: "Jesus said to them, if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak to buy one." They ponder its meaning. A track explosion halts Durant's train and a band of armed Sioux board, followed by a sword-wielding, Bible-quoting Cole, who orders Durant to publish his manifesto on the front page of the New-York Tribune or else all hostages will die. A reluctant Durant agrees.

Back in town, Lily shows Cullen a telegram sent from Durant's train. Recognizing the text as John Brown propaganda and recalling Cole mentioning John Brown in the past, Cullen leaves the office in haste. He later requests permission to board the hijacked train. Once inside, he tells Cole that killing innocent people will not save the Indians. He suggests that Cole pray, knowing God would lead him to do the right thing. As he leaves, Cole shouts, "Blood is God here!" and impales the Train Engineer on his sword.

Lily arrives and confers with Cullen and Elam. Cullen says Cole is sober but insane and advocates taking Cole's train by force. Lily insists on negotiating. Inside, Durant speaks with Cole about the sacrifices they have made to achieve their goals. Cole admits to being a terrible father, to which Durant agrees that "great men often are" and adds that his wife never forgave him for it. Cole says the manifesto is his legacy to his children, like Durant's legacy is the railroad. But Durant says Cole is "on the wrong side of history" and will be vilified.

Cullen and Elam fire on the hijacked train with rifles, hitting the guards. Inside, Eva and Doc grab the wounded Yellow Dog and hold him until he bleeds out. Cole holds Doc at gunpoint, prompting Cullen and Elam to stand down. Cole retreats inside but states that he wants to see his children. While keeping watch on Cole's train, Elam confides to Cullen that Eva is carrying his baby. Lily and Joseph find Ruth at church and explain the situation. Ruth claims that she can do nothing, but Joseph begs her to do this one last thing for him, even thought she does not love him anymore.

Outside the train, Gundersen escorts authorities toward the train car. Cullen curses him for leading them to Doc. Inside, Cole tearfully apologizes to Ruth for being a bad father. Crying, she forgives and embraces him. Joseph then tells Cole that Jesus will only forgive him if he lets the hostages go. Cole whispers that he is going to kill them all, but is doing it all for him. Joseph tells him he loves him, then stabs him in the gut. Ruth sobs over Cole's body.

Joseph exits the train car and hands Cullen the bloody knife. The authorities take Doc into custody. As the track is repaired, Elam tells Eva they need to discuss the baby when she comes back from Chicago. "You mean your baby," she says. A weak Durant tells Lily that he needs his wife's forgiveness for "everything." She says goodbye and leaves. Doc asks Cullen to be the one who executes him, adding that there is no honor in the way he has been living, but he wishes to die with some. Doc kneels and urges Cullen to be strong. Cullen closes his eyes and shoots Doc.




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

Guest starring

  1. Kasha Kropinski as Ruth
  2. Grainger Hines as Doc Whitehead


  1. David Lereaney as Telegraph Operator
  2. Peter Strand Rumpel as Train Engineer
  3. Darcy Singer as Yellow Dog
  4. Jacob Thurmeier as William West
  5. Alex Zahara as Lt. Weston


Opening credits

  1. Joe &
  2. Tony Gayton - Creators
  3. Cathy Sandrich Gelfond,
  4. Amanda Mackey &
  5. Kate Caldwell - Casting
  6. Jackie Lind, CSA - Canadian Casting
  7. Gustavo Santaolalla - Theme
  8. Kevin Kiner - Score
  9. Bridget Durnford - Editor
  10. John Blackie - Production Designer
  11. Marvin V. Rush, ASC - Director of Photography
  12. David Von Ancken - Consulting Producer
  13. Chris Mundy - Co-Executive Producer
  14. Mark Richard - Co-Executive Producer
  15. Paul Kurta - Co-Executive Producer
  16. Jeremy Gold - Executive Producer
  17. John Shiban - Executive Producer
  18. Joe Gayton - Executive Producer
  19. Tony Gayton - Executive Producer
  20. Chad Oakes - Episodic Producer
  21. Michael Frislev - Episodic Producer
  22. Tony Gayton &
  23. Tom Brady - Writers
  24. Joe Gayton - Director

Closing credits

  1. Peter Chomsky - Co-Producer
  2. Jami O'Brien - Co-Producer
  3. Bruce Marshall Romans - Story Editor
  4. Linda Rogers Ambury - Unit Production Manager
  5. Pete Whyte - First Assistant Director (AD)
  6. Michele Williams - Second AD

External linksEdit

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