Season Number: 1
Episode Number: 7
Airdate: December 18, 2011
Director: Michelle MacLaren
Writer: Tony Gayton &
Joe Gayton
Producer: Tony Gayton
Joe Gayton
Jeremy Gold
John Shiban
David Von Ancken
Episode order
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"Pride, Pomp and Circumstance"
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"Revelations" is the seventh episode of the first season of the AMC series Hell on Wheels.


Thomas Durant and Lily Bell travel by train to Chicago, for different reasons; the Irishmen from Hell on Wheels intend to kill Elam Ferguson for entertainment purposes; and Cullen Bohannon interferes and helps Elam escape.


Young Elam Ferguson reads aloud from the Bible. Elam's Master and fatherhas made a bet with his friends that slaves can be taught to read. The master's friends voice their concerns over this, but he proves that Elam does not comprehend anything he just read. Later, with his fellow slaves, Elam recites another biblical passage. This particular one is about God's promising to deliver the Israelites from slavery.

In the present, Thomas Durant escorts Lily Bell to Chicago. She plans to meet with her deceased husband Robert Bell's family, while Durant plans to meet with Senator Jordan Crane to settle his railroad's financial difficulty.

Meanwhile, Eva begs Cullen Bohannon to save Elam. Thor Gundersen is allowing the Irish crew to hang Elam as entertainment. At the saloon, Gregory Toole strings Elam up, while Cullen charges in on horseback and shoots one man holding the rope. Elam is told by Cullen to ride off on one of the horses outside. Cullen cautions the Irish against pursuing them, then he and Elam ride out of town. Later, Bolan and Dix lead a posse, which includes Toole, after the wanted men.

Cullen and Elam stop far away from town. Cullen puts the blame on Elam for having sex with a white woman. By a campfire that night, Elam wonders what would happen if he owned a white woman, had a son by her, and educated the boy just enough that he considered himself different from his fellow white slaves. Reflecting on his own life, Elam concludes that, in truth, the boy wouldn't be different at all. Cullen tells Elam he freed his own slaves before the war to please his wife, realizing only later that she was right to make him do so. Following her murder, his barn was set on fire. The slave woman, who raised Cullen, died inside the barn trying to shield his son from the flames. The next morning, Cullen teaches Elam to shoot a gun. Elam misses all the targets. Cullen explains that the better thing to do is to count the rounds and make sure that his opponent has to reload his weapon first.

In the train coach, Durant tells Lily that he's figured a way out of his Crane situation. The Union Pacific Railroad needs a connecting route back to New York City, and the two options are the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad and the R&R Railroad. Durant believes Crane would do anything for a stock tip about Durant's choice. Durant delivers Lily to Robert's family's home in Chicago for what turns out to be a memorial gathering. Robert's sister Charlotte Bell, wearing black, comments that Lily, dressed in red, must have already stopped mourning. Durant leaves Lily to go to Crane's office. The senator demands the stock tip outright and threatens Durant with prison for remaining silent. Durant tells him to invest in the R&R railroad. Meanwhile, Lily hears Charlotte mention that Robert would still be alive if he hadn't tried to save Lily. When Lily interjects that she, not Robert, killed their attacker, Charlotte calls her a liar. Lily slaps Charlotte and describes ripping the arrow from her own shoulder and thrusting it into the Indian's throat.

Bolan's men reach Cullen and Elam's camp, which appears abandoned. Bolan discovers warm horse feces, stands to warn the others about the ambush, but gets shot in the chest and dies. Cullen kills two more men, and Elam a third. Toole slips into the woods and Elam gives chase. The two fire at each other until Toole maneuvers himself in front of Elam, gun drawn. Smiling, Elam says that Toole's gun is empty and offers him last words, but cuts them off by shooting Toole in the mouth.

Durant purchases the M&M Railroad instead of the R&R. He visits Crane's office, gloating over the senator's financial ruin. The deal has given Durant $5 million, covering the $147,000 missing from the Union Pacific's funds. He returns to the Bell house in time to hear Lily's account of the Indian massacre. When she finishes, he escorts her away. On the train back to Hell on Wheels, Lily tells Durant that she refuses to return to London and a life she now despises. Durant admires Lily then tries to woo her.

Meanwhile, standing among the bodies, Cullen finds a Bible and ponders reading a passage over the dead men. Elam suggests the 23rd Psalm. The two men recite it together, Elam from memory.




  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. Diego Diablo Del Mar as Dix
  3. Christopher Heyerdahl as Thor Gundersen
  4. Ian Tracey as Bolan
  5. Dohn Norwood as Psalms
  6. Robin McLeavy as Eva

Also starring

  1. James D. Hopkin as Senator Jordan Crane
  2. Judith Buchan as Rebecca Bell
  3. Chantal Perron as Charlotte Bell
  4. Christy Greene as Emily Bell
  5. Robert Hay as Irishman
  6. Trevor Leigh as The Master
  7. Gordon Rix as Other Master
  8. Amadou Diallo as Young Elam
  9. Chris Ippolito as Young Engineer


Opening credits

  1. Joe Gayton &
  2. Tony Gayton - Creators
  3. Gustavo Santaolalla - Theme
  4. Kevin Kiner - Score
  5. Todd Desrosiers - 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. Joe Gayton - Executive Producer
  14. Tony Gayton - Executive Producer
  15. Chad Oakes - Episodic Producer
  16. Michael Frislev - Episodic Producer
  17. Tony Gayton &
  18. Joe Gayton - Writer
  19. Michelle MacLaren - 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. Pete Whyte - First Assistant Director (AD)
  6. Kathy Ringer - 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


Critical receptionEdit

Sean McKenna of TV Fanatic said "the episode really captured the core characters in a way that was compelling and entertaining to watch."[1] New York Magazine's Adam Raymond commented, "Hell on Wheels isn't going to be the tension-filled, character-driven drama we all wanted it to be."[2] Phil Nugent of The A.V. Club stated, "I was rooting for some real action scenes to break [loose] on this show, and "Revelations" makes a couple of large-scale attempts to deliver the goods, but it's a case of too-clumsy-too-late."[3]


The seventh episode was watched by 2.27 million viewers, and had a 0.6 rating with the 18-49 age range — gaining more viewers than the previous episode, while maintaining the same age range rating.[4]


  1. McKenna, Sean (December 19, 2011). Hell on Wheels Review: Lessons Learned.
  2. Raymond, Adam K. (December 19, 2011). Hell on Wheels Recap: Fork Stab. New York Magazine.
  3. Nugent, Phil (December 19, 2011).Revelations.
  4. Gorman, Bill (December 20, 2011). Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Housewives Atlanta' Top 'Kourtney & Kim' + 'Dexter,' 'Homeland,' 'Iron Chef,' 'Real Deal' Finales & More. TV by the Numbers.

External linksEdit

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