Hell on wheels Wiki
Ruth Elizabeth Cole
Birth place: Boston
Status: Deceased
Occupation: Missionary
Marital status: Single
Relatives: Nathaniel Cole - father, deceased
Relationships: Joseph Black Moon - former lover

Cullen Bohannon - developed feelings/one-sided

Behind the scenes
Portrayed by: Kasha Kropinski
Seasons: 14
First episode: "Bread and Circuses"
Last episode: "Thirteen Steps"
Appearances: 30 episodes (see below)

Ruth Elizabeth Cole was the estranged daughter of Reverend Nathaniel Cole and has followed him to Hell on Wheels.


Background information[]

Ruth was the daughter of Reverend Nathaniel Cole. As a child, she often heard yelling between her parents when her father would get drunk. She says that she and her mother only needed "a single drop of love," but Cole could not, or would not, give it to them. At the age of ten, Ruth witnessed her father and other men killing slave owners with swords.

Ruth has at least two brothers, only one of who is still alive. She said they were all violent men. Ruth and her brothers were beaten by their father as children. ("Escape from the Garden")

Season 1[]

Main article: Season 1

She follows Reverend Nathaniel Cole to Hell on Wheels after the death of her mother. He is less than pleased to see her and wants to send her to a nearby mission when he returns from his trip to see Chief Many Horses. He tells her to stay in the church until he returns, but that night she goes to the Starlight Saloon to watch the fight between Elam Ferguson and Cullen Bohannon. ("Bread and Circuses")

Ruth later meets Joseph Black Moon. Their relationship is awkward at first as Ruth considers Joseph an "inferior" because he is Cheyenne. This changes after a period of time, as Joseph seems to be the only one who actually wants her in Hell on Wheels and becomes her only friend. She turns to Joseph for comfort after seeing the face of a badly burned man who was injured during the derailment of one of the trains. ("Derailed")

She later comforts Joseph when he breaks down after admitting he killed his own brother Pawnee Killer. The two share a kiss in his tent and embark on a blossoming romance. ("Timshel")

Season 2[]

Main article: Season 2

Ruth and Joseph's relationship has become physical, which does not go unnoticed by Reverend Cole. He publicly rebukes her for her actions during Dieter Schmidt's funeral. ("Slaughterhouse")

Sean McGinnes becomes increasingly affectionate towards Ruth. Wishing her to reciprocate his feelings, he even goes as far as letting Ruth baptize him. After kissing her, Ruth realizes his true intentions and rebuffs him. ("Blood Moon Rising")

Season 3[]

While comforting Eva over her missing baby, Ruth confesses that she was once pregnant with Joseph's child (although it is never clear if he was aware of this fact), but she miscarried. ("Searchers") During the cholera outbreak in Hell on Wheels, Ruth takes care of the ill and dying. ("Cholera")

Season 4[]

Ruth struggles to keep the headstrong Ezra under control. ("Escape from the Garden") Ruth shoots Sydney Snow after he burns down the church and consequently killing Ezra; after a failed attempt to save Syndey by removing his leg, he dies. After multiple attempts to have her plead non-guilty or accept a pardon from the Provincial Governer, Ruth is convicted and hanged in a public execution.


Joseph Black Moon[]

Main article: Joseph Black Moon

Ruth originally regards Joseph as no more than a brother, being called as much by her own father, Reverend Cole. Ruth once looked down on Joseph's family, stating that his deceased mother was not with God because she was not Christian. ("Pride, Pomp and Circumstance") Ruth eventually becomes very close to Joseph, going as far as comforting and kissing him after he murdered his brother, Pawnee Killer. ("Timshel") Sometime after this, Joseph and Ruth start a physical relationship. When Joseph asks Ruth to marry him, she rejects him as she believes no one would tolerate an inter-racial couple. Even after they are no longer together, Joseph continues to care for Ruth, bringing her wild game. ("The Lord's Day")

Sean McGinnes[]

Main article: Sean McGinnes

Ruth was very friendly with Sean, giving comfort to him when he was unsure of his fate after being accused of murdering Dieter Schmidt. ("Slaughterhouse") He repaid this kindness by buying the deed for the church. ("The White Spirit")

Sean later proposed to Ruth, though she rejected him as he was Catholic. Sean became quite hostile toward Ruth when he discovered her intimate relationship with Joseph, who Sean considered inferior to himself. ("The Lord's Day") He later apologized for his behavior, though Ruth became very wary of him. ("Blood Moon") Sean agreed to be baptized but Ruth quickly realized this was merely a ploy to get closer to her after Sean kissed her. Sean proposed marriage again, along with an offer to move to Council Bluffs, though Ruth rejected this offer, even though he converted for her. ("Blood Moon Rising") The two have a very strained relationship at this point, with Sean being outright rude to Ruth. ("Range War")

Cullen Bohannon[]

Main article: Cullen Bohannon

Ruth and Bohannon strike up a friendship. Unlike most people, Ruth is able to call Bohannon on things he has done without him completely shutting down. Ruth offers comfort and council to Bohannon when he laments the deaths of a band of Indians that had been suspected of cattle rustling. "Range War"


Season 1 appearances
"Pilot" "Immoral Mathematics" "A New Birth of Freedom" "Jamais Je Ne T'oublierai" "Bread and Circuses"
"Pride, Pomp and Circumstance" "Revelations" "Derailed" "Timshel" "God of Chaos"
Season 2 appearances
"Viva La Mexico" "Durant, Nebraska" "Slaughterhouse" "Scabs" "The Railroad Job"
"Purged Away with Blood" "The White Spirit" "The Lord's Day" "Blood Moon" "Blood Moon Rising"
Season 3 appearances
"Big Bad Wolf" "Eminent Domain" "Range War" "The Game" "Searchers"
"One Less Mule" "Cholera" "It Happened in Boston" "Fathers and Sins" "Get Behind the Mule"
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"