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"The Railroad Job"

Season Number: 2
Episode Number: 5
Airdate: September 9, 2012
Director: Michael Nankin
Writer: Mark Richard
Producer: Tony Gayton
Joe Gayton
Jeremy Gold
John Shiban
David Von Ancken
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"Purged Away with Blood"

"The Railroad Job" is the fifth episode of the second season of the AMC series Hell on Wheels.


Cullen Bohannon comes face to face with Hawkins and the other train robbers when they attempt a heist on Thomas Durant's safe. Elam Ferguson struggles to find his place in town when race relations sour.


Hawkins outlines his plan to rob $50,000 in payroll from Hell on Wheels' railway office to his bandit gang. He informs them that Cullen Bohannon now works for the railroad. Doc Whitehead is surprised to hear his friend is alive. As they prepare for the robbery, Hawkins orders him to stay behind in case anyone gets wounded and to prevent Doc from alerting Cullen.

Chained to an anvil, Reverend Nathaniel Cole reaches for a liquor bottle, which Thor Gundersen tosses away, reminding the preacher that he made Gundersen promise to keep him chained. Gundersen suggests that he finish his manifesto, as Hawkins and his gang ride into town behind them. At the saloon, a bandit nods at Elam Ferguson and comments about his being allowed to drink there. Elam reaches for his gun, but Hawkins appears and apologizes before the situation worsened. He buys Elam a drink and the men leave. Elam, who recognized the bandit's Griswold pistol, tells Thomas Durant of the coincidence that the payroll arrives the same day the strangers do, as well as two Rebels buying a black man a drink. Durant tells him to arm every man in town and send for Cullen. Elam takes the men to the armory, but finds it empty. He sends them after other guns and then recruits Psalms, who is coughing up blood from his previous fight with Elam, to cover the road.

At the railway office, Hawkins and his cohorts order Lily Bell to open the safe. Durant shoots a bandit, and Hawkins shoots Durant in the gut. Cullen arrives to find the town under siege, while Hawkins holds Lily at gunpoint as she opens the safe. The bandits shove the money into a bag. Cullen finds Elam and they team up. Gundersen hears the gunfire and calls it "trumpets" announcing Cole's prophecy. Psalms kills the bandit carrying the payroll, then falls to the ground in pain. One of the prostitutes runs out to grab money as it floats through the air, and Nell is shot pulling her back. Sean and Mickey McGinnes gun down Nell's killer.

Inside the railway office, Lily sees Hawkins struggling with reloading his gun and shoots him. He staggers into the street and is shot by Cullen. Lily cries out that Durant is dying and Cullen tortures Hawkins into revealing Doc's location. He leaves, telling Elam to lock Hawkins up. Eva helps Lily tend to Durant's wound, while Elam throws Hawkins into the prison car. At the bandit camp, Cullen finds Doc and informs him that people are hurt and the bandits are dead, then orders Doc to follow him back to town. They arrive at the railway office, where Doc tries to extract the bullet as Durant screams in pain.

Outside, Lily tells Cullen that she felt a moment of relief that Durant might not live. Doc tells them Durant needs a more qualified surgeon, but believes a train ride to Chicago would kill him. Cullen pulls Doc aside, upset that the group never went to Mexico. He asks if that was ever the plan and Doc does not answer. Elam and Cullen take Hawkins to the cemetery and kneel him in front of an open grave. He is given a chance to say his last words. He asks Cullen why he is at Hell on Wheels and then lectures him on betrayal. Hawkins comments about Cullen being friends with Elam and Elam shoots him in the head. Cullen kicks his body into the grave. In town, Doc tells a semi-conscious Durant that the bullet is lodged in his spine, and then tells Lily he thinks Durant might be strong enough to risk a train ride.

Gundersen shaves off Cole's beard. Cole asks why the man saved him. Gundersen leads him to a coffin, opens it to reveal the rifles from the armory, and quotes the Bible: "A great sword is given unto you." At the saloon, the townsfolk honor Nell and Cullen. Elam enters, but is turned away because he was seen hiding during the robbery.

He approaches the freedmen and offers two bottles of good liquor to join them. Psalms accepts, and Elam asks him what would happen to the freedmen if Durant died. Psalms turns the question on Elam, asking how long he thinks he would last without Durant to protect him. Psalms laughs and Elam joins in. As Cullen drinks alone, Lily hands him a telegram calling for Doc's execution. Cullen protests that the man only held the bandits' horses. Lily says they seek anyone aiding and abetting the bandits.




  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. Duncan Ollerenshaw as Gregory Toole
  2. Grainger Hines as Doc Whitehead

Closing credits

  1. April Telek as Nell
  2. Ryan Robbins as Hawkins
  3. Alejandro Rae as Bandit
  4. Chris Ippolito as Young Engineer
  5. James Dugan as Carl the bartender
  6. Peter Skagen as Burly Confederate
  7. Bruce Ramsay as Journalist
  8. Myrna Vallance as Sally
  9. Karl Sine as Station Master


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. Todd Desrosiers - 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. Mark Richard - Writers
  23. Michael Nankin - 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. Philip Chipera - First Assistant Director (AD)
  6. Lorie Gibson - Second AD

External links[]

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