Hell on wheels Wiki


Season Number: 1
Episode Number: 9
Airdate: January 8, 2012
Director: John Shiban
Writer: John Shiban
Producer: Tony Gayton
Joe Gayton
Jeremy Gold
John Shiban
David Von Ancken
Episode order
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"God of Chaos"

"Timshel" is the ninth episode of the first season of the AMC series Hell on Wheels.


Cullen Bohannon and the search party find the Cheyenne who attacked the surveyor's camp and later derailed a train. Elam Ferguson and Eva discuss their future, before getting a strange visitor; and the railroad crew reaches the important 40-mile mark.


The Cheyenne renegades attack Cullen Bohannon and the search party. Bow and arrows and gunfire quickly become a melee. Joseph Black Moon rescues Griggs from Pawnee Killer, who moves to kill Griggs, after a young brave had been killed. Pawnee Killer flees into the woods but is shot dead by Joseph with an arrow. The natives are defeated. Griggs aims to resume tracking the Cheyenne villagers, but no one else wants to continue helping him. Joseph and Elam Ferguson agree that Thomas Durant will want proof of victory. They suggest taking the natives' scalps. Cullen declines, but Elam accepts, knowing Durant's $20-per-head bounty. Durant then enlists Elam to do things "off the books."

Joseph wants to honor his brother's death by burning his body in a funeral pyre. The ritual is attended by his father, Chief Many Horses, who says he mourns the loss of both of his sons, admitting that losing Joseph to the "white man" hurts him more. The McGinnes Brother's Theater is back in business with newly acquired pornographic slides. Bohannon affirms his suspicions that his boxing match had been fixed and is offered a bounty of $100 by Sean McGinnes to kill Thor Gundersen.

Meanwhile, Elam and Eva cuddle in his tent, discussing their future, when Gregory Toole calls to him outside. Toole, his head draped in cloth, is still alive, after the bullet Elam fired into his mouth exited out the back of his neck. Toole begs for forgiveness, and Elam insists that he apologizes instead to Eva. Durant witnesses Gundersen conspiring outside his railcar about the man the Pinkertons located. Gundersen later enters the bar and proposes a toast to Bohannon and his company for bravely slaying the Indians. Bohannon instead rallies the bar to hit their 40-mile mark, which they accomplish triumphantly the following day. The camp celebrates, including Lily Bell who orders a brandy with Bohannon at the bar. Durant sees them and interrupts to tell Bohannon that he's offering him a "bonus" - information that Gundersen is plotting against him, by sending telegrams to the authorities with evidence of Bohannon's past murders.

Joseph returns to the church where Ruth consoles him over the death of his brother. The two kiss by lantern-light. Meanwhile, Griggs returns to the camp, intent on killing Joseph, but finds only Reverend Nathaniel Cole. The reverend pleads for Griggs' forgiveness of Joseph, but Griggs insists that Joseph be killed. As Griggs turns to leave, the reverend removes the soldier's sword and chops off his head.




  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. Ty Olsson as Griggs
  5. Kasha Kropinski as Ruth
  6. Robin McLeavy as Eva
  7. Wes Studi as Chief Many Horses

Also starring

  1. James D. Hopkin as Senator Jordan Crane
  2. April Telek as Nell
  3. Chris Ippolito as Young Engineer
  4. James Dugan as Carl the Bartender


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. Joe Gayton - Executive Producer
  14. Tony Gayton - Executive Producer
  15. Chad Oakes - Episodic Producer
  16. Michael Frislev - Episodic Producer
  17. John Shiban - Writer
  18. John Shiban - 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. Mark Ambury - 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's title has several usages. "Timshel" is a song on the album Sigh No More by the group Mumford & Sons. The song plays during the episode's opening battle. "Timshel" or "timshol" (תימשל) is also a Hebrew word which has different translations, including "thou will rule," "thou can rule," or the more proper "thou mayest rule." John Steinbeck also used the word in his novel, East of Eden, which was about man's triumph over sin and paralleled the biblical Book of Genesis story of Cain and Abel.

Featured Music[]

  • "Timshel" by Mumford & Sons.


Critical reception[]

Sean McKenna TV Fanatic rated the episode with 4 out of 5 stars, saying "'Timshel' was a rather enjoyable piece, touching on all of the major characters."[1] However, The A.V. Club's Phil Nugent rated the episode a D, stating that Hell On Wheels "is the work of hacks, people whose lack of personal obsession and conflicted emotions render it an ambiguity-free zone."[2]


The ninth episode was watched by 2.29 million viewers, and had a 0.7 rating with the 18-49 age range – the series' third lowest viewership of the season.[3]


  1. McKenna, Sean (January 10, 2012). Hell on Wheels Review: Losing Your Head. TVFanatic.com.
  2. Nugent, Phil (January 10, 2012). Derailed. AVClub.com.
  3. Gorman, Bill (January 10, 2012). Sunday Cable Ratings: Kardashians Rule, Oprah Drools? + Atlanta 'Housewives,' 'Cajun Pawn Stars,' 'Mob Wives 2,' 'Rachael vs. Guy,' 'Leverage,' 'Shameless' & More. TV by the Numbers.

External links[]

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