Jul 312015
Hell on Wheels Season Four-each season has less and less to do with reality.

Returning to Cheyenne with his Mormon wife and baby, Cullen Bohannon finds himself struggling to feed his family, and is reluctantly drawn into the struggle between Thomas Durant, head of the Union Pacific, and John Campbell, provisional governor of Wyoming, for control of Cheyenne and the railroad. Little on the show makes any sense, and this season achieves the dubious honor of being the most historically inaccurate season so far. Read More…

Sep 112014
Hell on Wheels Season Three-A bizarro-world version of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Yay, the writers finally read a book about the railroad, but their addition of a few historical facts to the fantasy land that had been built in the previous two seasons simply creates a bizarro-world version of the Transcontinental Railroad. The series essentially consists of Bohannon and Elam working together to save the railroad. Wow, if Cullen Bohannon was not so tough and did not have a faithful, almost silent, black sidekick, the railroad would not have been built. Read More…

Aug 012013
Hell on Wheels Season Three Trailer

Season Two was a definite improvement over the first season, but the departure of both Joe and Tony Gayton, the creators, and John Shiban, the show runner, right after the series was renewed for a third season threatened to prematurely end the show. Fortunately, John Wirth, who had previously produced Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, came on board. Since roughly half the cast were killed off in the previous season, he has a tremendous opportunity to move the focus of the show away from a soap opera with three separate love triangles to the actual construction of the railroad.

The first season was very uneven, and while the second season was much more enjoyable, the writers were far from faithful to the historical record, inventing robber gangs and an attack by the Sioux that seemed to be a dress rehearsal for the Little Bighorn. Hopefully, the third season will keep the improved writing but actually follow what is written in the history books and present the construction of the transcontinental railroad as the mind-boggling technical achievement that it was. Read More…

Dec 132012
Hell on Wheels Season Two: Soap Opera on Rails

Most people turn up their noses at soap operas like General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, Dallas or Dynasty, but still want to become involved in the lives of people who are more attractive and lead more exciting lives. For those whose tastes run to Westerns, Hell on Wheels satisfies that desire. It certainly does not satisfy any desire to learn the history of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. To be fair, it is a very good soap opera.
Two competing railroads, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, raced to build the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. The producers made the logical decision to focus on the Union Pacific, but he railroad was not built by an ex-Confederate hunting the murderer of his wife, and the plucky widow of the original surveyor, who would be able to finish the railroad on schedule if they ever stop squabbling and accept their love for each other. Read More…