Hell on Wheels: A Review

Here’s another one of those, “I met this guy in LA, and it was really cool” stories.

When I went off to LA in the beginning of February to escape and spend time writing at the UCLA Writers’ Studio, a colleague of mine here in DC put me in contact with a good friend of hers who happens to live in LA, and who is also a writer. She thought the connection might provide great insight for someone like me who is “trying to figure it all out.”

It just so happens that this friend of hers is one of the writers for the AMC show, Hell on Wheels. I won’t tell you his name to save him the bombardment of fan mail as a result of my blog post, but let’s just say– he’s good.

Before our meeting,  I had never even heard of the show (possibly because I do not have cable), but I was genuinely interested in learning more about it. I am always looking for a new show to enjoy. This writer told me a little bit about the plot, who the characters are, and that the main guy, played by actor, Anson Mount, is a hottie. (Ok, he didn’t say “hottie,” but I knew what he was trying to tell me…) He also promised to send me the first season on DVD so that I could see for myself. Yes, Anson Mount is a hottie–confirmed.

Because I love to support the projects of other writers I meet, and being a bit of a history nerd myself, I was very excited to start watching this show as soon as I received the DVDs. It took all of my self-control to not have a Hell on Wheels marathon the first weekend that I received the season. After struggling to stretch out the show over a month, I finished watching all 10 episodes last night.  I would like to take a moment to recommend it to all of you. This show is definitely worth watching. I know that I am a few seasons behind, as the third season will be starting up later this year, but if you get the chance, go ahead and start watching the first couple seasons so that you are up to date when the new stuff comes out–if you have cable, of course.

Photo from Wikipedia
Photo from Wikipedia

The show is an American Western set in 1865, right after the Civil War and  during the construction of the first transcontinental railroad. Anson Mount plays Cullen Bohannon, a former Confederate soldier who becomes the foreman on the railroad. He is on a quest to track down and kill the Union soldiers who murdered his wife and little boy. The central setting of the series is a mobile tent town called, Hell on Wheels, that follows the construction of the railroad as it stretches west. Throughout the season, we meet a cast of characters such as a former slave whose conflicted relationship with Bohannon provides some man-drama, played by rapper, Common; an investor in the railroad, and real business man and crook-type character played by Colm Meany; and a beautiful young widow who loses her husband during an attack by Indians while she and he are surveying western land for the expansion of the railroad, played by the lovely Dominique McElligot.

While the show is geared more for the masculine crowd, I definitely enjoyed every minute of it (that Anson Mount was on the screen). If you are looking for something refreshingly brutal and historically based, you should head on over to Amazon and order a copy of Hell on Wheels. You won’t be disappointed by the writing, or Anson Mount’s body, uhem…acting.

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