Hell on Wheels - The Complete Series
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Hell on Wheels tells the epic story of post-Civil War America, focusing on a Confederate solider (Anson Mount) who sets out to exact revenge on the Union soldiers who have killed his wife. His journey takes him west to 'Hell on Wheels,' a dangerous, raucous, lawless melting pot of a town that travels with and services the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, an engineering feat unprecedented for its time. The series explores the railroad's institutionalized greed and corruption, the immigrant experience, and the plight of the newly emancipated African-Americans during reconstruction. Over time, Hell on Wheels chronicles this potent turning point in American history, and how uncivilized the business of civilization can be.
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For me, well worth the time and money to watch. Had it maintained that riveting quality I felt it had for the first three seasons, through all 5 seasons, even with my not liking the ending I would have given it 5 stars PLUS. I felt this to be some of Anson Mount's (Cullen Bohannon) best work! Colm Meany, Christopher Heyerdahl, and Common all were spectacular in their rolls as well.
Again, while not perfect, well worth the "price of admission"!
Had the series ended one season earlier, and left Bohanan with Naomi after some misunderstandings and further growth on both of their parts, it would have been excellent. As it is, it seems the show's writers ended up grasping at straws to build a few more episodes, ultimately destroying the plotline and arx they originally built, and then trying desperately (and unsuccessfully) to rebuild it again at the very end.
The first three seasons were excellent. Of course, the history is not completely accurate. The railroads met in a mountain range, the Promontory, Utah. Provo wasn't connected until some years later by a spur. Likewise, a spur was added later to Salt Lake to please the Mormons who helped build the Central Pacific. The lead character was a composite of several engineers who worked on the road. They got Durant and Huntington about right.
As a series, it was excellent. It was not as graphic or gritty as a similar series, Deadwood, but just as entertaining.
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I'll probably watch it at least once a year!
Not for prudish ears.