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Author Topic: Hell On Wheels  (Read 1621 times)


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Hell On Wheels
« on: August 17, 2012, 11:14:20 pm »

Anyone familiar with this series?


By Zachary Leeman

It's the world AMC's brilliant "Hell on Wheels" delivers.

Today’s films give us heroes who look like they’re barely out of high school and still more worried about their first kiss than the state of the world around them. Westerns offer us everyman protagonists whether it was the preacher in “Pale Rider” or a more modern protagonist in films with Western ideals like “Die Hard.”

If you are anything like me then you long for these films and these sensibilities. The Western genre is thought to be mostly dead today with an occasional "3:10 to Yuma" or "Appaloosa" to convince us otherwise. "Hell on Wheels” has flown under the radar, and it’s time to give this puppy a chance now that it's entering its second season. It’s a perfect show for Western lovers and conservatives alike. It hits all the beats a good Western needs to hit.
Every great Western has a distinctive protagonist. I refrain from using the word "hero" because the films of men like Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood understood the rough nature of the West and most of the men that inhabited its endless plains. These protagonists were quiet and scarred and consumed by hate but always willing to toe the line of morality.

Then there were the hulking heroes portrayed by John Wayne who always commanded the room because they shot straight and said what needed to be said. "Hell on Wheels" gives us something of the former.

Cullen Bohannan (Anson Mount) is a man consumed by war and hate. He is quickly tracking down the men responsible for the deaths of his wife and son during the war when the show opens. He is brought to a place called Hell on Wheels where Thomas Durant (Colm Meaney) is building a railroad to unify America and exemplify his greatness. Bohannan eventually finds work as the foreman of the railroad and keeps his motivations mostly quiet.</snip>
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