Episode 4: Reckoning

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As dawn breaks, Wallace Beers and Paddy Quinn gather the corpses of the men killed the previous night. Wallace reaches for another body, but the man rolls over and points his pistol at Wallace's face. It's Cullen, alive but covered in mud. The men help Cullen to his feet. "We thought you was for the muck wagon, sir," Wallace says. "Not yet, gentlemen. Not yet," Cullen replies, then unsteadily limps home.

As Naomi tends to Cullen's injuries. Cullen says he asked Ruth to look after Naomi and William. Naomi bristles. She tries to make Cullen stay home and rest, but he grimaces and walks away: "Can't take care of you and the baby if I don't work."

Durant enters his office to find Cullen rifling through his railroad papers. Cullen notes that Collis Huntington (head of the Central Pacific Railroad) is already through the Sierras, and that Delaney nearly killed himself "proving you can't blast through a shale mountain." Durant insists there's no other route to get past the mountain, but Cullen wants to take a look for himself. Delaney arrives and orders Cullen back to work, but Durant overrules him. Cullen takes a compass and heads out. Delaney wants to fire Cullen for insubordination and recklessness, but Durant says Cullen stays.

Ezra listens as Ruth gossips about Naomi in the general store, saying Mormons are destined for the fires of hell. The sound of a baby turns Ruth's attention to the door, where she sees Naomi standing in the open doorway. Naomi asks for what she needs and then tells Ruth that Mormons "follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Particularly when it comes to kindness to others."

Jessup enters the casino with his henchmen. After handing Mickey a writ condemning the building, the men begin to clear everyone from the room. Durant hurries over to protect Eva. Jessup calls Mickey a "dumb mick," and they brawl before Jessup and Heckard eventually haul Mickey out. Mickey boasts that Durant will have him out of lockup before the end of the day.

The Swede stands before the elders at the Mormon fort. Aaron Hatch says, "He is not a bishop. We all heard his confession" of drowning the real Bishop Dutson. The Swede asks whether people are certain that's what he said because it was a spiritual event, "sublime to witness, yet difficult to discern." Elder Moss notes that there must be no doubt to hang a man for impersonating a bishop. Hatch says he will soon have proof: a telegraph from Bishop Finch, head of Bishop Dutson's ward.

While surveying Sherman Summit, Cullen evades an Indian patrol and stumbles on a possible route over the mountain.

Durant compliments Campbell on closing the casino, showing the town's "rogue elements" that he's "not a man to be trifled with." Campbell declares the site perfect for Campbell Plaza and the new federal offices. Durant argues that the casino provides a recreational outlet for the men, and then asks Campbell to free Mickey. Campbell refuses.

Ruth visits Cullen and Naomi's tent to apologize to Naomi for being rude at the general store. After giving her a basket of donated goods, she invites Naomi to church the next the morning. Ruth then asks Naomi to explain polygamy, and Naomi cites the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply so we can build the kingdom of Latter-Day Saints." When Ruth asks how she can't see the injustice in a kingdom that is "predicated on the exploitation of women," Naomi says she sees the clarity in it: "I know who I'm meant to be."

At the jail, Jessup taunts Mickey. When Mickey asks for water, Jessup grabs a cup, urinates in it, and places it inside the cell.

Cullen rides into town and sees Heckard dragging the casino's games into the street and setting them on fire. Wallace tells Cullen Mickey is in jail.

At the jail, Cullen sets down his gun belt in front of Jessup and says, "Figure you and me are square." Cullen advises Mickey not to count on Durant's help, reminding Mickey that he started with nothing and can do it again. Mickey is afraid he has no leverage without Durant, but Cullen says, "That is exactly what Sean thought."

Cullen warns Durant that the casino is "just the start of what Campbell's fixing to take," referencing the ruthless nature of the carpetbaggers who led Reconstruction.

Ruth and Ezra pray before bed. Tearing up, Ezra reveals that he's Mormon and, referencing what Ruth said at the general store, says he doesn't want to go to hell. Ruth comforts him.

Eva asks Durant how much her railroad stock is worth. Durant admits it's worth "virtually nothing" at the moment and offers Eva money. Eva refuses the "charity."

Naomi tells Cullen about Ruth's visit, and Cullen tells her Ruth will help her make her way in town. Naomi says it's a husband's job to provide for the family as well as nurture it, "much like the life you had with your first wife." Upset, Cullen storms out, and Naomi follows him. She puts Cullen's hand on her breast, but Cullen pulls away and sends her back inside. Naomi says, "I should have known family life wasn't for you."

That night, Durant instructs Delaney to research Campbell's background. Eva enters Durant's train car and offers to accept his money "for a poke." Durant refuses, and orders Eva to take his money, eat his food, and bathe in his tub, saying, "You are one of the few people I like around here. I'll pay you for that."

Durant checks on Eva in the bath, and Eva asks if he thinks all women are whores. Durant responds that they're "God's most glorious creatures" and notes that he was fortunate enough to have loved one. Eva realizes he's speaking of Lily Bell, and asks if it gets any easier. Durant replies, "It does not."

The next morning, Naomi finds Cullen still outside the tent, poring over railroad documents. Cullen concedes that the railroad has been his family, and offers to attend church with Naomi. Relieved, Naomi embraces him and they kiss. Cullen says he needs to take care of something beforehand.

Dressed for church, Cullen negotiates with Psalms for the use of a freedmen crew for two hours.

Campbell offers Mickey, still in jail, a deal in exchange for his freedom: If Mickey signs over the title to the casino, Campbell will pay Mickey to manage it. Mickey signs the paper and walks out, refusing Campbell's money: "I came to this country with nothing, and I built me a fortune. I'll do it again, beholden not to the likes of you. Or to Thomas C. Durant."

At the foot of Sherman Summit, Cullen tells Psalms about his idea to carve a ledge for the train tracks along the mountain's outer edge.

Dultey arrives at the Mormon fort and hands Hatch the letter from Bishop Finch. Hatch brings it to The Swede, now imprisoned in a cage. The letter says Bishop Dutson is 5'6" tall with brown hair and "portly girth," but The Swede insists he's Bishop Dutson and that he's never met Bishop Finch. The Swede suggests the telegraph author "has lied to support your delusions," and Hatch responds that the elders will sentence The Swede to hang. The Swede questions their authority to execute a bishop, and proposes a solution: Bring Brigham Young to the fort, "and I will abide by his judgment."

Naomi arrives at church, but Cullen is still out working on the mountain. Ruth preaches about loving "God, as well as our neighbor" and confesses to passing judgment on another. "I do not deserve salvation," Ruth declares, "None of us does." Naomi abruptly walks out. Ruth continues, "Only the blessed mercy of Jesus Christ can save us."

As dusk begins to fall, Cullen runs through the streets of Cheyenne, his Sunday clothes filthy with dust from the mountain. He opens the doors of the church and finds it dark and empty.

Cullen makes his way back to his tent, where Naomi tells him, "I went to church." Cullen sighs. "I know," she says. "I'll stop asking."

Hell on Wheels Episode 404 Photos

View photos from Episode 404, "Reckoning"

Martin Delaney - David Wilson Barnes
Aaron Hatch - James Shanklin
Ezra - Tayden Marks
Heckard - Billy Wickman
Marshal Jessup - Peter Benson
Judge Webber - Kevin Blatch
Dultey - Brendan Fletcher
Elder Moss - Duval Lang
Baby William - Kalem John Vaughan
Wallace Beers - Roger Leblanc
Mr. Adler - Aaron Edelstein
Monroe - Sean Millington
Paddy Quinn - Kevin Davey
Anna - Brenda Meaney

Written by: Jennifer Cecil

Directed by: Dennie Gordon

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The arrival of a dangerous stranger stirs up old feelings in Cullen and puts his family at risk. The Swede faces consequences at Fort Smith.

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