Season 1, Episode 9
It’s all hands on deck as Cullen and Lily work to meet the railroad’s looming deadline. Elam and Joseph deal with the consequences of their violent mission.
Cheyenne braves armed with arrows, tomahawks and rifles attack Cullen and the search party but are met with gunfire. As the clash descends into hand-to-hand combat, Joseph rescues Griggs from Pawnee Killer, who flees into the woods. Joseph pursues his brother and shoots him dead with an arrow.
At Hell on Wheels, Durant admits to Lily that rainstorms destroyed finished track because he ignored Robert's routing advice. Lily agrees to resurvey the area but only if Durant follows Robert's recommendations.
The Cheyenne attackers are defeated. Griggs aims to resume tracking the Cheyenne villagers, but Cullen, Elam, and Joseph decline to join him. Joseph predicts that the townsfolk will demand to see Cheyenne scalps as proof of victory. Cullen rejects the idea of taking scalps, but Elam, citing the $20-per-head bounty, slices off several.
In the church tent, Ruth rebukes Reverend Cole as a failure for not providing his family even "one drop of love." Cole begins an apology but flashes with anger when she walks away. Ruth smacks his face.
Nearby, the McGinnes brothers announce the re-opening of their magic-lantern show. The Swede calls out Nell, the cathouse madam, and publicly beats her for not paying rent. Sean restrains Mickey from defending Nell. "There's a better way" to neutralize The Swede, Sean hints.
While Lily is performing her new duties of surveying the countryside, Cullen and Elam ride up and report that they have killed the Indians who murdered Robert. "I'd hoped it would close the hole I feel in my heart," she muses.
Later, in the Pullman, Elam presents his scalps to Durant, who tries and fails to reduce the bounty. Impressed by Elam’s show of moxie, Durant asks Elam to consider performing tasks "off the books" for him.
After a romp in his tent, Elam asks Eva "to be mine, none other." Before she can answer, a staggering Toole arrives, bloody from his gunshot wound but, miraculously, still alive.Toole describes the revelation he had of the "ignorance and cruelty" he showed Elam and begs forgiveness. Beg Eva, demands Elam. "I'm sorry, lass," Toole confesses. "As sorry as the sorriest sinner."
In a forest clearing, Joseph builds a burial platform for Pawnee Killer. Chief Many Horses finds Joseph and acknowledges that Pawnee Killer needed to be killed.
Back at Hell on Wheels, Mickey touts the McGinnes brothers' latest show, projected slides of scantily clothed women.
Cullen offhandedly asks if the brothers paid for the new images with money they won on a fight. Sean dodges the question and offers Cullen $100 to kill The Swede. Cullen begs off but supplies a tip: The Swede has been stealing from Durant. Dig up some dirt, suggests Cullen, and Durant will run The Swede out of town himself.
That night, Elam causes a stir by entering the saloon. Elam instructs Cullen to invite him to sit down and to pour him a drink. After Cullen obliges, Elam brags that Durant "took a liking to my work." Cullen warns him about the dangers of dealing with Durant.
The Swede arrives and proposes a toast to the "great Indian killers" -- Cullen and Elam -- for making the countryside safe again.
The next day, outside the Pullman, Senator Crane passes The Swede information about Frank Harper's whereabouts. From inside, Durant witnesses the exchange.
Chief Many Horses and Joseph sit beneath Pawnee Killer's body. The chief praises his dead son's abilities as a warrior but says that he lacked greatness because he didn't learn, as Joseph did, that sometimes the best strategy is not to fight. The chief mourns the loss of both his sons but admits that losing Joseph to white civilization "hurts me so much more."
At the cut, Cullen shows the crews the location of the 40-mile marker and exhorts them to reach it that day. As they near the goal, a locomotive carrying Crane and Durant steams forward on the newly laid track. Elam sets up the final spike for Cullen to drive in, but Durant steps in and performs the honors.
Late that night, Joseph returns to the church tent and learns that Ruth has waited up every night for him. "I killed my own brother," weeps Joseph. Ruth comforts him with a kiss that he returns.
At the saloon, Cullen buys a drink for Lily, who congratulates him for reaching 40 miles on time. Cullen admits that he misread Lily the night they first met. When she asks what he thinks of her now, Cullen finds himself unable to respond.
Griggs returns to Hell on Wheels and enters the church tent, calling for "Black Moon."
Outside the saloon, Durant congratulates Cullen for winning the Union Pacific line's first important battle and says that he intends to provide Cullen a "bonus" far more valuable than money: information.
Back at the church tent, Griggs tells Reverend Cole that Joseph needs to be held accountable for the assault on Griggs's party and for leading the party astray.
Durant informs Cullen that The Swede has wired federal marshals claiming to have evidence implicating Cullen in several murders. The marshals are en route to arrest Cullen. "I'm giving you a chance to save yourself," says Durant.
Meanwhile, Cole pleads with Griggs to forgive Joseph, who was only defending his family. Griggs replies that he will forgive Joseph -- after killing him. Cole grabs Griggs's saber and slices off the soldier's head.