Season 3, Episode 9
Fathers and Sins
With General Grant's deadline only two days away, a gang of riders attacks Cheyenne while Cullen and Elam pay Durant a visit.
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With two days to lay five miles of track, the men balk at working on Sunday. Cullen offers extra money, plus two rounds of drinks upon completion. "Work be our ticket to heaven," says Psalms. The men cheer.
At the Palmer Hotel in Cheyenne, Durant watches the train through his spyglass. Durant says, Cullen will soon be "laying tracks in my town and pennies on my eyes." Maggie tells Durant to invite Cullen to lunch and make peace.
A group of armed men on horseback watch Cullen from afar. "All the guns in the world will not protect Cullen Bohannon," one says. They ride towards town.
Cullen receives Durant's invitation.
Cullen finds Ruth sitting with her suitcase – she plans to leave. She says, she's "been a poor disciple," having turned Sean away. Cullen takes her suitcase and says, the men need her in Hell on Wheels.
At the saloon, Cullen stops Wallace Beers from cheating a drunken Elam in a game of cards. Cullen wants Elam to come with him to Cheyenne because Durant is surrendering and "victory needs an audience." Elam vomits.
In the church, Ruth asks Louise if she plans to write a story about Sean's death titled, "Fallen Woman Pastor Brings Murderer Into Her Church." The women discuss faith. Ruth says, Cullen asked her to stay in Hell on Wheels. Louise suggests Ruth has feelings for Cullen. Ruth doesn't reply.
The armed riders attack Cullen, Elam and Ezra outside Cheyenne.
Cullen, Elam and Ezra burst into the Palmer Hotel then bar the doors. Shots come through the windows. Durant and Maggie return fire as patrons flee. Cullen hides Ezra upstairs.
Cullen suggests a connection between Durant's invitation and the attack. "Not everything bad that happens to you is my fault," Durant says. Elam suggests telegraphing Major Bendix for help.
Outside, a man yells: "All we want is Bohannon." Durant offers to negotiate a settlement, then shoots an approaching attacker through the window. "What now?" Durant asks. Cullen requests whiskey.
A flaming tabletop rolls out of the hotel's front doors. Elam and Cullen use the diversion to run for the telegraph office and shoot men as they go. They break down the office door but discover the telegraph's been destroyed. A bleeding Cullen sits on the floor.
Cullen pulls a shard of glass from his side. Wincing in pain, Cullen tells Elam to finish the railroad if he doesn't make it, then admits he never freed his slaves. They notice the gunfire has stopped, and race back to the hotel to find Maggie bound and Durant unconscious. The attackers have taken Ezra.
Cullen storms out of the hotel and shoots the remaining attackers. The man holding Ezra tells Cullen to drop his gun belt. "You for the boy," the man says. Cullen surrenders. Ezra runs to Elam. A man cold-cocks Cullen.
Elam tells Durant, he thinks the attackers were Mormons upset about Cullen taking back his workers. Elam says, he's going to find Cullen.
At Hell on Wheels, the hotel clerk asks Louise when Eva will be leaving. Louise recalls that he was once a "doctor" who prescribed an elixir called Perpetual Sunshine that killed three people. He agrees to let Eva stay.
In Louise's room, Eva thanks her and kisses her neck then asks, "That's what you want, ain't it?" Louise stops her and says, Eva is her friend. Eva starts packing: "I don't accept no charity." Louise asks her to stay.
Cullen wakes on the ground, his hands tied. The leader of the armed riders reveals that he's Aaron Hatch, father of the Mormon boy Cullen executed. "I told you, you owe me a life for the one you took from me," Hatch says.
In the church, Mickey tells Ruth, "It'll be me who has to answer" for Sean's death. Ruth says, Mickey led the detective to believe Sean was going to strangle her. Mickey says, he thought Sean was. They'll never know the truth, Ruth says.
Elam tells the railroad workers that Cullen's been abducted. He says, the men must get to Cheyenne first and foremost or Durant will take over. The men sing and work.
Hatch and his riders lead Cullen to the Mormon fort.
Durant watches the railroad's progress through his spyglass.
Ruth prays with a group of railroad workers.
The men work into the night.
"You will stand accountable," Hatch warns. Cullen rides into the fort and stares at a hangman's noose.