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Season 5, Episode 4

Struck

Cullen must find a way to end a Chinese labor strike. Durant pulls Mickey deeper into Union Pacific business.

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Full Recap

Mary Fields drives a stagecoach carrying Samuel, Durant's spy, into Laramie, Wyoming. Shea, tending bar in Mickey's saloon, refuses to serve them. Mary bets Shea a dollar that she can knock him out in one punch. Shea laughs, as Mickey watches from upstairs. Mary punches Shea in the jaw and he goes down immediately, losing his silver tooth, which Mary pockets. Mickey steps over Shea to serve Mary, welcoming her to Laramie.

In Truckee, Cullen pulls the three Irish workers from jail and escorts them to a wagon headed, "anywhere but here." Tao accuses Cullen of choosing to let Chen's murderers go free, but Cullen counters, "The law chose." As the wagon pulls away, Chang incites the Chinese workers: "Stand up for yourselves. Stand with me by sitting down now." Chang walks into the opium den as the entire group sits. Cullen orders Tao to get the workers to the train, but Tao just looks at him silently, then sits with the others.

Inside the opium den, Chang and five cooks draw red and white tiles from a velvet bag.

Cullen tells Chang he's made his point. Chang says the Chinese have just learned that a white man can kill them and "all he'll get is a free ride out of town." Chang agrees to get the Chinese back to work after Cullen addresses their demands of protection, a limited workday, a raise for the workers, and a 2% stake in the railroad for Chang. Cullen laughs and agrees to all but the raise and stake. Chang insists his request for a stake is non-negotiable: "Here in America, men are compensated based upon their value. Until you acknowledge mine, your railroad will not move another inch."

Louise Ellison stares into the Laramie apothecary window, focusing on a bottle of Pennyroyal. Across the street in the railroad office, Samuel shows Durant the Central Pacific's new route through Utah and says their progress has sped up since Cullen took over. Durant is still furious at Cullen's desertion.

Delaney stops Louise from entering the railroad office. He reveals that Durant is inside meeting with a surveyor while he's forced to wait outside. But he refuses to give the now-freelance Louise a quote disparaging Durant. As Durant and Samuel exit the office, Louise asks Durant about the new survey. Durant instructs Samuel to never talk to Louise, and they walk away.

In the parlor, Eva interrupts Josie's session with Shea. Josie's needed for a rich customer with a special request. Josie squirms, complaining of soreness.

Eva asks Mickey to do something about Shea: "The girls are complaining, the customers are complaining, and he's costing us money." Mickey protests; Shea is his cousin. Mickey adds that "the take was light again," too. Eva snaps that fixing what Shea breaks costs money.

On the grade, Paddy and Dutch fight as a crowd cheers. Delaney gets punched in the face trying to break it up. A gunshot from Durant pierces the revelry. Durant chastises the workers and fires three who challenge him, ordering the rest back to work. He sends Delaney to the office: "At least you can't embarrass me there."

Cullen brings Chang's demands to Huntington, cautioning against making Chang a part owner. Huntington says he doesn't care how they get the railroad moving again. Cullen asks Jim to bring him the incoming freight schedule.

Cullen tells Tao and Mei that Chang is willing to let them sit until he receives an ownership stake in the railroad. Huntington won't approve the workers' raise, but Cullen will guarantee their other requests. Tao sees Chang watching them and tells Cullen he can't help.

Beside Pratt's coffin, Phineas confesses to the Swede that he tried to prepare a memorial sermon but has trouble reading and writing. The Swede suggests Phineas was not born to read the words of others, but instead to "speak from the heart."

At the depot, Cullen stops Chang from unloading a supply train and impounds the cargo, which is on CP property. The Chinese must work if they want to eat.

In the Laramie saloon, Mickey gets Paddy and Dutch to shake hands over a drink. He explains their argument to Durant, who observes Mickey's keen understanding of the workers. Durant offers him Delaney's old foreman job. Mickey declines but recommends Shea instead. Durant agrees to try him.

Eva fishes Shea's thumb scoop out of Josie and orders her to keep Shea out of her room. Eva mentions that the take was light again, but Josie insists she's innocent. Eva ransacks the room looking for the extra cash, eventually finding it in Josie's boot. "I'm not stealing from you," Josie protests. Eva grabs Josie's face and warns, "Don't mistake me for soft, Josie. Or stupid."

That evening, Psalms flirts with Mary at a bar in the Freedmen camp. Louise interrupts to ask Mary for information about Samuel. Mary agrees in exchange for Louise's hair comb. She tells Louise that Samuel's come from the Central Pacific.

That night, Mickey reassigns Shea to the foreman job. Shea protests but reluctantly agrees. Mickey gives him money to fix his tooth.

The next day on the grade, Shea singles Dutch out and beats him unconscious as Durant watches from afar. "My name's Johnny Shea and I'm your new foreman," he shouts, "This is what happens if you screw off on my watch."

Chang hands out rifles to Chinese workers. Tao cautions, "Attack the train and white men will burn this place to the ground." Chang argues the white men don't respect them and are now stealing their food, but Tao adds, "And would not make you their partner in the railroad." Chang incites the crowd, but Mei says he wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for Tao. Mei warns Tao that Chang could start a war.

Tao tells Cullen and Jim that Chang is arming men to come take the food -- but Tao has another way to resolve the situation. He takes Cullen out to the Chinese graveyard and explains their custom of honoring the dead. "If living Chinese can't have the same respect as white men, maybe the dead can," Tao says.

Cullen returns just as Chang and the armed Chinese approach the supply car where Jim and his own riflemen are waiting. Tao and Mei spread the word amongst the still-seated Chinese. Cullen opens the supply car and the unarmed workers file forward past Chang. Cullen tells Huntington that the railroad will now ship the Chinese dead back to their home villages -- an expensive solution but still "cheaper than a million dollar raise."

Phineas gives a moving burial sermon about coming together against the odds and taking charge of fate.

Cullen supervises as the Chinese corpses are exhumed and prepared for their return home. Tao and Chang bow thanks.

Mary's stagecoach approaches the smoldering remains of a wagon with bloody bodies spread around. Mary jumps out and examines a corpse -- it's one of the Irish workers who tried to hang Chang. On his chest lies a red tile.