• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Nov 6, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
Hell on Wheels Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 149 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: Colm Meaney, Jennifer Ferrin, Anson Mount
  • Summary: Seeking the killer of his wife, ex-Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) goes west and soon finds himself at Hell on Wheels, the temporary town that followed the construction of the transcontinental railroad as it moved westward.
  • Genre(s): Drama
  • Creator: Tony Gayton, Joe Gayton
  • Show Type: Between Seasons
  • Season 1 premiere date: Nov 6, 2011
  • Episode Length: 60
  • Air Time: 09:00 PM
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Sep 21, 2011
    Though imbued with epic sweep, Hell on Wheels is a western at heart, even if that heart is cold.
  2. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Nov 3, 2011
    Solid cast, intriguing premise, and--best of all--the Old West. Should easily be another winner for AMC.
  3. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Nov 3, 2011
    Hell on Wheels is a big and ambitious stab at the genre, with a lot going on and much to recommend.
  4. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Nov 3, 2011
    Not content to exploit their subject's inherent themes, the series' fraternal creators, Joe and Tony Gayton, have adhered them promiscuously, pasting neon Post-it indications of symbolic import in a way that obscures moments of straightforward drama.
  5. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Nov 4, 2011
    I found parts of this series I could get invested in. You might find even more. Just don't go in expecting more than heck on wheels.
  6. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Nov 4, 2011
    While the diverse mix of characters could work to the program's advantage over the long haul, jumping to and fro among them creates a diluted, herky-jerky ride in the early going.
  7. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Nov 4, 2011
    It's good at being tedious.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 39
  2. Negative: 6 out of 39
  1. Mar 23, 2013
    Amazing show, loved both seasons, wish AMC would put more episodes per season tho. Everyone I tell about the show, loves it, you've got a decent show here AMC. Expand
  2. Mar 21, 2013
    Hell on Wheels is a very captivating show. The characters are great and the authenticity of the era is so realistic. I can hardly wait until this show comes back on TV. Expand
  3. Nov 8, 2011
    The best premiere of the year. AMC se ha vuelto a lucir esta vez, respira un aire a Deadwood, espero que la iguale. la auguro un buen futuro a la serie, espero que la AMC la trate bien Collapse
  4. Nov 28, 2011
    Great show. Nice to have a western. Just dont care for the actor playing the head guy on the train with the Shakesperian like accent. I love all the interesting charactors, and its well written. Visually quite beautiful, too. Expand
  5. Mar 7, 2012
    Building a railway through the whole country connecting the west and east is a difficult undertaking. Especially when you're fighting against Indians and have to manage the corruption. Set in the 1860s this is what the series is about. A man searching for the murderers of his wife, a railway built through the country and Indians fighting against it. Brilliant settings and characters, realistic plot and action. Definitely worth to watch it. Expand
  6. Jan 21, 2013
    Vampires who don't drink blood, werewolves who kill only game, serial killers who hunt only other killers: lately, TV likes its predators de-fanged, de-clawed, and loaded with conscience. So it was with approval that I watched the hero of AMC's new series, a former Confederate soldier on a mission of vengeance, shoot a man point-blank in a confessional. No kinder, gentler predation here, no sir! And it was with equal dismay that I learned our hero had freed his slaves a year before the war, as though the only way audiences can sympathize with a southern veteran is to give him northern values (and a dead northern wife). I don't know about any of you, but I am weary of TV executives' assumption of moral and intellectual idiocy in the viewing public. Note to Hollywood: our tiny brains can manage to sympathize with a Confederate veteran without immediately wanting to repeal the 13th Amendment. "Hell on Wheels" would be a lot better if it stopped dividing characters into bad guys who never met a racist slur they didn't like and good guys who could, after a bath and a week in detox, teach ethnic studies at UCLA. Things were much more muddled right after the Civil War, as former enemies, former slaves and former masters, immigrants, beleaguered natives, fortune-hunters, and scoundrels dealt with new social realities. Fortunately, not much more is needed to make "Hell on Wheels" genuinely compelling. Visually, it's breathtaking, contrasting the unspoiled landscape all around with the local human squalor of the camp. It has a range of compelling characters played by competent (or better) actors. Though scripts still seem a little unfocused, the story of the transcontinental railway, as well as the individual stories of its builders, supporters, and detractors, are unusually promising for a new series. I'll be watching and hoping that the many critical comparisons to "Deadwood" turn out to be apt. Expand
  7. Oct 10, 2013
    I have enjoyed this show despite some historical inaccuracies. Seasons 1&2 are great, but season 3 has ruined it for me. Let me explain: My ancestors were Mormon. One such ancestor join the Mormon faith Missouri and a short time there after was a Captain in the Mormon Militia. After Governor Boggs signed the "Mormon Extermination Order", a law that made it legal to kill Mormons up to 1976 in the state of Missouri, my ancestor left Missouri and settled in Nauvoo, IL. He was a farmer by trade, but once again he served as a Captain of the Nauvoo Legion. He was even charged with the protection of Joseph Smith Jr. Prior to being cast out of Nauvoo, my ancestor was ordained a High Priest in the Nauvoo Temple and was sealed to his wife for time and all eternity (an ordinance that can only happen in the temple according to the Mormon faith). My ancestor then left for the Salt Lake Valley in Utah. There he was once again a Captain and he establish logging business. He owned a canyon that still bares his name (even though it is misspelled). The reason that I gave this score is due to not just the complete historical inaccuracy of the Mormons, but the defamation of their story. The Mormons were commissioned to build much of the rail road, in-fact the two rail ways finished in Salt Lake City. But there are some points that I must make clear: (1) Bishops never had that kind of authority, the authority to kill people (2) One cannot become a Mormon without being Baptized into the church (3) Being sealed for time and all eternity cannot happen in a city square or by a Bishop. It has to happen in a Temple by a Temple Sealer. (4) Mormons were anti-slavery and never kidnapped people.

    Ask yourself this: If this show had gotten the Jewish Faith, Catholic Faith, Protestant Faith, or Native American Faith this wrong; would the rest of these scores be this high? I think not. I watched the entire season to see if things would turnaround, they did not. Season 3 is nothing short of hate speech, but then I guess many people dislike and misunderstand the Mormon community. Maybe some of you will agree with me, but my bet is that most of you just won't care.

    Shame on those that made this show, they just didn't care to get it right or they were actively attacking the Mormon religion.

See all 39 User Reviews