"A New Birth of Freedom"
Written by: John Shiban
Directed by: Phil Abraham

Previous episode: Next episode:
Immoral Mathematics Jamais Je Ne T'oublierai


(EXT–Establishing shot of Hell on Wheels at night; Johnson's former tent/office, now BOHANNON's)

(CUT TO: INT–BOHANNON’s tent/office)

(BOHANNON is going through Johnson’s things. He flips through books but doesn’t find what he’s looking for. He puts his fingers to his brow before opening a box. There are papers and newspaper clippings, one reading “Strange Murder in Capital: Union Veteran Shot in Confessional”. He sighs and then notices a secret panel in the lid of the box. It contains a picture of people at Lincoln’s deathbed, Daniel Johnson in his Union captain’s uniform, and a photo of a Union army company.)

(BOHANNON remembers killing three of the men in the picture: Corporal Buckton Prescott in the confessional in Washington D.C., Private Wustner while he was in an outhouse, and Lieutenant Tanner while he lay in bed. Only one man remains, Sergeant Harper, but his face is blurred. BOHANNON folds the picture in half.)

Act IEdit

(EXT–Hell on Wheels, the next day)

(The engine moves along the track as another day begins in Hell on Wheels. Blacksmiths forge in the open air and people go about their business. Reverend Nathaniel Cole is preaching to the people in Hell on Wheels from outside his church tent, though no one is paying much attention. Across the road, Mickey McGinnes dumps out a bucket while his brother, Sean, stands nearby outside their Magic Lantern Show tent.)

COLE Good morning, sinners! I can say that because I’m a sinner too. I know the dark path of drink and debauchery. I traveled it well. Now, I’m on the path to God’s light and I invite every last one of you to come along. All are welcome: black, white, sinner, or saint. (to Mickey and Sean) Even you papists. All are welcome in God’s house.

MICKEY Thank you, Father. I mean, Reverend.

SEAN (to MICKEY) Glad our dear, sweet mother wasn’t here to see that.

MICKEY What? (wipes hands on a cloth) I was being polite. Why are you always on me arse?

SEAN The house was half-full last night. It’ll be half again tomorrow.

MICKEY (crosses arms) What do you want me to do about it?

SEAN Worry about it, like I do! The Swede’ll come calling, you know. Sooner rather than later.

MICKEY (nudges SEAN) That must be the new girl. The savage woman.

(Across the road, young woman with dark hair, EVA, is hanging laundry on a line.)

SEAN What d’ya mean?

MICKEY Haven’t you heard? Mr. Toole told me the whole story. She was but a girl, as white as we taken captive years ago. Sold to the highest heathen bidder, she was. Some say she was a slave. Others claim she be an Indian princess.

SEAN Oh, will you stop with your tall tales. She’s just a whore, Mick.

MICKEY Well, then go talk to her, you bastard. Make me a liar. (nods in EVA’s direction) Go on.

(Sean walks towards EVA. He looks over his shoulder and MICKEY smiles at him.)

SEAN Good morning to you.

(She turns, revealing blue tattoos on her chin. SEAN is shocked. EVA yells at him in an Indian language. SEAN, terrified, backs up and trips, falling into the mud. He gets to his feet and runs back to MICKEY, who is laughing. EVA smiles for a moment.)

(EXT–Outside BOHANNON’s tent/office)

(The railroad workers wait anxiously outside Bohannon’s tent. The men talk amongst each other, separated into crews.)

PSALMS (to the Negro cut crewmen) Buy the man a drink first, that’s what I hear. Buy the man a drink and take him out and goes savage as a meat axe on him, you hear me?

ELAM He didn’t kill Johnson.

PSALMS (to ELAM) They’s going to hang him.

ELAM They didn’t...yet.

(BOHANNON exits his tent and stops, surprised by the crowd gathered. MR. TOOLE steps forward)

TOOLE (removes his hat) Hey, Mr. Bohannon, sir. Fine day, is it not?

BOHANNON Fine or not, I guess we got a good day’s work ahead of us, huh? (puts on coat and addresses one of the walking bosses) Mr. Kretschmar, I need that rail-end leveled down to the next marker. (turns to TOOLE) Mr. Toole, I need you and your men at the end of the iron. Looks like the train’s bringing down that load of ties. Alright?

TOOLE Yes, sir, Mr. Bohannon, sir.

BOHANNON (turns to ELAM) Elam, I need you and your men...(points with hat)

ELAM (interrupting) It’s Mr. Ferguson.

BOHANNON (clearly irritated) Elam. (pause) You and your men get down in the cut.

SWEDE (off-camera) I need men. (rides up with BOLAN and Dix) Men not afraid of the heathens. Men not afraid of making some money.

BOHANNON What is this about? (leans against tent pole)

SWEDE The Fair-Haired Maiden of the West. (looks hard at BOHANNON) Mrs. Lily Bell. She has been taken captive by the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers. And Mr. Durant has promised a bounty to the men who rescue her.

BOHANNON Ain’t nobody going nowheres or there won’t be a job waiting for you when you get back.

SWEDE Dix will take a party north. Bolan south. (starts pointing to different men in the crowd) You. You, ja? You.

BOHANNON I told you, I can’t spare these men.

(The SWEDE wheels his horse and rides closer to BOHANNON.)

SWEDE Mr. Durant wants her found.

BOHANNON Mr. Durant wants a railroad built.

SWEDE (pointing to two more men) You and you.

BOHANNON (walks towards the SWEDE) No, this ain’t happening.

ELAM Boss man, let ‘em go. We can do their work and our work.

(BOHANNON turns and nods.)

BOHANNON (to the SWEDE) You get your men and get the hell out of here.

(The SWEDE gestures with his head and he and his men leave. The crowd begins to disperse)

BOHANNON One more thing, I’m looking for a man named Harper. Frank Harper? He’s a friend of Johnson’s?

TOOLE I believe he’s out with the logging crew.

BOHANNON Where’s that?

TOOLE Must be fifteen, twenty miles west of the cut by now.

(Crowd disperses to perform their different tasks. ELAM walks up to BOHANNON, who is unhitching his horse)

ELAM (quietly) Is that a bullet?


ELAM What you got for Sergeant Harper.

BOHANNON Ain’t you got some work to do? (climbs in saddle) Yours and theirs? Get to it.

(EXT–Establishing shot of DURANT’s train car)

(CUT TO: INT–DURANT’s train car)

(The TELEGRAPH OPERATOR is sending telegrams while DURANT reads over documents and the YOUNG ENGINEER works on a map. The SWEDE stands in front of DURANT’s desk.)

SWEDE People, they are scared. The Indian massacre. They seen the bodies. Heard the stories. Your stories.

DURANT I need troops.

SWEDE Seven men we lost last night. Left the employ of the Union Pacific; some on the train, others just run off. More tonight I expect. Seems the men prefer to keep their scalps on their heads.

DURANT (to YOUNG ENGINEER) Are you afraid?

YOUNG ENGINEER No, sir, Mr. Durant.


TELEGRAPH OPERATOR Well, as a matter of fact, I-I...

DURANT Enough. (to YOUNG ENGINEER) Now, why do you want to shit on my railroad?

YOUNG ENGINEER (nervously points to map of route) Uh, well, under our current pace, uh, we won’t make the forty mile mark so what uh I would propose is uh we (draws imaginary line through map) straighten the route.

DURANT The route remains the same.

YOUNG ENGINEER But Mr. Durant as I understand it, the deadline’s been pushed up and in light Central Pacific’s recent advances...

DURANT (forcefully) Keep to the plan. I’ll make it a reality.

YOUNG ENGINEER Yes, sir, Mr. Durant.

(The SWEDE stands by, smiling)

DURANT You’re amused?

SWEDE No, sir. I’m just looking forward to watching yet again as you smite the forces agin’ you.

DURANT The search continues?

SWEDE For the maps? Yeah. (nods)

DURANT For the woman, Lily Bell.

SWEDE I’ve got my men out, despite Mr. Bohannon.

DURANT Still more concerned about your killer than my railroad.

SWEDE No, sir. But whoever cut Daniel Johnson’s throat is of ongoing concern.

DURANT More importantly, is my new foreman building my railroad?

SWEDE He is. Yet, there is something about the man that does not quite add up.

DURANT (sighs, exasperated and turns to TELEGRAPH OPERATOR) To: Jordan Crane, Washington D.C. Stop. (holds brow) Honorable Senator. Work continues at a fever pace. Stop.

(CUT TO: EXT–Woods somewhere outside Hell on Wheels)

DURANT (VO) However, hostile native action threatens progress. Stop. The march of civilization in jeopardy. Stop. To heal the nation we must displace the savage. Stop. Otherwise the savage will displace us.

(It is drizzling and JOSEPH BLACK MOON rides with LILY BELL. She is unconscious and very pale.)

JOSEPH Mrs. Bell. (no response) Mrs. Bell? (pulls horse to a stop) Woah, woah.

(JOSEPH pulls LILY from the saddle and lays her on the ground. He kneels over her and removes his hat. He inspects her wounds. He hears the click of a rifle. He turns to see BOHANNON looking down the barrel of a Henry rifle.)

BOHANNON You speak English?

JOSEPH Yes, sir.

BOHANNON (gestures with rifle) Move. Who are you?

JOSEPH Joseph Black Moon.

BOHANNON Cheyenne?

JOSEPH Christian. (he approaches BOHANNON)

BOHANNON Woah, woah, woah. Hold steady. (pats down JOSEPH)

JOSEPH I’m unarmed, sir.

BOHANNON What did you do to her?

JOSEPH (confused) I-I didn’t do...

BOHANNON Hey, what did you do to her?

JOSEPH I saved her.

BOHANNON (incredulously) From the Indians?

JOSEPH Yes, sir. She took an arrow to the shoulder. I’m trying to take her to the railroad to see the doctor.

(BOHANNON looks skeptical. He kneels next to LILY and removes his hat. He feels her forehead and pulls back the neckline of her dress to examine her wound.)

BOHANNON When this happen?

JOSEPH Two, maybe three days ago.

(BOHANNON takes out a hip flask and takes a swig.)

BOHANNON My horse, there’s a field kit in the saddle bag.

(JOSEPH goes and gets the field kit. BOHANNON opens his pocketknife.)

JOSEPH Here. (hands the kit to BOHANNON)

BOHANNON Hold her down.

(JOSEPH holds down LILY by the right shoulder. BOHANNON cuts open LILY’s sutures with a pocketknife. LILY comes to.)

(CUT TO LILY’s perspective: Spinning tree tops and suddenly BOHANNON and JOSEPH’s faces. BOHANNON takes another swig from the flask, liquid dripping from his lips.)

(CUT TO regular perspective: LILY looks down at her shoulder and screams.)

(CUT TO LILY's perspective)

BOHANNON Hoah! Hold her down. Shh shh! Stop! Stop!

(CUT TO regular perspective: BOHANNON digs in LILY’s shoulder with a medical tool while she screams in agony.)


(BOHANNON pulls out a small shard of the arrowhead from her wound. She gasps in relief.)

Act IIEdit

(EXT–The cut)

(The Negro cut crew are digging the cut in the heat of the day. PSALMS, stripped down to his pants and suspenders, is complaining loudly to anyone who will listen while using a sledgehammer.)

PSALMS Now, the man say we got to do our work and theirs. But I ask ya, why ain’t that Negro ass down here with us? Y’all know who he is, that’s all I’m saying. Back in the day, them days was bad, don’t get me wrong. Master drove me hard. Nearly drove me to the grave. You hear me? Some things was better back then, at least you knew your place.

(ELAM walks up and stands above PSALMS on the side of the cut.)

ELAM Psalms! Less talk, more work.

(PSALMS stares up at ELAM and sticks the sledgehammer into the dirt.)

ELAM Bust me some stone, Negro.

PSALMS How ‘bout I bust me your head?

(ELAM walks down into the cut and stands in front of PSALMS.)

ELAM You got something to say to me?

PSALMS Yes, I do.

ELAM What would that be?

PSALMS (to other men) How come we got to do the white man work, huh? Oh, that’s right. ‘Cause you think you is the white man. Not the high yella house nigger you is.

(Explosion in the background. ELAM and PSALMS stare each other down. ELAM picks up a sledgehammer. The other men watch ELAM and match his pace.)

ELAM We got to do their work and our work but this ain’t for them. This is for us. White man ain’t gonna give you nothing. ‘Cause they want us to fall. They all want us to fall.

(EXT–Woods outside Hell on Wheels)

(It has started to drizzle and JOSEPH is building a small fire. BOHANNON carries LILY and places her on the ground. She is unconscious. He feels her forehead and touches a strand of her hair, looking down at her. He stands and moves to his horse. He mounts.)

JOSEPH Hey. Sir, you leaving?

BOHANNON Yep, somewheres I gotta be. (stars down path)

JOSEPH Thank you, for helping her.


(BOHANNON starts to ride off but stops, thinks, and wheels his horse back around.)

BOHANNON (to himself) Dammit. (to JOSEPH) You haven’t thought this thing through, have you?

JOSEPH What do you mean?

BOHANNON Indian brings that woman back to town, Indian don’t get out alive.

JOSEPH (genuinely confused) But I live there. At the church. (he stands)

BOHANNON You don’t get it do you, boy? They brought them back in yesterday on a buckboard. Everybody seen what they did to them bodies.

(JOSEPH sighs and looks away.)

BOHANNON Why cut ‘em up? Huh? What do your people get out of it?

JOSEPH You’re people have done much worse.

BOHANNON (chuckles) Huh. Maybe. (swings off out of his saddle) Maybe. (hitches horse) But that ain’t gonna keep them from skinning your ass you bring that white woman back to town. (puts his hands on his hips and sighs) I’ll have to take her.

(BOHANNON kneels by the fire. JOSEPH storms over to his horse, mounts, and rides away.)

(EXT–Hell on Wheels, night)

(PSALMS, ELAM, and other members of the Negro cut crew are walking through town after a hard day of work.)

PSALMS Explain to me why I work harder than them and they go to bed with three dollars more in their pocket than I do. Don’t make a lick of sense.

ELAM It don’t. We work as hard as them, right?

PSALMS Damn right.

ELAM Then why don’t we get the same reward?

(He indicates the whore house.)

PSALMS You crazy.

ELAM We deserve a taste, too. Huh?

PSALMS We can’t go in there.

ELAM You ain’t one of them nasty boys is you, Psalms? Now, I know you get horny. I hear you back behind that tent every night. (everyone laughs) Damn, boy, you gonna go blind. (More laughter.)

PSALMS (sarcastically) Heh heh heh. (to ELAM) Lookee here, you go in there, (points to whore house) you coming out on the bad end of a rope

ELAM You ain’t scared, is ya?

PSALMS You’re damn right I’m scared.

ELAM Well, I ain’t.

(ELAM grabs the brim of his hat in farwell and walks away.)

(INT–Whore house)

(Several men are laughing. TOOLE is finishing a story.)

TOOLE She had a face like a hatchet and an ass like a Venus, I tell you.

(The men stop talking as soon as they see ELAM.)

TOOLE What do you want, you mule-colored bastard?

ELAM To spend some hard-earned money, same as you.

TOOLE (to men) “Same as me,” he says. (to ELAM) Have you looked in the mirror lately, Mr. Ferguson? You think we the same, well then you got a big surprise coming I tell ya. (to men) Face like a coal scuttle he has.

ELAM Why don’t you just mind your damn business.

TOOLE You the man to make me?

(EVA is standing in the doorway leading to the cribs.)

EVA Well, if ain’t Mr. Toole. Watch out, ladies, he’s back. (chuckles) We call him the Blade, for he’ll gut you like a trout.

(She walks up to ELAM.)

EVA And who would you be?

ELAM You’re next customer.

(She laughs in his face.)

TOOLE Look at him. Can’t even land a cheap ass whore been plugged by every heathen buck in the territory.

(EVA’s smile has dropped. ELAM puts his hat on and leaves. EVA sadly watches him go.)

(EXT–BOHANNON and LILY’s camp in the woods outside Hell on Wheels)

(BOHANNON is tending the fire. LILY awakes and sits up. She looks around.)

BOHANNON (holds up Robert Bell’s map case) Is this what you’re looking for?

(He tosses it to her and she holds it.)

LILY My shoulder’s feeling much better. (no response) Where’s Joseph?

BOHANNON He took off.


BOHANNON Ma’am, it is way too late and way too wet to be trying to figure out some Indian, alright?

LILY I regret we haven’t been properly introduced.

BOHANNON Cullen Bohannon. I work for the railroad.

(He stands and goes to lie down.)

LILY Have I done something?

BOHANNON It ain’t what you done, it’s who you are.

LILY What do you mean?

(He looks at her for the first time in the conversation.)

BOHANNON You ain’t whore nor squaw. You shouldn’t be out here.

LILY You don’t know who I am or what I’m capable of.

BOHANNON No, I don’t and I sure as hell don’t care.

(He turns over to go to sleep, leaving LILY to sit alone by the fire.)

(EXT–Establishing shot of DURANT’s car)


(DURANT is reading telegrams from Sen. Crane and drinking.)

DURANT “Request for military support to be taken under advisement. Very concerned regarding lack of progress. Need to understand impact of surveyor loss.” The Honorable Senator is very concerned. If he were in my shoes he’d be downright suicidal.

(Goes to pour another drink but misses the glass and pours on the table.)

DURANT Damn! (sighs) Henri!

(HENRI, DURANT’s French Negro servant enters the room. DURANT gestures at the spill on the table. HENRI sighs and frowns as he mops up the spilled alcohol.)

DURANT Your look of disdain reminds me of my dear wife back in New York.

(HENRI goes and gets DURANT’s coat and helps him slip it on.)

DURANT What Hannah failed to grasp, is that where most men seek the warm glow that only whiskey can provide, I imbibe to fuel the conflagration. There’s a fire in my belly which must be fed. Otherwise, we’ll never see the Pacific.

(DURANT walks to the end of the car to exit.)

HENRI And did your wife accept this excuse, Monsieur Durant?

(DURANT stops and turns.)

DURANT As a matter of fact, she didn’t.

(EXT–Road in Hell on Wheels)

(DURANT strolls along boardwalk looking in a tent where men are drinking. He steps off the end into a big puddle. He turns at the sound of a woman laughing. It is EVA, who is dumping a bucket into the street. He regains his composure. He sees the McGinnes Brothers’ Magic Lantern Show and walks towards it.)

(INT–McGinnes Brother’s Magic Lantern Show tent)

(SEAN is counting money under a banner that lists admission at 5¢. MICKEY is putting up the benches. DURANT enters the tent.)

MICKEY Sorry, mate. You missed the last show I’m afraid.

DURANT Oh, very well, I see. (turns to go)

SEAN Mr. Durant, sir, an honor and a pleasure.

(SEAN enthusiastically shakes his hand.)

DURANT Quite an establishment you’ve got here. I’m only sorry you’re closed for the night.

MICKEY Our next show begins at dusk tomorrow.

SEAN Quiet, you daft bastard. This is Thomas “Doc” Durant. A private view he’ll be having

DURANT Thank you. Ah, how much?

MICKEY That’ll be five...

SEAN (cuts of MICKEY) Dollars. Going rate for a private show.

(DURANT chuckles but holds out the money. SEAN takes it.)

SEAN Mickey, show time.

(MICKEY flips over a bench and dims the lamps.)

SEAN I have followed your exploits and investments since I got off the boat. How you rose up from nothing, pulled yourself up by your bootstraps. You’re a gentleman and a true capitalist. (lights magic lantern and puts in the first slide)

DURANT Thank you.

DURANT (peers at image projected) Hmm. I assume you two are immigrants from this beautiful country?

MICKEY Aye. County Wicklow, to be exact.

SEAN We left our sweet mother and four brothers and set out for the New World to seek our fortune.

DURANT You left a beautiful life to come and wallow in this filth and squalor and muck.

MICKEY Well, it beats starving to death.

DURANT No, but you could have remained in New York or Boston or Chicago. There’s plenty of work to be had. Yet you chose to come here. It makes me wonder why.

SEAN Not quite sure what you mean, sir.

DURANT Well, you and thousands like have followed me out here and I’m genuinely curious, why?

SEAN Well, seemed a proper investment of our time and efforts.

MICKEY That’s not it at all. I remember it well, like it was yesterday.

SEAN What are you talking about?

DURANT What is it you remember?

MICKEY (smiles) We were just lads, me and Sean. Never been much further afield than the bit a land our father worked, God rest him. And one day, we heard the whistle. (laughs) It was the Dublin Special on its daily run. Well, we jumped the steaming bastard. It took us all the way to the city. (laughs)

SEAN Yes, I remember. I never felt so free.

DURANT The railroad gave you freedom?

MICKEY Aye. And our father gave us the whipping of a lifetime.

(EXT–Establishing shot of Hell on Wheels)

(CUT TO: INT–Church tent)

(COLE is making coffins surrounded by the bodies of the men that were killed in the massacre. JOSEPH enters and is horrified by the bodies in the tent. COLE looks up and then back at his work.)

COLE I prayed you’d stay away, my son.

JOSEPH This is my home.

COLE Not a very safe one right now for one born out of the Grace of God.

JOSEPH (confused) But I’m baptized, Father.

COLE Yeah, well, that does not always sway the cruel prejudice of others. It’s not your fault.

JOSEPH (clearly upset) But it is. They were from my band. Our Dog Soldiers, they’re the ones that did this.

COLE Your family had nothing to do with this.

JOSEPH I recognized the arrows, Father. It was my brother. (shakes head)

COLE You must tell no one. Never speak of this again.

JOSEPH But it’s the truth!

COLE Never.

(INT–JOSEPH’s quarters)

(JOSEPH cuts his hair using a tiny mirror hanging on a tent post.)

(EXT–BOHANNON and LILY’s camp, the next day)

(LILY smothers the fire by kicking dirt into the smoldering ashes. She holds the map case and looks up to see BOLAN and two men ride up. She clutches the case.)

BOLAN Well, there you are, kitty cat.

LILY What do you want?

(CUT TO: BOHANNON is in the woods smoking a cigar and turns at the sound of voices. He sees BOLAN and LILY.)


BOLAN Oh, we want you. We’ve been searching over hill and dale for the Fair-Haired Maiden of the West. We come to rescue you.

LILY I’m quite alright.

BOLAN No, you ain’t. You barely escaped massacre. You’ve been held captive. You been sullied by the heathen.

LILY You are out of order, sir.

BOLAN Listen, you ain’t come with us, we ain’t get compensated. Oh, yeah, there’s a bounty on your head now, one hundred gold eagles.

(CUT TO: BOHANNON eases his pistol out of the holster.)


BOLAN (to one of the men) Go ahead. (The man dismounts and approaches LILY with his pistol drawn. LILY responds by pulling a knife from the map case.)

BOLAN Easy now, girl. You just take it easy.

LILY Stay back.

BOLAN Easy now.

LILY Stay back!

BOLAN Now, you’re making this a lot more unpleasant than it has to be.

(BOHANNON shoots, calmly taking out the two men with BOLAN. BOLAN shoots back but misses completely. BOHANNON levels his pistol at BOLAN and shoots him in the ear. He walks over and is about to shoot BOLAN again when LILY bolts on horseback.)

BOHANNON (takes cigar from his mouth) Mrs. Bell! Dammit.

(He mounts his horse to pursue.)

BOHANNON (to horse) Come on!

BOLAN (clutching the side of his head) My ear. ear! Where is it?

(BOHANNON catches up to LILY and takes her reigns.”

BOHANNON (pulling LILY’s horse to a stop) Woah, woah, hold up there.

(LILY dismounts and staggers away from the horses. She falls to her knees and weeps. BOHANNON dismounts and stands awkwardly with the horses.)

Act IIIEdit

(EXT–Hell on Wheels)

(It is raining and men are hauling coffins to the makeshift cemetery, where plots have been readied for the coffins. COLE plunges a wooden cross over one of the graves.

COLE (VO) Death’s no stranger to this Godforsaken place. Death abides in the hard labor of a rail gang or the searing heat of a prairie fire. Death abides in the bottom of a whiskey bottle or at the smoking end of a gun. There’s death by famine, flood, or pestilence or a thousand other ways but, yes brothers, Death abides and he will reap his dark harvest.

(EXT–Somewhere outside Hell on Wheels)

(CUT TO: BOHANNON and LILY ride together, BOHANNON still holding the reigns of LILY’s horse.)

COLE (VO) But must we be Death’s accomplice? Must we do his bidding?

(CUT TO: INT–Church tent)

(A large crowd has gathered for the memorial for those slain in the massacre. COLE is speaking in front of the crowd.)

COLE I know that your hearts seek vengeance for the deaths of those men. I know, that but haven’t we had our fill of war? Our fill of killing? The shedding of blood? (picks up small Bible and kisses it) “And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will not lift up swords against nation and never again will they learn war.” Never again. It’s Isaiah, chapter two, verse four

DURANT (speaking from second to last row) “Wake up the mighty men that all the men of war draw near. Hammer your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears.” (stands) Joel, chapter three, verse ten. I too am sick of war, Reverend (moves to the front of the tent) but we must constantly ask ourselves what are we fighting for?

(EVA is looking at ELAM sadly)

DURANT What is worth laying our lives on the line for? Robert Bell gave his life for this undertaking. This grand idea. And I assure you he did not give his life in vain. For he knew what this railroad would mean to us as a nation. He knew that this railroad is a new birth of freedom. Not just the freedom of long-distance travel but the freedom to chose your fate. The freedom to make your fortunes in this untamed land. And we cannot let that freedom be threatened by ragtag bands of marauding, Stone Age primitives. (looks towards COLE and JOSEPH) But that is not to say that there is not a peaceful solution. If they will put down their sticks and stones and come into the fold like-like this young man here, (walks toward JOSEPH) then we will talk peace. Look at him, wearing our clothes, (touches JOSEPH’s coat) speaking our language, washed in the blood of our Savior. If these violent nomads roaming the plains are willing to do as he has done then there is very real hope that we might accomplish our mission peacefully. (points emphatically) If not, then they are the authors of their own destruction.

(EXT–On the outskirts of Hell on Wheels)

(LILY and BOHANNON ride past the cemetery.)

LILY It’s been months since I’ve seen such a...

BOHANNON Shit hole? Hoah. (pulls horses to a stop and gives reigns back to LILY) You be alright from here?

LILY You’re not talking me in?

BOHANNON There’s a church and a doctor straight on up ahead. (wheels his horse to go)

LILY Wait. What about the bounty?

BOHANNON I told you, I got business to attend to. Cheyenne territory. Got ‘bout four hours of daylight left. Gotta move. (spurs his horse into motion)

LILY Mr. Bohannon!

(He doesn’t even turn to acknowledge her.)

Transcribed by Defenderofmen