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Thomas Durant

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Thomas "Doc" Durant
Status: Alive
Occupation: Financier
Railroad Promoter
Marital status: Married
Relatives: Hannah Durant - wife
Behind the scenes
Portrayed by: Colm Meaney
Seasons: 1, 2
First episode: "Pilot"
Last episode: "Cholera"
Appearances: 20 episodes (see below)

Thomas "Doc" Durant is the former head of the Union Pacific Railroad and board member of the Crédit Moblier of America.

BiographyEdit

Background informationEdit

Durant grew up in extreme poverty in Hell's Kitchen in New York City. One day while rummaging through the garbage for food, a gentleman told Durant he would give him a penny if he would eat a rotten apple. He identifies that incident as a crucial turning point in his life knowing that he "would have it all and on [his] terms". He held onto the penny as a reminder until he mockingly gave it to a crestfallen and defeated Senator Jordan Crane. ("Revelations")

Season 1Edit

Main article: Season 1

Durant attempts to raise more capital for the railroad, citing that it was the only way to heal the nation after the Civil War. He attempts to get the head of the congressional railroad commission, Senator Jordan Crane, to award all major railroad building contracts to Durant's construction company, Crédit Mobilier. In exchange, he promises two hundred shares in the company. When Crane balks at the low price, Durant tells him he will route the railroad around Nebraska, if necessary, which would be detrimental to Crane as he just purchased significant land holdings there, knowing they would increase in value as soon as they became accessible to the railway. Crane agrees to take the bribe but Durant lowers the price to one hundred shares out of spite.

As Durant travels by rail, he berates his lead Engineer for planning a railroad that is too straight. The surveyor protests that surrounding land is flat and no detours are necessary. Durant, however, wants the rail to detour as much as possible because he is paid by the mile. He fires the lead surveyor and promotes a Young Engineer to the position.

On his train, Durant receives word that his surveyor Robert Bell is dead and that no maps were found at the scene. Distraught over this news, Durant orders his train to head to Hell on Wheels. ("Pilot")

Durant struggles with a workforce that is terrified of Indian attack, due to the exaggerated stories he has fed the papers in order to get troops sent to protect the railroad. Durant is also deterred by the still missing maps, as Mrs. Lily Bell has yet to be located. Durant send a telegram to Crane asking for troops, in hopes that the work will be able to continue on if the Indians are removed from the scenario; however, Durant's hopes are not realized and instead receives a reply from Crane, who is "very concerned regarding lack of progress".

Attempting to clear his head with a stroll through town, he meets Sean and Mickey McGinnes. They describe the freedom of riding the railroad in Ireland, boosting Durant's spirits. Later, at the memorial service for those who were killed in the Cheyenne attack on the surveyor's camp, Durant takes over Reverend Nathaniel Cole's sermon and turns it into a motivational speech, attempting to rally the workers to continue work on the railroad and that the Indians will be dealt with if they do not conform to white ways. ("A New Birth of Freedom")

Season 2Edit

Main article: Season 2

Season 3Edit

Main article: Season 3

Durant has been imprisoned for embezzling money and defrauding the government. ("Big Bad Wolf")

AppearancesEdit

Season 1 appearances
"Pilot" "Immoral Mathematics" "A New Birth of Freedom" "Jamais Je Ne T'oublierai" "Bread and Circuses"
"Pride, Pomp and Circumstance" "Revelations" "Derailed" "Timshel" "God of Chaos"
Season 2 appearances
"Viva La Mexico" "Durant, Nebraska" "Slaughterhouse" "Scabs" "The Railroad Job"
"Purged Away with Blood" "The White Spirit" "The Lord's Day" "Blood Moon" "Blood Moon Rising"
Season 3 appearances
"Big Bad Wolf" "Eminent Domain" "Range War" "The Game" "Searchers"
"One Less Mule" "Cholera" "It Happened in Boston" "Fathers and Sins" "Get Behind the Mule"

QuotesEdit

Durant: Why do you want to shit on my railroad?

Behind the ScenesEdit

Thomas "Doc" Durant is loosely based on the historical figure, Thomas C. Durant, who was vice president of Union Pacific Railroad in 1869 when it met with the Central Pacific Railroad. The real Durant was not born into poverty in New York's Hell's Kitchen, but was born in upstate New York to a well-to-do family. This difference aside, he was "associated with virtually every accusation of bribery, fraud and scandal during and after construction", much like the fictional Durant [1].

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

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