Thanks to Netflix, I am officially hooked on Hell On Wheels. This is unfortunate because last weekend was the season two finale and well, season three may not happen. Although, there are hints that there’s been plans for season three. But this still means months and months and months of waiting till there’s a new episode.
Set after the American Civil War, Hell On Wheels is about a revenge seeking cowboy named Cullen Bohannon who talks his way into a foreman position building the Central Pacific Railway. The real beauty of Hell on Wheels is the morally corrupt community of railway workers, whores and other hanger-ons.
Here’s a Hell On Wheels reading list to tie you over:
The Civil War: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
This one’s pretty obvious. But I have to admit that I’ve only seen the movie. Gone with the Wind is based in the same time period of Hell On Wheels and taught me more about American history than any textbook. There aren’t many cowboys in Gone with the Wind but Scarlett O’Hara is so badass, you won’t miss them.
The Hooker with a Heart of Gold: The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay
One of the best characters on the show is Eva who starts off as a whore with a good heart. With a tragic past and a crazy chin tattoo (product of being enslaved by Natives), Eva fearlessly sticks up for the aristocratic Lily Bell. Moth from The Virgin Cure escapes from a boss who tortures her and becomes a high class whore – whereby her virginity is up for bids. But Moth is such a beautiful, vulnerable character that you can’t help but route for her. Read review.
The Cynical Cowboy: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
Although Hell On Wheels doesn’t always have the best scripting, there are nuggets of gold. Because cowboys rarely have anything to say but when they speak, they have to offer over simplified and brilliant insights. The Sisters Brothers features two brothers who are cowboy assassins. The brothers offer hilarious insight into some pretty tragic circumstances. Read review.
The Southern Charm: The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus
Another book I haven’t read but have heard great things about. While I always knew the Confederates had lost the Civil War, it’s easy to forget that they also lost a way of life. The Oldest Confederate Widow gives an account for what the South lost and what it meant.
Oh and if the show doesn’t return for a third season, there’s also a never-ending list of Western Romances: