Hell on Wheels: The Character of Cullen Bohannon (SPOILERS).

when screenwriters set out to build a


there are certain guidelines they can

follow to make that character

more lifelike and when you combine those


with the ingredients of a really great

story you sometimes end up with a


series like hell on wheels well today

we're gonna look at the ingredients that

went into building the character

of cullen bohannon played by ants and


to see why this show is so unstoppable

and at the end of the video we're going

to look at one of the most

shocking and talked about scenes of the

entire series

to see how its unexpected ending

actually makes logical sense

when you know how the character was


thanks for subscribing my name is kevin

and you've found the modern western

oh we did

evil unspeakable things

when we first meet the character cullen

bohannon in the pilot episode of hell on


we find him already hell-bent on


bohannon a confederate civil war soldier

has suffered through unimaginable

tragedy and now has come to devote his


to taking revenge the deep hatred in

bohannon's heart

fuels his intense and violent search for

those who wronged his family

and it forms the first half of the

character that show creators joe and

tony gayton

built the series around

now much of the physicality of bohannon

comes from this side of his character

his head down pissing mad stance

the ever-present pained wrinkles on his


everybody can't talk about it get the

hell back in that cut

and his perpetually mud caked battle

worn clothes

signify a harsh life that's been led

mostly outdoors

you're about daniel johnson's murder he

wants to know

either on the run why you saw spooks huh


on the chase i guess i still ain't quite

caught into the side of union blue

riding up on me

we know the premise of the show is that

bohannon has sworn to track down the

union soldiers who killed his family

where is your wife now

she's dead

the war taker a hunt that takes him out


something like that to the site of the

fledgling transcontinental railroad


it's here during his methodical hunt and

kill mission


in the muck of the frontier

that we begin to see the second half of

bohannon's character


the builder and destroyer

great stories start with carefully

designed characters

and here's the crux of the story behind

hell on wheels

what happens when you have a man who by

his nature is strong with family

a hard worker and at heart a builder

but whose life is then so bitterly

ravaged and defiled

that he's consumed by the need to


and then like all good writers do

what happens when you insert that


into the most volatile and unstable


your imagination can conceive with

endless opportunities to either build


or destroy mercilessly this is

bohannon's journey

and why we arrive in the mud pit of hell

on wheels

with the internal conflict of builder

versus destroyer in mind

watch how bohanna navigates the episodes

and the world that is created for it

just like an addict fighting through

recovery he's at times

strong-willed and focused on his desire

to build

but when he's cornered or attacked

or sometimes just drunk and exhausted

his dark nature to destroy and avenge

surfaces again

and in a nod of support to our veterans

the creators also refer to what in

modern times is called

ptsd but what was known during the civil


by another name you're suffering from

the soldier's heart mr sweden

you know what man didn't finish eating

your sorry ass

and like we've sometimes seen in our

modern world with its ups and downs

cause you yankees all taste like [ __ ]

so bohannon's internal conflict


get right with your maker mr bahn

as soon as we cut down the horse thief

you're gonna hang

i found mary where she was hanged you



confirming boy in screenwriting

another rule of character the yankees

they burned the barn but it was still


is that for the protagonist to be

victorious in the end

he must confront the core internal


there was that's holding him back

now he loft

his body's curled up his arms was

hugging his knees to his chest

and i just remember just standing there

not thinking to myself

and then he must do the hardest thing of


god's got a funny way of teaching you


he must change only when he truly

changes from within

can he succeed in a satisfying way for

the viewer

and for colin bohannon that core

internal change

i wouldn't give a [ __ ] if i was you


requires shedding the need to destroy

a tall order yeah part of the reason

that hell on wheels has been called the


western ever made is that all of these

people are in the same predicament

trying to find their humanity amidst the


and moral emptiness of the frontier

right here the creators referred to this

as finding the gems in the muck raise

the church

with all its cold wet uncomfortable

lonely and dangerous perils

you putting up a church here swimming in

mud and sin

even the house of worship shows little


what better place to convert the wicked


we do our own sharing converting around



a character torn between his two

strongest urges

the builder and the destroyer

could there be a more perfect place to

tell this story

once the writers of a great show like

hell on wheels hit their stride

they can start to achieve standout

scenes that have the ability to shock us

but by understanding the motives and

mission of the characters

we can make better sense of what's going

on and enjoy the show

even more so let's take a look at one of

the most

shocking scenes of the entire series of

hell on wheels

to see what makes colin bohannon's

character work

my name is padua new this

is season four episode 7

title elam ferguson

i got big mac i got big magic

now deep into the series the

relationship between elim and bohannon

the card in my face

all right has evolved and grown colin

bohannon for bohannon's character this


i hear of you has become extremely


i've been friends a long time in fact

perhaps one of the deepest friendships

of his life

you try it's worth noting that some

critics have called their relationship

revisionist of the time

with the writers adding decidedly modern

values to a story

that would have taken place over 150

years ago

it's complicated

in his mind he'll fight you if he's


and that is his choice feel the

perimeter when he makes a run

that man right there

that's my friend this revisionist


is what allows for elim and bohannon to

experience what comes


okay you have 15 minutes

in this scene it's bohannon's two sides

that are doing open battle

i can't promise you i won't shoot but

i'll cover you as best i can you ain't

my boss

no i'm a friend you're a white devil

you ain't you're nothing what's up for

me and mine no you're gonna pay today

you're gonna pay there's the builder who

sees a future for both him and

elam we see the builder trying over and

over to

fix the problem

to make things right

wake up and to save his friend

and then there's the destroyer the

revenge seeking fighter

who has a lifetime of hate guilt and


always threatening to take over the

tension grows relentlessly

as the builder struggles to prevail

i'm sorry

but in the final test of bohannon's

inner conflict

in this paramount scene that marks actor


exit from the show

one side must prevail

is it yet time for bohannon to change

powerful stuff yeah and one hell of a

show by amazing writers

we're talking about this stuff on

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kevin flint

and looking for my ugly mug thanks for