July 3, 2016


Hell On Wheels RECAP: “Gambit”

Fast forward to New York 1885

Time, and the crash of ‘73, has not been kind to Durant. Poverty struck so hard that he’s selling off something very dear to him.

...from one of only 3 spikes from the Transcontinental railroad. And in a demonstration of how time really doesn’t wait for anyone, the pawn shop guy has no idea what Durant is talking about. Transcontinental railroad?

Durant goes on to explain and the man responds by telling Durant that the going rate for the gold is $37.27.

“But I’ll give you 37.30 even, for the history lesson.” - pawn shop guy

What does Durant do with the money?

Buys a suit and meets Huntington for dinner in a fancy restaurant. Huntington, now older with less hair, has a brand new wife. And Durant puts on airs.

When the bill arrives, Durant insists on paying though the cost is a punch in the gut.

Evening comes

Durant has a picture of the completed railroad in his cabin.

He writes a letter and upon completion, he dies.


Who was the letter to?

What did the letter say?

Why did he pawn that piece of gold to have lunch with Huntington?

Speculative answers:

After watching this episode. I’m guessing it’s a confession letter to Campbell.

Regarding the lunch, maybe he knew he was dying and wanted to feel what he felt when he was at his height. Having dinner with someone who was part of that past railroad life might have given him something more emotionally than keeping the gold ever did. Quite sad.

Back to present:

Campbell returns

With their chief engineer, Delaney, murdered and Durant kidnapped, Mickey informs the board about the $250,000 ransom.

Mickey expects to get that money but instead gets trouble…

“I didn’t get elected by caving to demands of thugs and ransomers. When we find the men responsible, the only payment they’ll receive is swift justice.” - Campbell

Governor Campbell brings The Calvary with him, along with an Indian tracker.

The Plan is derailing

Campbell interviews people and learns that the kidnapper took Durant North.

Louise takes a look at Durant’s financial books for clues.

Eva suspects that Mickey is behind this. She confronts him and he admits the truth. But Shea was never supposed to kill anyone—that wasn’t part of the plan. Oops!

“You’ve got to kill that mad dog” - Eva to Mickey

Mickey gets angry, but knows she’s right. He rides to the cabin where Durant and Shea are to fill them in

The Calvary track the cabin but it’s a set-up. An explosive goes off and a soldier dies.

Yikes… this plan is out of control.

Campbell suspects that someone warned Shea. Add to this that Louise told him that the kidnapper was Irish.

Hmm… Mickey is Irish. Campbell has Mickey watched.

But the Governor wires for the money.

Time for a new plan

Mickey drinks with Campbell and mentions that he hasn’t seen his cousin since this whole thing started. 

Mickey sneaks out of the town to a river where Durant and Shea are.

"America's an awful bitch. I'm done with it." - Mickey
He has a side conversation with his cousin. They could take the $250,000. With it they could run things in Ireland. Shea agrees.

Hmm… sounds like Mickey is going to double-cross Durant.

Back at the town

Louise learns that Durant is dead broke. Maggie doesn’t believe it, surely Durant sold his stock to pay the ranchers… NO.

Hmm… Campbell suspects that Durant is behind his own kidnapping and changes course. He won’t give any money to this phony ransom.

Plan goes to hell in a hand basket

Maggie arrives at the ransom spot with $50,000. Mickey and Shea have their face covered. She wants Durant for the money.

But $50,000 just isn’t enough for Shea, especially when you have $250,000 on your mind.

Maggie recognizes Mickey and she realizes that Campbell is right. Durant planned this whole thing.

Durant goes for Shea’s gun… a struggle… a shot fired… Maggie’s struck.

Mickey steps in and kills Shea.

Durant runs over to Maggie, who dies.

The cover-up

Mickey and Durant are questioned by the authorities.

Mickey tells them that Shea got away with the $50,000 and the he doesn’t know where his cousin went.

But the truth is that he buried Shea in the river. Broken up about having to kill his brother and now his cousin, he breaks down in front of Eva and she responds by giving him pity? Sex or maybe she likes him or… I don’t know. But it was rough.

Campbell tells Durant that he knows Durant faked his kidnapping, but he can’t prove it, leaving Durant with one final note…

“That $50,000… She sold her hotel to save you.” - Campbell

So basically, Mickey killed his cousin and Durant watched the love of his life die over money he could have gotten by just asking Maggie for help. She loved him and was willing to sell her hotel to save him.

…Durant pays off the ranchers.


About Lisa

Passionate about movies and writing. Hopes to someday be a published writer. So when she's not staring at the tube, she's spilling her imagination onto a blank page.

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