Hell on Wheels is an American Western television series about the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States. The series, which featured Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Common, and Dominique McElligott, chronicled the Union Pacific Railroad and its laborers, mercenaries, prostitutes, surveyors, and others who lived, worked, and died in the mobile encampment, called "Hell on Wheels", that followed the railhead west across the Great Plains. In particular, the story focused on Cullen Bohannon (Mount), a former Confederate soldier who, while working as foreman and chief engineer on the railroad, initially attempted to track down the Union soldiers who murdered his wife and young son during the American Civil War. The series, which broadcast in the United States and Canada on the cable channel AMC, aired from November 6, 2011 to July 23, 2016.
The series was created and produced by Joe and Tony Gayton, and developed by Endemol USA, under the stewardship of senior vice-president of scripted programming Jeremy Gold, and it is produced by Entertainment One and Nomadic Pictures. In 2012, AMC announced creators Joe and Tony Gayton were no longer involved in the day-to-day production of the series. On December 12, 2012, AMC announced that writer John Wirth would take over as showrunner for the third season.
Season one (2011–12) began in 1865, shortly after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, season two (2012) covered 1866, seasons three (2013) and four (2014) opened in 1867, season five (2015–16) carries the series into 1869. On November 7, 2014, Hell on Wheels was renewed for a fifth and final season comprising 14 episodes, split between 2015 and 2016.