Characters: Hell on Wheels
Played by: Anson Mount
- Anti-Hero: Type IV. Shades of Type III and Type V depending on his mood. He's brutal, vengeange-obsessed and sometimes an asshole, but he is still fighting for the right cause.
- Asskicking Equals Authority
- Cartwright Curse: His first wife is murdered by renegade Union men, along with their children. He later falls in love with Lily Bell, who is murdered by The Swede. His bond with Ruth Cole was kept from developing into romance after he is forced into marrying Naomi, the Mormon girl he got pregnant. He only learns Ruth had feelings for him the night before she is executed for killing a man. After this he tries to find Naomi and his son, but can't locate them after their Mormon community scattered after disease and Indian attacks ravaged them. It's possible they're already dead.
- Death Seeker: Becomes one very briefly in season 2, due to murdering an innocent man and feeling nothing about it.
- A Father to His Men: Becomes this when he becomes Head Engineer.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Elam eventually
- Guile Hero:
- Very cunning when he's not blinded by vengeance, not to mention his knowledge of American history and warfare.
- Season 2 provides further proof to this with him playing Durant and the workers like a fiddle, then executing The Plan he set up to get the workers back to their jobs. It works like a charm.
- Honor Before Reason: He marries and stays with Naomi out of honor. Even she notes he could just leave her.
- I Did What I Had to Do: This is mostly his defense when asked about all the murders he had to commit in Hell On Wheels.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is by no means a gentle person, but deep down, he knows what's right.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Bohannon has a extremely pessimistic worldview and trusts no one, but this doesn't keep him from helping those in need.
- Mr. Fanservice: He is the character with the biggest amount of shirtless scenes. Which surprises no one, considering Anson Mount's muscular physique.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Once he realizes just what he summoned when he asked for Major Bendix's help.
- Nice Hat: Bohannon has a minor obsession with hats, and he always grabs a hold of one.
- Revenge Before Reason: Bohannon overrides any sense of self-preservation or logic if revenge is the reward. This in particular blows up ons his face when he murders a innnocent man because of the illusion this man killed his wife.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Cullen participated in the slaughter of wounded soldiers and medics. It is evident this didn't do him good.
- The Sociopath: He isn't even close to being this, but expresses fear of becoming one after not feeling guilty for his brutal murder of an innocent man.
- Unscrupulous Hero: He will do everything it takes for the railroad.
- Sociopathic Hero: Sometimes gets to this point when his actions get more and more extreme.
- Warrior Poet: A very well-read soldier.
Thomas "Doc" Durant
Played by: Colm Meaney
- Affably Evil: He is a true gentleman, charming and polite even as profiteering of the slaughter of indians.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Regarding Mrs. Bell.
- Anti-Villain: A Type I, being a businessman at heart, he keeps his promises.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Fights for his Railroad with tooth and nail.
- Big Bad: Is shaping up to be this for the third season.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Did it at the end of the first episode. Has not done it since.
- Card-Carrying Villain: If you want him to play the villain, he'll gladly do it.
- The Chessmaster: While he routinely suffers from Didn't See That Coming, Durant can outgambit people with the best of them.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: His Corrupt Corporate Executive credentials are all Truth in Television. The real Durant did set up Credit Mobilier to pay himself for building his own railroad, he did use "oxbow" curves to arbitrarily increase the length of the railroad and get more government money, he did bribe senators, and (as mentioned by Bohannon in their first meeting) he did make a lot of money smuggling embargoed cotton out of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He has a few (very few) lines he will not cross.
- Face-Heel Turn: He was always something of a Jerkass with some soft spots, but as of the third season, he has also decided to destroy Bohannon. Most of his Pet the Dog moments also vanished with the death of Lily Bell.
- Jerkass: While he can be quite a gentleman, Durant cares about profit first and foremost, and he loves to remind people of such.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he is very arrogant, corrupt and self-serving, Durant does have empathy and will show compassion when he has no reason to.
- Large Ham: Half the appeal of the series is watching Colm Meaney chew the scenery.
- Manipulative Bastard: As his interactions with Senator Crane demonstrate, Durant is a master of psychological manipulation.
- Not Me This Time: When a Marshall confronts him over a particular crime, Durant notes he has no clue what he's talking about. Ironically, for the one time in the series, Durant is telling the truth. Doesn't save him from the Marshall's wrath, though.
- Pet the Dog: Most of his interactions with Mrs. Bell show his kinder nature.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Durant he seeks profit, and nothing more. He won't go out of his way to be evil if it doesn't involve acquiring posessions. However, the same goes for being good.
- Rags to Riches: He wasn't always a rich railroad baron.
- Railroad Baron: As mentioned under corrupt corporate executive, he's paying himself to build a railroad with government subsidies.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Bribes senators
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: He know many senators and others.
- Took a Level in Badass: He was mostly a Non-Action Guy but in the second season finale he fights the Sioux on his own accord, with a rifle without backing down
Played by: Common
- Anti-Hero: While Fergurson's plight as a black man in the 1800s is very sympathetic and he has a good sense of morals, he has a tendency to be very selfish and violent.
- Badass Preacher: Not an official Preacher, but he served as one in his youth.
- Character Death: Maybe, maybe not.
- In the episode "Elam Ferguson" he is gunned down by Bohannon after going mad, shortly after he was revealed to have survived his encounter with the bear at the end of season three.
- Covered In Scars: After the bear attack.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: After going half a season thinking he got eaten by a bear, we finally discover he survived the attack, but the injuries he sustained likely left him with PTSD. This combined with the fact that he apparently developed amnesia after being rescued, nursed back to health and converted by the Comanches. He later returns to Cheyenne, clearly deranged and attempting to sell three women as if they were slaves. After repeated attempts to get through to him, a fight escalates between him and Bohannon, and ends when Bohannon shoots Elam.
- Eye Scream: After being attacked by a bear, his eye is left blinded and pulpy white.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Bohannon.
- Never Found the Body: After going after Bohannon, he was never found. He is shown in season 4 to have been taken in by Comanches after his fight with a bear and slowly going out of his mind, which ends very badly for him once he decides to return to Cheyenne.
Played by Dominique McElligott
- Character Death: choked by The Swede
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Graphically choked by The Swede.
- Damsel out of Distress: Lily Bell stabs the man who killed her husband with his own arrow, treks however many miles alone and sews up her own wound before she's rescued.
- Determinator: Crawled through some five miles of mud, with an arrow wound on her hand, starving and without water, as she was pursued by Indians. Most people would go home and rest after such a experience. Mrs.Bell instead went right back to work.
- Determined Homesteader's Wife: Was this, until her husband died in the first episode. She then spends the rest of the show as a Determined Widow
- Guile Heroine: Lily is clever enough to impress Durant, and is matches him in knowledge of economics and psychology. A fitting example being when she escaped a murder attempt by convicing the assassin to side with her.
- Horrible Judge of Character: She trusts The Swede; not a particularly smart thing to do.
- Proper Lady Snarker: Moresoever around Durant, but it's there.
- Lady and a Scholar: The most educated person on Hell on Wheels, as well as the kindest.
- Number Two: To Durant, until Hanna comes along.
- Sacrificial Lion: Her death is the final straw on Bohannon's sanity, and The Swede's final work.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Bell is a Proper Lady of highest kind, polite and civil in all occasions, but do not try to push her around, for she ''will' fight back with all she has.
Played by: Tom Noonan
- The Alcoholic: for the first half of the second season
- The Atoner: his attempts to assist the Sioux and kidnap/kill Durant could be seen as his attempt to atone for his inability to help the Cheyenne in the first season
- Badass Preacher: He's a priest who fights with a rapier.
- The Cameo: In flashback form in Season 4, Episode 11 back to his days in Bleeding Kansas.
- Character Death: Near the end of the second season.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Showing signs of this in season 2.
- Cool Sword: A magnificent rapier is his "weapon of choice".
- Despair Event Horizon: After the Cheyenne's attack on the railway
- Disappeared Dad: was one to his daughter, until she turned up in Hell on Wheels
- Disc One Final Boss: He is slain, but the Sioux aren't even half-way done by the time he dies
- Face-Heel Turn: Started off as one of the most moral white characters of the series, ended up as one of the most villainous.
- Famous Last Words: "Behold...your legacy."
- God's Hands Are Tied: What he comes to believe after crossing the Despair Event Horizon.
- Good Shepherd: He tries but can't quite pull it off because of his lack of faith strength.
- Go Out with a Smile: He dies with a wide grin on his face.
- Heel Realization: Right before his death, he apologizes for his sins to Ruth, saying he's been a horrible father.
- If Jesus Then Aliens: Averted. Despite being a minister, he doesn't believe in urban legends.
- Knight Templar: "The glory of the Lord will be revealed and all the people will see it, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Indeed.
- Odd Friendship: With The Swede.
- Only Sane Man: The matter is Indians where he is the only person to even consider the possibility of peace.
- Preacher Man: Started off as this, gets more ambiguous as season progresses.
- Sanity Slippage: After the Cheyenne Attack on the railroad, he becomes unhinged and becomes alcoholic. It only gets worse and worse from there.
- Straight Edge Evil: Played with. He starts his sanity slippage and descent into evil by drinking himself to oblivion, but is little more than a Cloud Cuckoo Lander at that point, he only becomes truly evil after he stops drinking.
- Those Two Guys: Hangs about with The Swede in season 2.
- Tragic Villain: He was driven into villainy by the sheer cruelty of the world he lived in, and because of his alcoholism
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He tries to kill Durant to end the massacre of the Indians.
Joseph Black Moon
- The Atoner: For his past misdeeds as a proud and brave Indian Warrior.
- Shoot the Dog: Or knife the Reverend rather, the only way to stop his murderous rampage.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Ruth. Fate always intervenes when they're about to get together.
Played by: Robin McLeavy
- Bi the Way: Seems willing to sleep with Louise in a moment of grief, but Louise refuses.
- Butt Monkey: Suffers one indignity and trauma after another, especially in season four in which she no longer has her baby, loses Elam twice, is violently raped, and becomes a cold, reckless drunk.
- The Cynic: Gradually turns into one over the course of the series. And it's not as if she started out as a Wide-Eyed Idealist either.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: She was captured by a Native tribe when she was younger and they tattooed her chin with her worth, three horses and a blanket. This sets her apart from her fellow white people.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: She's a Nice Girl and a prostitute.
- Out of Focus: In season four, when she spends most of her time grieving over Elam and sinking deeper into depression.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: With Mickey at the end of season four.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Elam; he's black and she's white in the racist 1860's
- Tattoo as Character Type: The tattoo on Eva's mouth, signifying her history as a captive living amongst the Native Americans.
- Your Cheating Heart: Cheats on Toole
Played by: Duncan Ollerenshaw
Played by: Gerald Auger
Sean and Mickey McGinness
Played by: Ben Esler & Phil Burke
- The American Dream: Two Irish immigrants trying to make it big in America. They both end up as Deconstructions of the concept.
- Badass: Mickey post-character development. In season four he even makes short work of a Federal Marshall.
- Badass Boast: "I built my fortune from nothing, and I'll do it again. This time without the likes of you, or Durant." Says Mickey in season four.
- Benevolent Boss: As far as whores go, Mickey is often remarked as being a very good pimp.
- Berserk Button: Do not mess with Mickey's Casino.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Mickey. Just ask the Butcher (whom he butchered) Or Carl (whom he blackmailed for being an asshole).
- Brains and Brawn: Sean is the brains, Mickey is the brawn. This is Lampshaded by Sean early in the second season. The dynamic is played with later, when Mickey acquires a better sense of judgement than Sean in a few occasions and fully subverted in Season 3 where Mickey becomes far more intelligent than Sean, who is much more prone to mistakes.
- Cain and Abel: Season 3 sees the brothers getting increasingly more antagonistic towards each other. In the end, the Abel kills the Cain: Mickey shoots Sean when he gets out of control.
- Character Death: Mickey kills Sean.
- The Chew Toy: Sean can't catch a break from mid-season 2 onwards.
- Character Development: Mickey starts the show as very naive, easily scared and bumbling, but as his time on Hell On Wheels passed by, he became a much more assertive and clever man.
- Despair Event Horizon: Sean goes flying across it when Mickey abandons him to his fate.
- Did You Just Flip Off Durant?: Mickey is a pimp, Durant is a master manipulator and one of the wealthiest and most influential men in America who could destroy him with a flick of his wrist, yet Mickey is not afraid to lay the verbal smackdown on Durant, and he barely flinches when Durant makes his (very serious) threats.
- Greed: Sean's main motivation. It makes him a Jerkass.
- Kick the Dog: Sean trying to profit off people's mysery.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Sean goesn't get to finish his confession before Mickey shoots him dead.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: In season four, after losing his quarrel with John Campbell upon the arrival of union soldiers, Mickey accepts defeat and decides to leave Cheyenne with his whores, his Dead Rabbit friend and Eva.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Sean suffers from this. Unless stalking people in the night is a sign of sanity.
- The Mole: Sean, to Durant in season 3.
- Nice Guy: Mickey treats everyone with respect and a warm smile.
- Noodle Incident: Mickey did something in Boston. We're never told what, exactly. Until season 3's "It happened in Boston", in which Mickey explains to us that Sean fell in love with two girls, did some horrifying crime to both of them in a fit of rage.
- Not So Different: Sean had a burning hatred for the Swede and his way of doing business, but after the Swede is down, he ends up conducting business with the same methods. He does not realize the similarity.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Mickey, when he becomes the chief of the whorehouse.
- Self-Made Man: Mickey bececomes Mayor of Cheyenne.
- Those Two Guys: They're always together. As noted by Brains and Brawn, there's a reason for this.
- Took a Level in Badass: Due to his Character Development, Mickey became quite clever and hard to catch, impressing even Durant. By season four he's a small-scale chessmaster.
- The Sociopath: Very likely Mickey. It is strongly implied that he murdered the two girls in Boston and later shot his brother in the back when Sean was on the verge of revealing it to Ruth. His creepy conversation with Eva about how "all women are whores, except my mum" while bathing her after she's raped is just as telling. On top of all this, we must also consider his willingness to do things like assassinate people and dismember corpses.
- Spanner in the Works: Mickey is indirectly the cause for the assault on Durant, due to his murder of Jessup.
- Stalker with a Crush: Sean on Ruth.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Mickey has the brotherly variation of this, always seeking Sean's approval. He seems to have grown out by season 3.
- Wild Card: In season four, Mickey decides to give a metaphorical middle finger to both Campbell and Durant, and play things to his own advantage.
Played by: Dohn Norwood
- Ascended Extra: He was a fairly minor character, but from around season three to four, he became one of the major characters.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Psalms is easy going, but not someone you'd want to anger.
- A Day in the Limelight: It's not much, but season three's "Searchers" sees him having more screentime and characterization than usual, complete with a Motive Rant.
- The Lancer: To Elam.
- Meaningful Name: According to himself, his name was chosen by his mother, in homage to a bible verse where God swears to punish the wicked. Thus, Psalms is a very justice focused man.
- Only Friend: To Fergurson. In season four he becomes this for Bohannon.
- Rank Up: He becomes one of the worker-bosses in season four.
- Scary Black Man: Heroic, but Lord in heaven do not piss him off...
- Torture Technician: He's very good at it.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: His relationship with Elam.
Played by: Kasha Kropinski
- Badass Preacher: for most of the show's run, she is a fairly pacifistic character, able to see the good in most people. Until Sidney Snow's actions kill her adoptive son, and she shoots him with a truly blood-chilling look of rage on her face
- Break the Cutie: Woman cannot catch a break. From losing her father to being stalked by Sean to watching Sean get brutally gunned down in front of her. Finally, she goes over the edge when she loses the Mormon boy she viewed as her own son to her church burning down, and takes revenge on the man responsible. After refusing to be pardoned for this crime and continuing to plead guilty, she is executed at a public hanging..
- Calling the Old Man Out: When her father loses his faith, she tears into him.
- Character Death: In season four. She is hanged.
- The Conscience: Acts as this for Bohannon in season 3.
- Death Seeker: After Sidney Snow kills Ezra in a fire and Ruth shoots Snow, she is determined to be tried as a murderer and executed for her crime. She gets her wish.
- Despair Event Horizon: See Death Seeker above.
- Fiery Redhead: She doesn't seem it at first but develops it later.
- Good Shepherd: Is trying to fill the role abandoned by her father with her own stronger faith. Is much better at it than he was.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Sean definitely does it.
- Not So Different: The episode "Bleeding Kansas" seems to suggest she is this to her father. In the end, they both die as murderers.
- Parental Abandonment: Cole hasn't seen her for most (if not all) of her life, despite knowing of her existence.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Joseph. Fate always seems to get in the way when they're close to being together.
- Later with Bohannon. Near the end of her arc, she confesses to being in love with him, but was too cowardly to make him hers. They truly became star-crossed when Cullen got Naomi Hatch pregnant and was forced into marrying her by her Mormon family.
- Token Good Teammate: She's probably the only member of the railroad who doesn't have some sort of innocent blood on her hands. Until she shoots Sidney Snow, not that he really counts as "innocent blood"
- Values Dissonance: Is kind even to those she considers Godless heathens...such as for instance Catholics and Mormons, who she believes to be doomed to Hell.
Played by: Wes Studi
- A Father to His Men: He always treats his warriors with outmost respect.
- Antagonistic Offspring: Pawnee Killer is more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist than Many Horses.
- Armor-Piercing Question: It's something of a character trait for him to deliver these. For example, while talking about the land issues with the US government:
: It's not yours, it's the US Government's.
Many Horses: Did they buy it?
Many Horses: Did they trade for it?
Durant: It's not like that-
Many Horses: Then how can they own it?
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite being a major character for three seasons, he's nowhere to be seen in the fourth. Presumably the railroad moved past his territories.
- Good Parents: Many Horses is the only good parental figure in the show, always wise and supportive.
- I Have No Son: Towards Joseph, but less ominious than usual: Many Horses says that because he is acknowledging that Joseph is now his own man, and free to trail his own path.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He is perfectly calm and reasonable, even willing to negotiate with the railroad owners (such negotiations fail, but sure as Hell not because of Many Horses).
- The Stoic: He has yet to smile on screen.
Thor Gunderson, aka The Swede
Played by: Christopher Heyerdahl
- Wild Card: After losing his position of respect and authority in Hell on Wheels, The Swede becomes completely unpredictable for the rest of the series.
- Worthy Opponent: Seems to consider Bohannon this.
- Affably Evil: She's rather polite and civil towards Lily, even though she's planning her downfall.
- Non-Action Guy: While literally every living being in the railroad (Including Thomas Durant and Lilly Bell) grabs a weapon to fight the Sioux, Hanna screams and hides.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Same thing as Durant. Profit above everything, including good and evil.
- Proper Lady: She is the living embodiment of the description given on the trope page, only antagonistic.
- Put on a Bus: Hasn't been seen since the end of the third season.
Played by: Jake Weber.
- Anti-Climax Boss: In season four, he has several intimidating encounters with Bohannon, Durant and Mickey, but nothing really ever comes of it. While he does a good job at upping his game and staying on top, the closest he gets to an actual confrontation is when he and Durant get into a brawl in the season four finale.
- Badass: While never seen in battle, the sheer balls required to march in a Wretched Hive with five people and a piece of paper that says he's the governor and strongarming the entire community to dance to his tune while spiting Durant effortlessly qualifies him.
- Bait-and-Switch Boss: He is set up as the Big Bad of season four, but quickly becomes more heroic when compared to the newly introduced Sidney Snow.
- The Charmer: He immediately sets his sights on Louise and becomes determined to win her affections. Does pretty well, despite their major differences.
- Combat Breakdown: His fight with Durant quickly turns into this when they barrel into the street and it becomes a clumsy mud brawl.
- The Control Freak: Rivals Durant in this fashion.
- Dating Batman: Campbell, the cold, authoritarian Knight Templar governor, enters into a heated sexual affair with the warm, progressive-minded Intrepid Reporter, Louise Ellison.
- The Dreaded: Seems to have a reputation as an uncompromising though somewhat controversial enforcer of justice. He is personally chosen by Ulysses Grant to govern Cheyenne.
- Fish out of Water: He and his entourage are clearly more accustomed to the norms of a city as opposed to the seedy railroad town of Hell On Wheels. Nevertheless, they manage to stir quite a bit of trouble in the form of law and order.
- Historical-Domain Character: He was the governor of Cheyenne in real life as well.
- Hanging Judge: Played with. For the standards of Hell on Wheels, he's absurdly strict with the law. For the standards of a normal city, he's pretty straight-forward (Judge, Jury, and Executioner aside).
- Hero Antagonist: He opposes Durant, but it's pretty obvious which of them is the most righteous man.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he can be outrageously macho and authoritarian, as well as being no stranger to ruthless underhanded tactics, Campbell's intentions are mostly pure. He can be seen aiding the rest of the community gathering water to the burning church.
- Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Due the lack of a working law system in Hell on Wheels, him and his crew (about five people) are a walking courtroom that trials anything unlawful on their path.
- Kangaroo Court: Techinically speaking, his courts are horribly unfair due the entire jury consisting of his own men, but for the standards of order of Hell on Wheels, they're as good as they get.
- Knight Templar: Sees himself as a guardian of civilization.
- Large Ham: Not overt like most examples, but his rumbly voice and the deliberately unflappable, dominant and imposing demeanor that he exudes everywhere he goes can come off as over-the-top.
- Number Two: To Ulysses Grant, at least in regards to the railroad.
- Order Versus Chaos: He firmly represents Order in the chaos-ridden land that is Cheyenne.
- Out-Gambitted: Possibly the only man to inflict this upon Durant.
- The Rival: To Durant, for the control of the railroad.
- Rules Lawyer: Makes this trope into an art form to take power of Hell on Wheels by any means necessary.
- Twilight of the Old West: While not explicetly linked to this trope, Campbell (as Lampshaded by several character) is almost a physical representation of it: A bringer of order in the lawless lands of the West, civilizing it, taming it and stopping the "any man makes his own law" behavior that characterizes the period and the genre.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: While he does do some pretty shady things from time to time, his sole goal is to bring civilization and order to Hell on Wheels.
- Affably Evil
- Alas, Poor Villain: As he sits bleeding to death after an escape attempt, Snow reminisces a sad tale about a Union soldier he had found on a battlefield missing half his body and then asks Bohannon to tell Ruth he didn't mean to kill Ezra.
- Alliterative Name
- An Arm and a Leg: Durant saws his leg to keep him from bleeding to death internally.
- Badass: Quite so. He's able to escape death more than once due to his quick thinking, sharp reflexes and shooting skills.
- Bait-and-Switch Boss: While John Campbell was set up as the Big Bad throughout most of season four, he becomes relatively benign when Sidney Snow enters the picture.
- Beard OF Evil
- Blonde Guys Are Evil
- Blood Knight
- Catch Phrase: "Life's a mystery."
- Combat Pragmatist
- Cruel and Unusual Death: After sustaining painful gunshot wounds to the stomach and leg, and subsequently the painful process of removing those bullets, Snow tries to escape and ends up tearing his wounds open again. This forces Bohannon and Durant to saw off his leg as he screams horrifically. Hours later, he tries to escape again out a window, opening up his leg wound. He slowly bleeds to death.
- The Drifter: He's apparently just been roaming from place to place and getting into trouble after the war.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He notably lowers his gun when he finds Naomi and her baby cowering in a corner after very nearly shooting them. Not that this excuses the fact that he killed a young boy and a helpless store owner seconds earlier.
- He is also clearly unsettled when he realizes he shot the kid. And later apologizes for causing Ezra's death.
- Evil Counterpart: To Cullen Bohannon. While Bohannon is a stoic, brooding, dark anti-hero who regrets the bad things he does, Sidney Snow is an energetic, hedonistic, Affably Evil Outlaw who chooses to relish in the violence he commits.
- Guns Akimbo: What he prefers. Looks especially cool when he's carrying two pearl-handled revolvers from Mexico.
- Jerkass: He is an abrasive, racist, bloodthirsty, sociopathic loose cannon.
- Lack of Empathy: Has the tendency to make light of innocent bystanders and partners in crime who are caught in the crossfire of his violence, even if he initially feels bad for their deaths.
- Laser-Guided Karma: He burns down Ruth's church, killing her adopted son Ezra in the process. This results in Ruth's Despair Event Horizon, causing her to shoot Snow the next time she sees him. He does not fare well after this.
- The Man They Couldn't Hang: He is introduced about to be hanged by a gangster in Mexico. While he and his partner manage to gun down the gangster and his two friends, Snow's partner dies in the process, leaving Snow hanging from the tree. He is able to cut the rope enough that it snaps shortly after Snow loses consciousness. He rides out of the desert and lands in Cheyenne later on.
- Omnicidal Maniac: After losing to Bohannon and going on the run, Snow locks a large number of townspeople in the church and sets it on fire. Several people die, including young Ezra. He also looks back on a mass slaughter of wounded and defenseless Union soldiers that he and Cullen took part in as "only the best day of our lives," before describing the event with loving detail.
- Psycho for Hire: He is made a federal marshal by Campbell in attempt to outplay Durant and Mickey, and Snow quickly gets to work meting out "justice."
- Stepford Smiler: Has a perfectly happy and pleasant smile on his face most of the time. He's not a nice person at all.
- The Sociopath
- Stupid Evil: His brazen bad-boy antics often have devastating consequences that he barely acknowledges, increasing his problems and his tendency towards evil. There's also the two times he tries to escape during the surgery meant to save him from dying of gunshot wounds, both of which ruin all the efforts made to keep him alive.
- We Used to Be Friends: With Bohannon.
- Would Hurt a Child
Sen. Jordan Crane
Played by: James D. Hopkin
- The Atoner: Regarding his misdeeds as member of a gang of thieves.
- Character Death: He asks Bohannon to shoot him.
- Combat Medic: Not many doctors can have a fistfight with a Sioux warrior like he did.
- Death Seeker: Because of his misdeeds as a thief, Whitehead is very glad with death, and actively seeks it.
- Face Death with Dignity: He is calmly looking at the horizon when Bohannon shoots him.
- A Good Way to Die: He feels this way at the end, saying he had a good life, and that it's a good way to end his life on Earth.
- Honor Before Reason: Decides to stay with Durant, even though it's certain he'll die.
- Morality Chain: For Bohannon. He tries to keep the guy from turning into the Swede.
- The Medic: Quite literally, in Hawkin's gang (and later on Hell on Wheels, for a brief amount of time).
- Mercy Kill: He asks Bohannon to shoot him so he will die with a friend by his side.
- Known Mostly By His Nickname: Everyone calls him "Doc" or Hey, You!.
- Punch Clock Villain: He served as a medic for a gang of thieves, but only because he had no other option.
- Token Good Teammate: Alongside Bohannon, he was this in Hawkins' gang.
- Ambiguously Evil: At this point, it's very hard to tell if he's evil or not, but Eva and Elam certainly feel very scared of him.
- Badass: His opening scene has him effortlessly beating down a thief, and he barely blinks at Ferguron's threats.
- Carry a Big Stick: Well not a "big" stick, but his Weapon of Choice is a police baton and he can surely wreak some havoc with it.
- Dashingly Dapper Derby: His Nice Hat.
- Dogged Nice Guy: His persistence about wanting to whisk Eva and her baby away to live happily in New York is not well received by her and Elam.
- Establishing Character Moment: He walks out of a train, sees a thief robbing a man, promptly beats the thief down and gives the man his walllet back. This establishes Declan as a man of old-fashioned values in the crapsack world that is Hell on Wheels.
- Fair Cop: He apparently was a cop in New York.
- Honor Before Reason: His motivation is taking Eva's baby (with her consent) to give it a better life. No matter how much trouble even suggesting that causes him.
- Nerves of Steel: Impressively coolheaded when he's captured by Elam and Psalms and threatened with death. He's able to walk away relatively unharmed, whereas his brother's mouth would have likely gotten him beaten to a pulp.
- Officer O'Hara: A classic irish copper.
- Put on a Bus: Or rather, a train. He leaves by train with Eva and Elam's baby and never returns.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: He is calm, collected and cultured, everything Toole was not.
- Bi the Way: Confirmed as of season four.
- The Conscience: She often assumes this role alongside Ruth and Bohannon.
- Dating Catwoman: With John Campbell, who she challenges publicly in her newspaper but also sleeps with behind closed doors.
- Intrepid Reporter. She is at Hell On Wheels to cover the building of the railroad and does so as honestly as possible
- Lipstick Lesbian/Ambiguously Bi: She got shipped out west at least partly to keep her away from her boss' daughter but she didn't seem to mind when Bohannon kissed her either. She didn't really respond but that could have been just because she was shocked and surprised.
- In season four, she begins an affair with Governor John Campbell so it's likely she just swings both ways.
- The Narrator: From time to time.
- Nice Girl: She is very kind, polite and caring toward people.
- Rape as Drama: She is raped by the same man who later rapes Eva. She witnesses Eva kill him and keeps it a secret.
- Unwitting Pawn: Durant pointed her towards the murders Bohannon commited in revenge and then used her story against him at the trial.