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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Took a Level in Badass: Multiple. He starts the series as a common worker of Durant, but after some bouts with the Irish and Bohannon's training, Fergurson becomes a expert marksman, second only to Bohannon himself in Hell On Wheels.
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.
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.
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.
The Lancer: Becomes this for Bohannon in season 2.
Last Name Basis: His first name was never mentioned. until his funeral, that is.
Pet the Dog: When he finds out Eva is pregnant by another man. He figures out that it's Elam but instead of killing one or both of them gives Elam a What the Hell, Hero? speech and returns to comfort Eva, apparently willing to accept the child as his own.
Odd Friendship: With one of the black workers (keep in mind this man tried to hang Fergurson for no other reason other than being black a few episodes before). It was the result of his Heel-Faith Turn after Elam's bullet incredibly didn't kill him.
Played by: Gerald Auger
Cain and Abel: The Cain to Moon's Able because of his extreme measures.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
Corrupt Hick: Despite being a northerner and an Immigrant, he fits this trope to a T. When he's not out being the Hanging Judge, he's shaking down businesses and bribing officials to look the other way while he robs his employer.
The Corrupter: Cole already had a few problems before him, but it was The Swede who gave him his final push into villainy. Also attempts this on Bohannon for very little reason other than "why not".
Evil Counterpart / Foil: As the man himself notes, The Swede is, essentially, Bohannon's dark side personified: A ruthless murderer addicted to battle itself. He is a constant reminder of Bohannon's capacity for evil.
Evil Laugh: A very bizarre, very foreign "hooting" sound that leaves Bohannon with a bemused expression.
Lost in Character: As "The Bishop Dodson." He gets so wrapped up in selling his religious ecstasy that Bohannon is able to get him to unintentionally admit to the Mormons that he's not who he says he is.
Made of Iron: Shrugs off third-degree burns without further thought after an afternoon of rest. And then he comes back, even though he fell off a significant height into shallow water, in a shot that heavily implied he died on impact.
Out of Focus: His quest to infiltrate the Mormon religion after his faked death in the season two finale has been disconnected from the main Hell on Wheels setting for two seasons now. While not uninteresting, it feels almost out of place. Though, it's clear he's quite desperate to make his return back to the railroad business.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 EvilOutlaw 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.