Hell on Wheels tells the epic story of post-Civil War America, focusing on a Confederate soldier (Mount) who sets out to exact revenge on the Union soldiers who have killed his wife. His journey takes him west to Hell on Wheels, a dangerous, raucous, lawless melting pot of a town that travels with and services the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, an engineering feat unprecedented for its time.
With Thomas "Doc" Durant back in control of the Union Pacific Railroad, civilization makes its way west to Cheyenne, Wyoming - the "Magic City of the Plains." Conflict between the government, ranchers, homesteaders, and the railroad arises as they compete for control of this newborn city that quickly became the most important railroad hub in the United States.
Cullen Bohannon finds himself a stranger in a strange land: Truckee, California. Home to the headquarters of the Central Pacific railroad, this rough mountain railroad town teems with thousands of Chinese workers who are foreign in language, culture and traditions. While grappling with the challenges of corralling his new workforce, Cullen leads the Central Pacific’s herculean effort to tunnel through the Sierra Nevada mountains, sometimes achieving only inches a day in the race to complete America’s first Transcontinental Railroad.