The two series are set for June 11 premieres on AMC.
Western fans, mark your calendars: On June 11, the AMC cable network will kick off the final season of Hell on Wheels — and air the premiere of an ambitious docudrama series, The American West.
According to AMC:
“The last seven episodes of Hell on Wheels is the end of the line for Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) and his work on America’s first transcontinental railroad. The final push to finish brings with it a reckoning for Bohannon and the men standing in his path: the bloodthirsty Swede (Christopher Heyerdahl); the mercenary Chang (Byron Mann); and the rapacious Thomas Durant (Colm Meaney).
“Bohannon contends with corruption, greed and murder as he leads the trek to complete the final stages of the building of the railroad from the Central Pacific through the Sierras and across the Utah desert to Promontory Point. While the railroad’s completion is certain, who and what will survive when the golden spike is finally planted remains in question — with no one more at risk than Cullen Bohannon.”
On the same evening that Hell on Wheels starts to ride off into the sunset, a new weekly program will begin its journey through U.S. history. Again, according to AMC:
“The American West spans the years 1865 to 1890 and shows how — in the aftermath of the Civil War — the United States transforms into the ‘land of opportunity.’ Viewers will be transported into the violent world of cowboys, Indians, outlaws and lawmen. The eight-episode limited event series chronicles the personal, little-known stories of Western legends such as Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. The series is executive-produced by Robert Redford, Stephen David (The Making of the Mob: New York, The Men Who Built America) and Laura Michalchyshyn with Sundance Productions, and it features exclusive interviews with notable names from classic western films, including Redford, James Caan, Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Harmon, Ed Harris and more.”
Joel Stillerman, president of original programming and development for AMC and SundanceTV, believes that westerns have been very, very good for his network.
"Over the last 10 years,” Stillerman said in a prepared statement, “AMC has had wonderful success with westerns in various formats: from the Emmy-winning miniseries Broken Trail, to the Saturday lineup of classic movies [and TV series] like Rifleman and Hondo, leading into our fan-favorite scripted drama Hell on Wheels and now with our Wild West limited event series The American West.
“We’ve learned,” Stillerman added while specifically praising Hell on Wheels, “that the West may have been won over 150 years ago, but it continues to win with old and new fans alike. I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best in the business and John Wirth and his team are no exception. It has been a pleasure working with the entire Hell on Wheels cast and crew over the last five seasons and on behalf of all of us at AMC, we thank you for creating an epic program that will live on through your many loyal fans and the new ones yet to come.”
Hell on Wheels returns June 11 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on AMC, followed by The American West at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT. Here is a trailer for that dynamic duo.