At one point during his conditioning, West breaks free long enough to send a signal using a blanket held in front of the lighthouse's light. A sailor on a passing ship reports, "Captain, this is strange, I've picked up a blinker SOS." His captain responds, "What's so strange about a ship in distress Mr. Hale?". "The Wild Wild West" was set during the administration of Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877). "SOS" did not become a standard for international distress calls until 1905, and even then it took some time for it to replace the older "CQD" signal.
Not only was "SOS" anachronistic, "CQD" did not come into use as a nautical distress signal until around 1904 when its use was suggested by Guglielmo Marconi.