Hell on Wheels (2011–2016)
3 user 3 critic

Thirteen Steps 

Cullen struggles with Ruth's unexpected decision; Louise risks her reputation to fight for a story she believes in.


Roxann Dawson


Joe Gayton (creator), Tony Gayton (creator) | 3 more credits »


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Anson Mount ... Cullen Bohannon
Colm Meaney ... Thomas 'Doc' Durant
Robin McLeavy ... Eva
Jennifer Ferrin ... Louise Ellison
Phil Burke ... Mickey McGinnes
Dohn Norwood ... Psalms
Kasha Kropinski ... Ruth
Jake Weber ... John Campbell
David Wilson Barnes ... Martin Delaney
Andrew Howard ... Dandy Johnny Shea
Kevin Blatch ... Judge Webber
Matt Cooke Matt Cooke ... George Senior
Dylan Schombing ... George Junior
Haysam Kadri Haysam Kadri ... Dutch Dufray
Lorette Clow ... Administrator




Ruth is determined that her fate is sealed. Her trial gives her two possible outs, both of which she dismissed. Cullen provides his accurate detail as police officer, detailing that she'd only protected him and the general population from the murdering swine she shot down. Even John Campbell suggests a stay, saying that she is not thinking clearly. Ruth remains steadfast in sealing her own fate, and even growing closer to Bohannan during an all night vigil in her jail cell does not shake her from her decision. The morning comes, and Campbell asks Cullen to read the death warrant. He stalks out, wanting no part of it. Ruth begs him to attend her hanging, to be with her in the end. 13 steps up to the noose. Ruth looks to the crowd, hoping that Cullen will he there. He arrives late, but too late to stop Ruth from her fate. She smiles a small smile of contentment, just before the hood is placed over her head. Written by saunterr44

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hanging | sadness | See All (2) »


Drama | Western


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Roxann Dawson directed this episode. This is yet another Star Trek connection. Colm Meaney/Durant was Chief Miles O'Brien on TNG and DS9, Roxann Dawson was B'Elanna Torres in VOY. Anson Mount/Bohannnon is Captain Christopher Pike on Discovery and Hell in Wheels-Director of Photography/DOP Marvin V. Rush worked also on TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT See more »


[first lines]
Cullen Bohannan: [holding the Bible under her hand] You do swear by almighty God, the searcher of all hearts, that the evidence you give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, as you shall answer to God on the last great day?
Ruth: [kisses the Bible]
Judge Webber: In the matter of the United States versus Ruth Cole, the defendant stands accused of unlawfully, feloniously, and of malice aforethought shooting into Sidney Snow two mortal wounds of which he died, contrary to the law, peace, and ...
See more »


Hell on Wheels Main Title
Written by Gustavo Santaolalla
Performed by Kevin Kiner and Gustavo Santaolalla
See more »

User Reviews

Heart wrenching truth for Ruth
30 August 2015 | by writerwren_2See all my reviews

This episode will bring out the tears in the most hardened soul, I'm guessing.

The back story of Ruth, her free admission of guilt, the courts unwavering answer and the result tears your (or mine, at least!) heart out.

I found Cullens meeting with her in the jail house breathtaking. Together they are contemplating life and death and friendship and all the "what ifs" that many of us probably contemplate every day. I can see the sexual tension put on hold, the words that never were said, the endless turmoil over what is right and what is wrong and justice can be a fragile thing

Incredibly well filmed and finessed. Best show of the year.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



USA | Canada



Release Date:

15 November 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Recently Viewed