Common in a scene from AMC's "Hell on Wheels"

*The season finale of Common’s “Hell On Wheels,” which premiered Sunday, Jan. 15th at 10 pm EST, attracted 2.8 million viewers, which, combined with the encore, delivered a total of 3.8 million viewers – making  it the second highest rated series on AMC following the success of “The Walking Dead.”

“Hell On Wheels” tells the epic story of post-Civil War America, focusing on a Confederate soldier (Anson Mount) who sets out to exact revenge on the Union soldiers who killed his wife.  His journey takes him west to Hell On Wheels, a 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.

It examines the railroad’s institutionalized greed and corruption, the immigrant experience, and the plight of the newly emancipated African-Americans during reconstruction. Over time, “Hell On Wheels” chronicles this potent turning point in our nation’s history, and how uncivilized the business of civilization can be.

Musician/actor Common plays Elam Ferguson, an emancipated slave working to achieve true freedom in a world entrenched in prejudice.  Anson Mount plays Cullen Bohannon, a former soldier hell bent on avenging his wife’s death; Colm Meaney is Thomas “Doc” Durant, a greedy entrepreneur taking full advantage of the changing time. Rounding out the cast is Dominique McElligott as Lily Bell, a newly widowed woman trying to survive in a man’s world; Tom Noonan as Reverend Cole; Ben Esler as Sean McGinnes and Philip Burke as Mickey McGinnes, two young brothers looking to find their fortune in the new West; and Eddie Spears as Joseph Black Moon, a Native American man torn between his culture and the changing world around him.

“The writers, producers, cast and crew of ‘Hell On Wheels’ have created a multi-layered and complex period drama. It delivers on its Western origins, but adds another level of storytelling that is really about how this nation came to be what it is today. We congratulate our partners and the incredible creative team on ending a terrific season with such momentum. Work on the railroad continues with season two returning to AMC in the fall,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president.