As if working one’s way across the country building a railroad wasn’t enough hardship, life in the 19th century meant little to no access to doctors, painkillers or antibiotics. In this new behind-the-scenes video from the makers of AMC’s “Hell on Wheels,” we get a peek at what life — and often death — was like for the men and women who forged their way across the continent.
In one particularly gruesome scene, Cullen (Anson Mount) performs a field operation on Lily (Dominique McElligott), who has a piece of arrow lodged in her shoulder. Basically, he holds her down, pours whiskey on her blood and mud-smeared shoulder and pokes around in her flesh with a pair of stainless tongs as she squirms. Ouch.
Watch the full clip — seen here first at Zap2it — to find out more about frontier medicine and why — at least in 1865 along the path of the transcontinental railroad — germs killed more people than bullets did.
“Hell on Wheels” airs Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. ET on AMC.