This is apparently the first of at least two episodes which revolve around Ruth's shooting of Sydney, and the murder charges she will face if he dies. Which indeed he does, tonight, by his own hand, after Cullen's heroic efforts to save him. But Sydney's death will look like it was caused by Ruth's bullets, which it was - even though he would have been saved - and this is enough to get Ruth locked up to stand trial for murder.
But ... Cullen doesn't want this, Louise doesn't want this, Durant doesn't want this, no one in the town of Cheyenne wants this except the provisional Governor, who's determined that the rule of law has to be followed. Except - in what rule of law is killing a mad clever dog, whose actions killed an innocent boy, something that must lead to the killer of the dog, Ruth, being brought to trial?
The provisional Governor wants it, but he's already been shown to be morally bankrupt. Further, with Mickey's family in town, Governor Campbell has no muscle to back up his hypocritical interpretation of justice being served, anyway. So why is Cullen going along with this?
I don't know - except that Ruth on trial will make a good story, but that's hardly a reason to burden the plot of the narrative like this. It's indeed interesting, even compelling, to see Ruth stick to her guns about getting satisfaction not only when she shot Sydney, but even more satisfaction when Cullen told her Sydney was dead.
And maybe this is what this storyline is about - the redemption of Ruth. But until Cullen gets his head straightened out about ultimate morality and tinhorn justice, Hell on Wheels will be verging off-track.
See also Hell on Wheels 4.1-2: Rolling Again ... Hell on Wheels 4.5: New Blood ... Hell on Wheels 4.6: Bear and Sanity ... Hell on Wheels 4.7: Why? ... Hell on Wheels 4.8: Aftermath and Rebound ... Hell on Wheels 4.9: High Noon ... Hell on Wheels 4.10: A Tale of Two Sicko Killers
And see also Hell on Wheels 3.1-2: Bohannan in Command ... Hell on Wheels 3.3: Talking and Walking ... Hell on Wheels 3.4: Extreme Lacrosse ... Hell on Wheels 3.5: The Glove ... Hell on Wheels 3.6: The Man in Charge ...Hell on Wheels 3.7: Water, Water ... Hell on Wheels 3.8: Canterbury Tales ...Hell on Wheels 3.9: Shoot-Out and Truths ... Hell on Wheels Season 3 finale: Train Calling in the Distance
And see also Hell on Wheels: Blood, Sweat, and Tears on the Track, and the Telegraph ... Hell on Wheels 1.6: Horse vs. Rail ... Hell on Wheels 1.8: Multiple Tracks ... Hell on Wheels 1.9: Historical Inevitable and Unknown ... Hell on Wheels Season One Finale: Greek Tragedy, Western Style