As Durant positions a band and a photographer for Senator Crane's arrival, Lily asks if Durant has considered her proposal. "Extortion doesn't become a lady," he replies. "I will not fall prey to it."
Senator Crane alights from the train and announces to Hell on Wheels residents that he has come in peace to negotiate with the Indians. But he threatens, "If these savages want a scrap, then by God we'll give 'em one."
At the saloon, Cole pleads with Cullen to order the walking bosses to control their men while the Cheyenne are in town. If he doesn't, Cole predicts, there will be bloodshed.
Over a meal served outside the Pullman, Crane asks about Durant's issues with payroll and the Union Pacific's bank credit, but Durant assures him all is well. Lily coyly proclaims the path to the Rockies an outstanding issue, with Robert's maps crucial to Durant's success. After Durant admits that he doesn't have them, Crane discloses that the rival Central Pacific has already laid its 40 miles of track pushing east from California.
Cullen asks Elam to keep the freedmen in check while the Cheyenne negotiate with Crane. Elam agrees, then mentions the "ass whipping" Cullen received. Cullen accuses him of cheating with pepper juice, but Elam denies it.
In the church tent, Ruth says that because Joseph's late mother wasn't Christian she can't now be with God. Ruth also rejects Joseph's suggestion that Cole abandoned his family. Her father embarked on a "great Christian mission" to help "inferiors, like Negroes," she claims, pausing. "And the Indians?" Joseph finishes for her.
The Swede secretly informs Senator Crane that Durant used $147,000 of Union Pacific cash to speculate on railroad stock. In return, The Swede asks Crane to provide him with information about Frank Harper.
In the countryside, Pawnee Killer stands beside the tracks as a train rolls by.
While crews lay track outside of town, Indians cross the ridge above. "It's our turn for collectin' some scalps," says Toole, calling on the men to follow him, but Elam orders the freedmen to remain. Despite Toole's insults, Elam stands firm.
Cullen orders everyone back to work. When Toole scoffs that he doesn't take orders from anyone "walloped by a nigger," Cullen fires him. Toole tries to persuade others to leave with him, but no one does.
In the Pullman, Crane accuses Durant of speculating with Union Pacific funds and names the precise sum. Lily listens in as Durant, stunned, declines to discuss the matter.
Chief Many Horses and his retinue arrive at Hell on Wheels. Welcoming them, Cole introduces Joseph and Ruth as his children. "Are you the daughter he abandoned?" the chief asks Ruth.
At the negotiations, the chief rebuffs Durant's view that Crane is offering the Indians a better way of life. After debating who really owns the land they're discussing, Indians or the U.S. government, Durant storms off, exasperated at the chief's rejection of life on a reservation.
At the church tent, Ruth and Joseph attempt to explain Christian theology to the Indians, who find the concept of Jesus' birth from a virgin laughable.
Drinking outside the saloon, gun in hand, Toole eyes the tent. Cullen stands outside, guarding the Indians. Lily informs Cullen that she is taking his advice and leaving town. While they talk, Lily notices a Cheyenne woman wearing Robert's hat. Lily tries to grab it off the squaw's head, but Cullen wrestles her away. "It was your people," Lily accuses Joseph, then stalks off to inform Durant that Robert's killers are in town. Cullen warns her that the price of her revenge will be the death of innocent women and children.
Crane warns Chief Many Horses that his people will be slaughtered if he doesn't accept the U.S. government's deal. The chief threatens slaughter for Crane's people in return.
After Durant returns to the table, Chief Many Horses describes Pawnee Killer's vision of defeating the train. On a whim, Durant offers the chief's son a "chance to see his vision come true."
As Indians and townsfolk watch, Pawnee Killer races on horseback against a locomotive, taking the early lead as the train crew stokes the fire to increase speed. The locomotive eventually bests Pawnee Killer.
Durant boasts over his victory later in the Pullman. Crane congratulates him but again vows to ruin him over the embezzlement. To prove he's not bluffing, Crane reports that he's sold his landholdings and Credit Mobilier stock. Durant can no longer blackmail him.
The squaw with Robert's hat offers it to Lily. Her husband was killed in the massacre as well, with his own arrow.
As Chief Many Horses leaves town, he warns Joseph, "These people are not good." Ruth asks Joseph why he left his father. To help the inferiors, Joseph replies.
Sitting by Robert's grave after digging up the maps, Lily places his hat on the wooden cross marking it. That night in the Pullman, Lily hands Durant the maps and urges him to fulfill Robert's dream.
Meanwhile, at the saloon, Toole attempts to incite the townsfolk against the Indians. Despite being outnumbered, Cullen moves to stop him. The Swede also intervenes, reminding Toole that Durant does not want the Indians harmed. The Swede suggests the men - find some amusement here in town. Toole - backs off.
Toole heads with his men to the cathouse and demands to see Eva but is told that she's not around.
Eva and Elam are dressing in his tent when Toole and his men storm it, ignoring Eva's protest that "we was just talking." After beating Elam, they drag him away.