'Hell on Wheels': Frontier medicine's a real killer

hell-on-wheels-meds.jpgAs 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.

For use on external sites w/exclusive video premieres.


"Hell on Wheels" airs Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. ET on AMC.
Photo/Video credit: AMC
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