Louise Ellison, Hell On Wheels
Louise Ellison (Jennifer Ferrin)
On historical western drama Hell on Wheels, Louise Ellison was a strong-willed reporter for The New-York Tribune and was dispatched to cover the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad across the United States. Introduced in Season 3, it was revealed that her career had come to a halt when it was discovered she had romantic feelings for Ida Greeley, her editor’s daughter, who was never shown on screen. Though at one point she spent the night with Eva, a former prostitute, all they do is sleep. Later when Eva approached her and begun playing with her hair and kissing her neck. Louise recoiled and a confused Eva backed away. Louise told Eva that she was worthy of her friendship and kindness without “payment” in return.
Although Louise identified as a lesbian on the show, she didn’t have any relationships with women or show other interest towards women on screen in the series.
Louise and John Campbell
In Season 4 episode 9, after Louise wrote an unflattering story about the town’s Governor, John Campbell, she ended up at his hotel room where he had sex with her somewhat forcefully, though she was the one who initiated anything physical between them. Afterwards, they lay together laughing and talking. Campbell acknowledged that he was well aware of Louise’s attraction to women, and commented on her “past romantic predilections…” Louise did not deny her orientation and called their dalliance a “triumph of curiosity over experience.”
Louise and Campbell continued to have a relationship afterwards. Actress Jennifer Ferrin mentioned her character’s sexuality in a Q&A:
Q: In Episode 409, Louise becomes entangled with John Campbell. Are you hoping she’ll find love?
A: The writers and I really talked about what it would mean for Louise to be attracted – however harmful it was – to a man like John, and what kind of internal conflict that would bring. I enjoy when a character is fleshed out fully, and we wanted to paint her as this complex character that might fall for this person who doesn’t pigeonhole her into a type. I think that leaves it open for her to perhaps find love or just find herself.
Q: What has your character taught you? What will you take away from your experience on Hell on Wheels?
A: I felt such a great responsibility to represent a woman who was lesbian or bisexual and to stay true to who she is. That doesn’t mean she is put into a box and labeled. It means that she is an entirely whole human being who lived during this time, who had the feelings she had, and who had purpose and drive for her career. I really felt a great responsibility, and I can only hope that it came though and fans of the show respond positively to the stories we were trying to tell. – Hell on Wheels Q&A — Jennifer Ferrin (Louise Ellison)
The show was cancelled after Season 5, split into two parts, with seven episodes airing in the summers of 2015 and 2016 respectively.
- 25 episodes. Season 3 - Season 5
Female love interests:
- Ida Greeley (off-screen)
Relationship story arc with a woman: No
Male love interests:
- John Campbell (Jake Weber, regular S4, guest S5, 16 episodes)
Relationship story arc with a man: Yes
Male love interest after being identified as a lesbian? Yes
Filter Relationship Arc:
Storyline during sweeps? No
 A relationship story arc is defined as explicit, developed on screen, and lasting more than 3 episodes. It is listed as questionable or subtext if romance is only implied, mentioned instead of shown on screen, part of a dream sequence, or otherwise not explicit for the viewer.
 Sweeps episodes air in February, May, July and November, the periods when advertising rates are set. A character is marked as "sweeps" when there is a very limited number of episodes that address their sexuality, all air during sweeps period, and the storyline is otherwise ignore/dropped.