The fifth episode of the fifth season of AMC's "Breaking Bad" was a white-knuckle thrill ride. Walt, Mike, and Jesse planned an elaborate train heist in order to steal a vital chemical for their drug enterprise.
The plan involved stopping the train carrying the chemical by blocking the tracks with a "broken down" truck. While the truck driver distracted the train's conductor and engineer, Walt, Jesse, and new associate Todd pumped the chemical from the train, while also pumping in an equivalent amount of water into the compartment so that the weight would remain the same. The plan went off without a hitch, until the very end when (spoiler alert!) a young kid on a dirtbike rolled up. Todd, not wanting any witnesses and despite the protest of Jesse, shot the kid.
Beyond " Breaking Bad ," TV history is filled with great examples of train heists, both successful and unsuccessful. Here are some of the most memorable.
The whole plot of "The Train Job" revolves around Mal and his crew attempting to steal mysterious cargo from a train. However, when Mal learns that the cargo they stole was much-needed medicine for a frontier town, he opts to return the cargo and return the money paid to him by his employer. It's a great episode because of the drama, but also because Mal's decision to help sick people in the town instead of getting rich by stealing the goods proves that he is fundamentally a good man, despite living the life of a common criminal.
In one episode, Peter and Carter Pewterschmidt team up to try and make some fast cash. One of their ideas is to rob a train. However, they get on board an Amtrak train, and see that there's nobody on board they can steal from. They get to talking with the ticket taker on board about musicals and economics, and end up just buying a couple of train tickets instead of committing the robbery they had planned.
AMC's "Hell on Wheels" is all about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, so it's somewhat surprising that it takes until Season 2 for the show to feature a train heist. It's then that Cullen Bohannon joins a gang of train robbers that he frequently butts heads with. When he tries to keep a fellow robber from shooting a woman during a train robbery, he hits his head and gets left behind. As the Season 2 premiere reaches its final minutes, poor Cullen is awaiting execution for his crimes in a jail cell.