He was portrayed by Kevin O'Grady.
Sam Hess was a middle-aged man who was raised in Bemidji, Minnesota. In high school he would often bully fellow student Lester Nygaard. He assaulted Lester several times, one time even stuffing him into a barrel and rolling him into the street. He also claims to have had physical relations with Lester's future wife Pearl. Other students, such as future police chief Bill Oswalt, all agree that Sam was an aggressive man with a short temper. At some point, Sam met his wife Gina, who worked as an exotic dancer in Las Vegas, and had two sons with her. He would also form ties with the Fargo Crime Sydicate, with his trucking company being used as a front for some of their operations.
Sam encountered Lester for the first time in many years just in passing on a sidewalk. Accompanied by his two sons, he taunted Lester, reminding him of all of the horrible things he did to him in high school. He also tells Lester that him and Lester's wife had relations back in high school. He continues to taunt Lester until he throws a punch at Lester, causing him to turn and slam into a window, breaking his nose.
At the hospital, Lester meets a drifter named Lorne Malvo. After hearing the cause of Lester's broken nose, Malvo suggests killing Hess. Lester tries to play the encounter of as just two guys talking, but Malvo is serious. The next day, Malvo tracks Hess down at his truck stop. There he meets Hess' sons, insulting their intelligence before confronting Sam himself. He instigates Hess, but leaves after getting a look at him. That night, Malvo follows Sam to a strip club. Sam is then killed when Malvo throws a knife into the back of his head while he is having sex with a prostitute.
The Fargo Crime Syndicate would later send two men, Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers, to track down Hess' killer and get retribution. They would fail in this task however, with Mr. Numbers getting killed by Malvo and Mr. Wrench getting taken into police custody. Sam's death would also lead to Malvo massacring 22 members of the Fargo Syndicate in retaliation for their attack on him.
Meanwhile, Lester also got his own revenge against Sam. He kept information about Sam's lack of health insurance from his widow, and used the oppurtunity to take advantage of Gina and have sex with her. He would also assault Hess' sons with a stapler when they attempted to attack him.