Thomas Durant re-directed the Union Pacific line in a crazy oxbow shape leaving Omaha, Nebraska, simply to add miles to the line -- and money to his pocket.
Collis Huntington sent spies to Union Pacific's suppliers and paid off a Capitol Hill doorkeeper to inform him about the UP's activities in Washington.
Crews from both companies cut corners, building hastily and poorly while racing to lay as many miles of track as possible. Pure profit was the motive. "The line we want now is the one we can build the soonest," wrote Central Pacific surveyor Samuel Montague, "even if we rebuild immediately."
Shortly after the site launched in 1999, we asked our users to answer this controversial question. Below are the results from this poll.
Do you think the railroad could have been completed without backroom deals and criminal profiteering?
Total number of poll participants: 5228
Of the participants polled, 1860 watched at least half of the film; of those, 890 said the film influenced their vote.
Begun during the Civil War, the transcontinental railroad employed 20,000 men, mostly immigrants, who built the iron road with their bare hands.
The U.S. and the Soviet Union race to build the hydrogen bomb during the Cold War, thus beginning the nuclear arms race.
A central figure in the narrative of how the west was won, Wyatt Earp and his story became an American legend. Part of the Wild West collection.
President Theodore Roosevelt was caught in the middle of the first major battle for wilderness preservation in Yosemite National Park.
The internationally famous carnival of delights in New York was the birthplace of the hot dog and the roller coaster.
A gripping tale of medical intervention gone awry, and one of the most barbaric mistakes of modern medicine.
From Joseph Smith's discovery of gold tablets to persecution, migration, and settlement in Utah, the film explores the history of the most American of religions.
The historic journey of Apollo 8 captivated the world in 1968 -- a bright spot in a year marked by political assassinations, race riots, and the Vietnam War.