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.
The international race to develop biological weapons during the 20th century.
The boy behind the myth, who in just a few short years transformed himself from a skinny orphan to the most feared man in the West and an enduring icon. Part of The Wild West collection.
William "Buffalo Bill" Cody's legendary exploits helped create the myth of the American West that still endures today.
A six-hour series on how the West was lost and won, from the Gold Rush in 1848 until Wounded Knee in 1893.
Originally settled as a mail stop, Las Vegas changed from an Old West vacation town, to a mafia haven, to the "Atomic City" and "Sin City."
Though first seen only as an expensive luxury, Alexander Graham Bell's telephone soon transformed American life and became a necessity.
Three years before the Gold Rush, 87 pioneers took a shortcut westward to California, only to get caught in the snows of the Sierra Nevada.
The U.S. and the Soviet Union race to build the hydrogen bomb during the Cold War, thus beginning the nuclear arms race.