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 Wizard of Menlo Park," Inventor Thomas Edison, built the first practical light bulb and revolutionized the world.
Though first seen only as an expensive luxury, Alexander Graham Bell's telephone soon transformed American life and became a necessity.
The New Deal program CCC put three million young men to work in camps across America.
John Wesley Powell's epic journey into the unknown Grand Canyon was filled with adventure as his team mapped the Colorado River for the first time.
Engineered by William Barclay Parsons, the 21-mile, four-track route of the New York City Subway was the largest public works project in history.
William "Buffalo Bill" Cody's legendary exploits helped create the myth of the American West that still endures today.
The Alaskan Highway stands today as one of the boldest homeland security initiatives ever undertaken.
The worldwide migration by eager gold-seekers turned California into a land of opportunity and fierce competition.