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.
During the Great Depression, Americans built the Hoover Dam, one of the greatest engineering works in history.
When two passenger ships collide off Nantucket in 1909, 1,500 people rely on 26-year-old Jack Binns to operate a new technology - wireless telegraphy - to save them all.
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.
Politics, culture, race relations, and technology in a year of change.
A six-hour series on how the West was lost and won, from the Gold Rush in 1848 until Wounded Knee in 1893.
The epic battle waged over dinosaur fossils by rival paleontologists in the American West.
During World War II, more than a thousand women signed up to fly with the U.S. military as WASPS.