In the fall of 1867, a single railroad track reached the southeastern corner of Dakota Territory--today's Wyoming state line. The Union Pacific had been pushing westward from Omaha for the past year and a half. Beyond this "End of Track" point, there was nothing but open prairie, mountains and rolling hills for hundreds of miles. No cities or civilization to speak of, no ranches or farms, and not much population. In a very real sense, there was no Wyoming. The Transcontinental Railroad changed all that.
You can purchase your copy of End of Track here!
Tom Manning has been writing and producing documentaries for over 25 years. Focusing on his love of the west, his productions have covered a wide range of subjects - from historic events such as the Transcontinental Railroad to current affairs like Wyoming wind power.
His work has received widespread recognition and won numerous awards including Western Heritage, Telly, Golden Cine, International Wildlife Film Festival, and National Educational Media prizes. Tom's productions have appeared on Public Television in Montana, Oregon and Wyoming, and on The Discovery and Learning Channels. A former producer for Wyoming PBS, he continues his association with the station and currently resides in Bozeman, Montana.
With the arrival of the Transcontinental railroad, this vast emptiness soon achieved Territorial status and eventually statehood. Cities like Cheyenne and Laramie, Rawlins and Rock Springs, Green River and Evanston were created. But there were other Wyoming railroad towns that today are little remembered. Places like Benton and Bryan, Piedmont and Bear River City flourished for a time during construction, then simply vanished as the railroad moved on.
End of Track is the story of the Transcontinental Railroad's construction march across southern Wyoming and the growing pains of a state in its infancy. It's a story of incredible engineering achievements and boisterous "Hell on Wheels" towns. A tale of greed and corruption, murder and mayhem. An account of a clash of cultures and Native American retaliation. But it's also a story of hope and ambition, determination and unimagined success.
End of Track follows the progress of the surveyors and engineers, the graders and tracklayers from Cheyenne to Evanston in 1868. It delves into the lives of merchants and saloon keepers, gamblers and outlaws, new residents and famous visitors. Along the way the story moves up vertically in time to fully explore how the railroad changed the lives of people along its path.
You'll meet characters like Chief Engineer Grenville Dodge and the scandalous Union Pacific Vice President "Doc" Durant. The no nonsense Casement brothers, who as construction bosses drove their work crews to ever higher standards. The outlaw Big Nose George, who because of the railroad came to a strange and untimely end. And the Ames brothers, railroad financiers to whom a little known massive monument still exists just off present day I-80.
Many of the events that surrounded the building of the Transcontinental Railroad nearly 150 years ago embody themes that reverberate throughout the world today: The promise of a technology connecting the nation in a new way. A collision between industrialized and traditional cultures. Greed and hubris characterizing the captains of industry. The corruption and complicity of government officials. Huge amounts of taxpayer money lining the pockets of the wealthy. A plan to jump-start economic growth after a long and divisive war. A huge infrastructure project creating jobs and putting people to work. These are themes that give perspective to current events and perhaps serve as lessons on how to proceed into a turbulent future.
Featuring hundreds of historical photographs and lavish high definition video, dramatic readings and historic recreations; this compelling documentary paints a picture of frontier life in Wyoming during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An incisive narrative plus interviews with historians and railroad experts, presents an accurate account of how the Transcontinental railroad changed America. At a more regional level, End of Track is ultimately a story about the beginning of Wyoming.