Released in 1976 as part of the nation's Bicentennial celebration, this documentary-style film narrated by Martin Gabel tells the story of the building of the first transcontinental railroad by Union Pacific Railroad in 1820 and the role it played during Westward Expansion. The film ends with significance of the railroad in the late 1960s. Presented by Union Pacific Railroad Department of Public Relations, this film titled “Tracks of the Iron Horse,” goes on to offer a broad overview of the Union Pacific Railroad’s history as a company as well as the role it played in opening the Great American West.
Image of May 1869: Promontory Summit, Utah Territory (0:08). Opening credits - person in background hammers spike into railroad track (0:38). The uncharted lands of America’s Northwest starting at the Missouri River (1:41). California’s Pacific coast (2:29). Expedition from Missouri River to Rocky Mountains led by Major Stephen Harriman Long, US Army topographical engineers Department of the Missouri (2:56). Mention of Lewis and Clark expedition (3:15). Map illustrating the Great American Desert (3:47). European immigration to America in the 1800s (4:27). Tenements of New York City’s Lower East Side (4:57). Oregon fever and the Oregon trail (5:20). California Gold Rush (5:29). Covered wagons (5:47). Former Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas (7:04). Former Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton (7:20). Former secretary of the US Army Jefferson Davis (7:46). Map highlighting the confederate states - Davis suggests 32nd parallel as site of railroad (7:54). The Abolitionist Movement and the Civil War (8:32). Abraham Lincoln signs the Pacific Railroad Act: track to commence in Nebraska then go west to meet with the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California (9:17). Panorama of Omaha, Nebraska (9:48). Deliberations in Congress over funding the railroad project (10:09). General Robert E. Lee surrenders (10:15). Railroad construction begins - international enterprise labor and materials coming from Pittsburg, Wisconsin, Ireland (10:32). Winter conditions in Cheyenne (11:42). Hardships and good times of laborers (11:44). Train going across Utah (12:45). Promontory, Utah Territory (12:59). Grand opening and meeting of the railways connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific - celebration in Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C. (13:42). Oscar F. Davis, Land Commissioner, U.P.R.R. Omaha, Nebraska (14:35). Union Pacific Railroad PR materials to entice settlers to move out west (14:49). Reenactment of early settler’s experience in Nebraska (15:58). Settlers building towns and businesses (16:21). Map showing expansion of railroad network (17:27). Pests and natural threats to crops and farming (17:54). Panic of 1873, Wall Street Crash (18:39). Panic of 1893 - Union Pacific Railroad goes bankrupt (19:04). UPRR sold at auction at Omaha Freight House given new ownership (19:04). Edward Henry Harriman (19:22). Harriman rides from Omaha to the Pacific Ocean to inspect the rails (19:57). Harriman returns to New York - repairs to the decaying equipment (20:20). Farmer Smith sitting in front of the Portland Chamber of Commerce (20:57). Rolling colleges of agriculture from Bonner Springs, Kansas to Union Gap, Washington (21:05). Transport of military equipment and “Doughboys” during WWI (21:31). President Woodrow Wilson takes control of the railway during WWI (21:54). Interior of train station (22:30). Union American passenger trains: The Los Angeles Limited (22:32). Overland Limited (22:38). Columbine Train (22:40). Interiors of passenger trains during the 1920s - Flapper walks down train aisle (23:01). Union Pacific Stock Market report from 1929 (23:48). The Great Depression (23:56). Rise of automobiles in America (24:06). Union Pacific unveils first streamliner M-10000 in Salinas, California (24:17). Use of railway during World War II (24:50). UP No. 4014 Big Boy steam locomotive (24:55). Union Pacific Golden Spike in the Stanford Museum at Palo Alto, California (25:25). IBM 1800 third generation solid state computers - analyze movement of trains (25:54). Aerial view of one of Union Pacific’s industrial development districts (26:24). Centennial DD40X (27:20). Union Pacific's support of industry in contemporary America (27:34). Closing credits (28:17).
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com