A PBS documentary is set to examine the history of the arrival of the transcontinental railroad in Wyoming. End of Track will premiere on March 10th on Wyoming PBS.

In May of 1868, the westward construction of the Union Pacific Railroad arrived in Laramie, Wyoming (Territory).  The hour-long End of Track explores the lives of those involved in the construction of the railway, the creation of communities along the expanding track and facets of the mobile “Hell on Wheels” town that followed the work. Setting up camp to draw money from the railroad workers, “Hell on Wheels” included saloons, gambling tents and dance halls. The following is a trailer for the End of Track:

The US transcontinental railroad was constructed between 1863 and 1869. The Central Pacific Railroad of California began construction eastward from the Pacific coast in 1863. The Union Pacific could not start laying track westward from Omaha, Nebraska until mid-1865 as the US Civil War had previously tied up resources in the eastern US. The current AMC Western series Hell on Wheels frames its story around the building of the Union Pacific railroad immediately after the Civil War.  

This map – created by Union Pacific – charts the westward progress of its line between 1865 and 1869. The Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States were first connected by rail on May 10th, 1869 when the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific met at Promontory Summit, Utah.

Image – up.com

 For larger (PDF) view, click this link: Union Pacific Map 

In addition to AMC’s Hell on Wheels, a further Wyoming/Western/TV connection is the contemporary Western series Longmire. This Western mystery series, which airs its second season this year on A&E, is set in modern-day Wyoming.

Further information about End of Track can be found at this link: End of Track.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)


  1. Yes, Jay, the documentary does explore the brothels that were part of that traveling “town”…..and knowing that you have watched AMC’s Hell on Wheels, you know the potential that “enterprise” brings for conflict!


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