The Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway was an important part of the commercial life of the upper Midwest during the age of railways. Don L. Hofsommer uses the BC&N as the vehicle for his investigation of the birth, evolution, and disappearance of an important regional carrier, offering an inside look at the struggles of a small railway to stay relevant while railroad empires were being built. More than a bit player, the BC&N might have become even more important had plans gone forward to utilize its rails in a campaign to reach the Pacific. The struggle of the Cedar Rapids road and its corporate ancestors to place Minneapolis–St. Paul and St. Louis in competition with Chicago via a north/south route forms a major part of the book’s narrative, and the book also offers a history of the company's three-state service territory (Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota) from the dawn of the age of railways into the 20th century. The book includes more than 200 photographs selected from Hofsommer’s extensive library of historic photographs documenting the history of the BC&N Railway.