There were many growing pains. Rustlers, thieves, and desperadoes were as thick as the cattle in Kansas when the first rails were laid. When a conductor, toting a pistol, asked a grizzled prospector where he was heading, the old man replied, "Hell." "That's 65¢ and get off at Dodge," the weary conductor declared.
Once built with rails from Wales laid on ties of oak and walnut, the railroad survived the economic and climatic hardships of the late nineteenth century, and eventually extended from Chicago to San Francisco, with over 12,000 miles of track and substantial holdings in oil fields, timber land, uranium mines, pipe lines, and real estate.