Evening scene of a passenger train stopped on the tracks while about a dozen men shovel snow off tracks ahead.
During the 19th century, new methods of transportation helped to support the expansion of the nation. The railroad, well established throughout the country by 1870, provided one of the most important ways that people traveled to the West Coast. Surprisingly, few painters depicted the train in their scenes of the West. Currier & Ives, however, embraced this new technology, celebrating the railroad and steam locomotives in over fifty prints. The firm often illustrated the railroad running peacefully through the wilderness, reconciling this symbol of industrialization with nature. In this nighttime scene, a train has stalled on the track because of heavy snow. Men work frantically to remove the frosty barrier as the train, billowing dark smoke, sits idling. It is believed that the image of the man leaning on a shovel is based on James J. Hill (1838-1916), creator of the Great Northern Railway.