Train traveling toward viewer’s left- fire ranging in background to left.
Difficult living conditions in the crowded Eastern cities encouraged many new immigrants, especially those who were farmers, to pursue their romantic dreams of the West. By 1871, the date of this lithograph, many East Coast residents had headed west, lured by the promise of free land and open space. Here, a train with a tender, a baggage car and seven passenger cars dramatically races away from a prairie fire, common on the Great Plains. A herd of bison, once plentiful in the West, runs from the dangerous fire as well. Currier & Ives published a number of disaster scenes and found that images of fire were especially popular with their customers.