"Sunset Limited explores the railroad's development and influence - especially as it affected land settlement, agriculture, water policy, and the environment - and offers a new perspective on the tremendous, often surprising, role the company played in shaping the American West." "Based on his unprecedented and extensive research into the company's historical archives, Richard Orsi finds that, contrary to conventional understanding, the Southern Pacific Company identified its corporate well-being with population growth and social and economic development in the railroad's hinterland. As he traces the complex and shifting intersections between corporate and public interest, Orsi documents the railroad's little-known promotion of land distribution, small-scale farming, scientific agriculture, and less wasteful environmental practices and policies - including water conservation and wilderness and recreational parklands preservation."--BOOK JACKET.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 411-588) and index.
1. "These mountains look took ugly and I see too much work ahead" : building the Southern Pacific Company, 1850-1930
2. Men of vision : Southern Pacific leaders, land, agriculture, and the development of California and the West
3. "Stand on the rights of the company and make a square fight of it" : land-grant myths, conflicts with the government, and squatterism
4. The Mussel Slough affair
5. A land of "well-tilled little farms" : land-grant development
6. Promoting the Far West
7. "The satisfactory supply is yet undiscovered" : the Southern Pacific as a pioneer water developer
8. "A great encouragement for others" : private irrigation
9. "This splendid country is to be reclaimed" : public irrigation
10. "The government is hard to deal with" : federal reclamation
11. "Evangel train" : scientific agriculture
12. "The damndest railroading you ever heard of" : marketing the produce of western farms
13. "Shall this destruction proceed?" : wilderness preservation
14. "Putting our properties on the most conservative and scientific basis" : resource conservation.
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