Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It's Just TV

But it still gets at me when they get things hugely wrong.

Like, for instance, "Hell on Wheels," now in its final season; Bohannon is now a stakeholder and working boss on the Central Pacific. His working headquarters is Truckee, California -- which as we've seen is already linked by rail to San Francisco. The work Bohannon is focused on is drilling tunnels through the Sierra Nevada for the railroad to pass through.

Having grown up in northern California, I have a problem with this because all the deep tunneling in construction of that first rail line across the Sierra was between San Francisco and Truckee. From Truckee the rails were built alongside the Truckee River to the Truckee Meadows (now covered by Reno and Sparks) and beyond, finally emerging into open Nevada desert near present-day Fernley.

I'm not sure where the CP's construction HQ was before crossing the summit above Donner Lake, but a rail camp of that importance would have been a bustling town at the time, regardless of whether any trace of it still exists today. They could have called it anything -- and if they'd known anything about the lay of the land they could have come up with something colorful yet close to accurate.

Truckee, not so much.

So, when I watch, I have to mentally substitute something like Blue-Lips Canyon or Mudsy Springs. Or something Cantonese that translates to "Hell on Wheels."

1 comment:

  1. And history makes no mention of an attempted assassination of Brigham Young during the transcontinental railroad period -- least of all by one of his 93 sons.

    Of course, if you expect to learn accurate history from television -- whether from a dramatic TV series that openly admits that it's fiction, or a documentary that openly claims not to be fiction -- you're in a sad place.