In this novel, Kreck tells the epic story of westward expansion , from the great wagon trails, to the track layers and those Hell on Wheels towns where the west was at its wildest. The Wild West was more than cowboys; it was also the raucous and unfettered railroad settlements that followed the tracks. Overnight settlements, better known as "Hell on Wheels," sprang up as the transcontinental railroad crossed Nebraska and Wyoming. They brought opportunity not only for legitimate business but also for gamblers, land speculators, prostitutes, and thugs. Dick Kreck tells their stories along with the heroic individuals who managed, finally, to create permanent towns in the interior West.