This is a promotional skeleton map of the Union Pacific Railway, touted as “the most popular transcontinental line.” It is filled with numerous pictorial vignettes of scenes from the Great Plains and Western Americana, including: buffaloes, a cowboy, Salt Lake City, corn fields, Garfield Landing, Native American figures, Yosemite, and more.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the map is the topographic profile running along the bottom of the map, extending from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to San Francisco, California. The well-executed profile identifies important towns, flora and fauna, and natural resources along the route. It presents both an elevation chart and illustrations of mountains themselves.
The route itself is boldly depicted in red, with white circles and black text indicating each stop. Over a decade after the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, rail travel to the West is fully established — a notion highlighted by a pair of vignettes titled The New Way and The Old Way. The former depicts a locomotive gliding forward unencumbered; the latter shows a team of horses and carts struggling over rough terrain.