The Great Smoky Mountains were a remote and inaccessible place with no major highways or railroads until well after the Civil War. Using first enslaved and later convict labor, the Western North Carolina Railroad and Murphy Branch connected the mountains with the remainder of the state by 1891. The railroad brought commerce and tourism, and tourists and rail buffs continue to come to Bryson City to experience travel by steam train on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. The history of this line is a story like no other. It is a tale filled with tragedy, heroism, brains, blood, sweat, tears, nitroglycerin and humor. Local authors Jacob Morgan Plott and Bob Plott tell the story of a line that refused to die.