On a map showing the western portion of the United States each player in turn can build track to extend any of 5 major railroad lines westward from their separate origins. Players may have conflicting goals for the route to be taken as each tries to gain rewards for connecting different cities. Some branching is allowed but each line has a limited number of track pieces.
The particular cities which will reward individual players are accumulated throughout the game by drawing blind from a deck of identifying cards. The more different lines arriving at a city, the higher the score will be for that city. Later in the game 4 short lines also become available.