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American Experience; Riding the Rails


Repackaged for Season 11 4/2/99

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American Experience
Riding the Rails
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

During the Depression-era 1930s, tens of thousands of teenagers hopped freight trains in search of a better life elsewhere. What they found was a mixture of adventure, camaraderie, hardship and loneliness. This program tells some of the evocative stories of teen hobos crisscrossing America during tough times. Inspired by Boy and Girl Tramps of America by Thomas Minehan, Riding the Rails is the story of Bob "Guitar Whitey" Symmonds and nine others who left home, struggled to survive - and had a defining life experience in the process.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “American Experience; Riding the Rails,” 02/13/1998, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 17, 2018, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_9107BAF156904B7CA9332C20BBBE176E.
MLA: “American Experience; Riding the Rails.” 02/13/1998. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 17, 2018. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_9107BAF156904B7CA9332C20BBBE176E>.
APA: American Experience; Riding the Rails. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_9107BAF156904B7CA9332C20BBBE176E
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