Between 1854 and 1930, more than 200,000 orphaned or abandoned children were sent west on orphan trains to find new homes. Some were adopted by loving families; others were not as fortunate. In recent years, some of the riders have begun to share their stories. Andrea Warren alternates chapters about the history of the orphan trains with the story of Lee Nailling, who in 1926 rode an orphan train to Texas.
From 1854 to 1930, in the biggest children's migration in America's history, more than 200,000 orphaned or abandoned boys and girls were given new clothes, placed on "orphan trains" and brought to towns in the midwest and south in the hope that they would be adopted and well cared for. Andrea Warren writes about this movement to "farm" out unwanted children in chapters that alternate with the moving story of Lee Nailling, one orphan who found a warm and loving home. For almost sixty years, Mr. Nailling was separated from his siblings who had been "trained" to different parts of the country. Their reunion in 1984 nicely ends Ms. Warren's look at a well-meaning, but not always successful movement to help the homeless.