In 1832, 57 young men from Ireland boarded a ship to America, leaving behind an impoverished country in hopes of a better life. They arrived healthy and ready to work. Eight weeks later all 57 men were dead. Did they all die due to a cholera pandemic as was widely believed? Or, were some of them murdered? Over 150 years later long after their deaths had been forgotten, twin brothers discovered a secret file among their grandfather’s papers, leading them to investigate the story behind their deaths and search out the location of their final resting place. With the help of a team of scientists and researchers, the brothers locate a mass grave site in a valley now known as Duffy’s Cut. Using the latest forensic and scientific investigative techniques, as well as historical detective work in Ireland and the U.S., modern detectives and experts will unravel this extraordinary story. Death on the Railroad is a classic whodunit, containing foul play, cover ups, a murder mystery, and both old-fashioned detective work and high tech analysis to help find out what happened to a group of Irish men who came to America for a better life but found only misery.


“Secrets of the Dead: Death on the Railroad” is a rather fascinating historical murder mystery. I like that the documentary team doesn’t try to tread into the fantastical, as they pose realistic possibilities. If that wasn’t enough, we also get proper historical context for what’s going on. Jay O. Sanders does masterful work with his narration. Unfortunately, I’m left with the desire to see more than what we got.

The DVD comes with no special features. The transfer is pretty sharp, even though the footage jumps around based on source material. The Dolby 2.0 audio track is sharp enough for what’s available. Still, it works. In the end, I’d recommend a rental.


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