Michael James Heney had qualities that assured success on the western frontier at the turn of the century. Vision of the future prompted him to undertake projects shunned by less daring men. Although he lived only 45 years, he founded a city, (Cordova), amassed a fortune, and inspired a bestselling novel (The Iron Trail). Without technical training, he built two railroads considered impossible by the leading engineers of his day (the White Pass and Yukon and the Copper River and Northwestern). A ready Irish smile drew people to him and they became his friends for life. Wherever “Big Mike” led, his workers followed, proud to be Heney’s boys.