This article explores how railroad technologies, so critical in constructing the imagined nation of the nineteenth-century United States, were simultaneously shaped by multiple social groups including the native communities of North America. This analysis demonstrates how Native Americans’ resistance to and use of railroad technologies contributed to the revitalization and construction of ritual practices and pan-Indian identities associated with the 1890s Ghost Dance. Using case studies of the Northern Paiutes of western Nevada and the Sioux nations of South Dakota, Native Americans’ utilization of railroad technologies are examined during two periods of encroachment, revealing shifting attitudes and practices towards Euroamerican ideas and material culture as a means of protesting against western expansionism and the cultural of capitalism driving the massive reconfiguration of the landscape, cultures and peoples of North America during the last four decades of the nineteenth century.