A short line train apparently moving slowly through a western landscape. The massive smoke plume suggests that the photographer requested the fireman "turn on the smoke." (If the fuel is burning well, there should not be a lot of smoke.) Rustic rail telegraph poles appear on the right. Fences, cattle, and another set of poles appear on the left. The fireman stands atop the tender. The small locomotive indicates that image is of a short line.
Clegg worked with Lucius Beebe on many books, as photographer and collaborator. Short lines that connect to main lines were numerous when this photograph was taken for the book Mixed Train Daily (1947).
Beebe took three-quarter wedge views of moving stock before he met Clegg, then Clegg himself adopted the angle. He also adopted Beebe's preference for large smoke plumes and helped make them an iconic image of railroading. The flat landscape offered an opportunity to emphasize the train over the surroundings.