The locomotive was design to haul passenger and freight trains on the Virginia and Truckee railroad until it was retired in 1926.
It used to spent much of the early 20th century on snowplow duty for the V&T.
In 1937, the locomotive, minus the plow, was sold for $1,000 together with No. 22 Inyo to Paramount Pictures who then had the locomotive overhauled at the Southern Pacific Railroad shops at Sparks, Nevada. Paramount had the locomotive repainted and renumbered for use in motion pictures.
The locomotive was donated to the Nevada Railroad Museum since 1978-2005.
Today the locomotive is on static display at the Virginia City Comstock History Center.
- This locomotive was featured in many films such as Union Pacific (1939), Young Tom Edison (1940), The Lady from Cheyenne (1941), Nevada City (1941), Jackson Mail (1942), Frontier Bedmen (1943), Barbary Coast Gent (1944), Gentle Annie (1944), The Harvey Girls (1946), Duel in the Sun (1946), Wispering Smith (1949), as the Western and Atlantic Railroad 'William R. Smith' in Disney's The Great Locomotive Chase (1956), Stagecoach West (1957), as well as featuring in the Ridin the Rails (1974), and The American Spirit (1974).
- It remained at the Golden Spike National Historic Site throughout most of the 1970s, along with the V&T's Inyo, which was modified to represent the Central Pacific's Jupiter.
- In 1974, both locomotives were sold to the State of Nevada, but remained in Utah while brand-new replicas of the Golden Spike locomotives were under construction.
- Both Inyo and Dayton finally arrived at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City in late 1978.
- Once at the museum, the Inyo and Dayton were evaluated for possible restoration to operating condition. The boiler of the latter was found to be in poor condition and would require replacing for the engine to operate.
- Since the Dayton's boiler was original, it was decided to instead give the engine a cosmetic restoration. Dayton made its debut at the museum on Memorial Day weekend, 1982.
- In 1969 the locomotive participated in ceremonies for the centennial of the Golden Spike and it was modified to represent Union Pacific's No. 119.
- In 1906 the locomotive had the honor of opening the branch line between Carson City, Nevada and Minden, Nevada, but after that it was used less frequently.