In the market scene supposedly set in Lancaster County, PA, the slanted wall style horse drawn buggy that turns the corner can only be found in Ohio. It also has drum brakes and red plastic tail light lens, common among the 21st Century Amish but not Mennonites of early 19th Century Pennsylvania.
During "The Massacre" episode, Colonel Skimmerhorn is walking through the streets of Denver and there is a large crowd of people cheering and waving 50 star United States flags. There were no 50 star United States flags in 1864.
During "The Winds of Fortune" episode, Hans Brumbaugh is in his sugar beet field talking to Tranquilino Marquez. In the background, the viewer can see a cornfield that has been irrigated with a central pivot irrigation system. Central pivot irrigation systems did not go on the market until 1952.
During "The Yellow Apron" episode - Major Sibley's wife gives a music recital. Towards the end of the recital she unfurls several American flags with 50 stars. There would not have been any 50 star American flags during the early 1800's.
Pasquinel is camping by a river wearing a dark jacket. A Pawnee Indian shoots him from behind with an arrow and he hurriedly paddles away in his canoe with an arrow in his back. The next scene shows a Cheyenne Indian pulling the arrow out of Pasquinel's back and he is wearing a dark vest. It would be nearly impossible to take a jacket off with an arrow sticking out of your back.
McKeag drops his gun on some rocks and breaks the butt of the rifle. Pasquinel fixes it with a rawhide patch. A bit later, they encounter three Ute Indians and as McKeag raises his gun to fire at them, the rawhide patch is gone and the gun is as good as new.
During the "Winds of Fortune" segment, Clemma Zendt returns to town on the train. It is a long scene but the train cars keep changing even though the train never leaves town. One time there are passenger cars, a bit later there are stock cars, then there are no cars and then there are passenger cars again. All within a few elapsed minutes of action from the same scene.
The bedroom in Oliver Seccombe's house in "The Shepherd's" segment is used again in a later scene when Lewis Verner is staying at the Railway Arms Hotel in "The Scream of Eagles" segment. Same bedroom - two different buildings and 100 years apart.
During the "Only the Rocks Live Forever" episode and Pasquinel's first return trip back to St. Louis from Lame Beaver's camp - the Platte River was flowing at different stages. Some parts of the scene show the river at near flood stage while other parts of the scene show the river barely flowing at all.
During "The Wagon and the Elephant" episode - Levi and Elly put their Conestoga Wagon on a flat boat and float down the Ohio River to Cairo. The footage shows the wagon on the boat but the six horses that they are using to pull the wagon are nowhere in sight.
During "The Longhorns" episode, the cowboys are attacked by a small Comanche war party. Mule Canby shoots one of the warriors off of his horse and as the warrior falls, his hatchet flies out of his hand and lands several yards away. A moment later the warrior gets off of the ground with the hatchet still in his hand and delivers a blow to Canby's arm.
During "The Crime" episode - the same boxcars that were used to unload Messmore Garrett's sheep during "The Shepherds" episode are still on the railroad tracks. "The Crime" episode takes place about 20 years after the sheep were unloaded in town.
During "The Winds of Death" episode - Mervin Wendell is on his deathbed and Maude and Phillip go out into the hallway to have a discussion. They are standing beside a closed double doorway that leads back into the room - but when Maude returns to the bedroom - there is only a single door.
At the beginning of "The Winds of Death" episode - there is a street scene that takes place in 1911 and the cowboy named Burns can be seen wearing a brown jacket and an odd shaped black cowboy hat. The episode moves ahead to the year 1933 - where Burns makes a pass at Soledad Marquez and gets in a fight with her brother - he is still wearing the same hat and jacket 22 years later.
Towards the beginning of the final episode of the miniseries, Louis Verner and Sidney Enderman are walking through the streets of the town of Centennial. When they first start their journey, it is a nice sunny day. A few seconds later as they walk past Zendt's old store and behind the hotel to meet Cisco Calendar, it is suddenly a drab, overcast day and there is a bit of a dusting of snow and ice on the ground.
As Louis Verner and Sidney Enderman are driving along in the final episode, the driver's-side rear-view mirror disappears from their Ford pickup whenever a close-up is called for (the holes where it has been unscrewed are quite evident) and reappears in the long shots.
During The Shepherds segment, Jim Lloyd and Amos Calendar hide behind some rocks waiting for a mysterious rider to catch up with them. When they dismount from their horses the sky is overcast. A couple of seconds later after they come out from behind the rocks to greet the rider (Brumbaugh) there are no clouds and the sun is shining brightly.
During the "Only the Rocks Live Forever" episode - Pasquinel and McKeag are confronted by the brother of the murdered riverboat pilot in a St. Louis tavern. The brother claims that they and the Pawnee killed the men aboard the boat called the Saint Genevieve. A sign on the boat shows that the name was actually the Saint Antone.
During the "Only the Rocks Live Forever" episode - the same footage of Pasquinel and McKeag in their canoe while Pasquinel is singing a French song is used twice. The first time it is used is when the two leave Lame Beaver's camp right after McKeag meets Clay Basket. The second time - this footage is used again when the two are headed back to Lame Beaver's camp after Pasquinel had just married Lise Bockweiss.
In the beginning of the fourth segment, Levi Zendt is living as a hermit and is hunting an elk. He is dressed in lightweight clothing but a close-up of the elk he is hunting reveals that it is cold enough for the elk's breath to be seen as it exhales. Levi's breath does not show when he exhales.
After Levi and Elly have left the wagon train her narration of her letter to Laura Lou says "September 2". In the next scene the wagon wheel breaks and as Levi is cutting the wagon in half, Elly is writing on the rock about what has happened and the date inscribed is "Aug. 11". Almost a month before the previous scene was supposed to have happened.
During the "Only the Rocks Live Forever" episode - Pasquinel and McKeag are sitting by a campfire and three Ute Indians come into the camp to tell them to leave their hunting grounds. After the Utes leave the camp, Pasquinel tells McKeag to get some sleep and tomorrow they will fight for their trade. The next morning - when the Utes return to challenge them - Pasquinel and McKeag are at a totally different campsite.
During the "Only the Rocks Live Forever" episode - a flashback scene shows Lame Beaver as a child running with his uncle under a sunny, blue sky. The uncle tells Lame Beaver to look at the flying swallows - when the scene shifts to the swallows - the sky is overcast and looks like rain.
During "The Wagon and the Elephant" episode - Jake Pasquinel is at the Fort talking to Maxwell Mercy and the viewer can clearly see that he is not missing any fingers on either hand. Prior to this - during "The Yellow Apron" episode - he had a finger shot off by an arrow during the battle with the Kiowas.
During "The Longhorns" episode, John Skimmerhorn and Nacho Gomez meet up with RJ Poteet. Moments later they ride to Nate Person's place but now Nacho Gomez is nowhere to be found, although he was riding with them just moments before. These three riders then pick up Mule Canby and Nacho Gomez is still nowhere to be seen. Moments later the entire group meets Mike Lasater and now Nacho is back with them again - although it is never explained how or why he vanished.
During "The Shepherds" episode - as the Takimoto family gets off the train, it looks like a major storm is about to blow into town. A few seconds later when the hired hands begin to unload Messmore Garrett's sheep - there is not a cloud in the sky.
During "The Yellow Apron" episode - McKeag is snowbound by himself in a cabin in the mountains. He realizes that he is trapped in the cabin from a recent snowfall and he breaks his way out. Once he is outside - the viewer can see the footprints in the snow from the crew as well as the marks in the snow that the crew made while piling it on top of the cabin.
Bufe Coker and Laura homestead a small shack near the Rattlesnake Ciffs. They have only been there a few days and already have a few cornstalks that have grown above waist height. Corn would take at least 6 to 8 weeks to germinate and grow that tall.
During "The Longhorns" episode - it was a well known fact that loud or abrupt noises could startle a herd of cattle and cause them to stampede. Yet several times throughout the episode there was a good amount of yelling and hollering between the men as well as other loud noises and gunfire - sometimes at night - and this would not have occurred on an actual cattle drive.
During "The Longhorns" episode - at the start of the cattle drive, R. J. Poteet can be heard yelling "let's move em' north" - referring to driving the cattle in a northward direction. In actuality, the Goodnight-Loving Trail that they followed started out in a westward direction into New Mexico before the trail ever turned north.
Pasquinel and McKeag are rowing and floating their canoe downstream after they leave St. Louis and head up the Missouri and Platte Rivers. In actuality, if they were heading back to the West on the rivers, they would have had to row upstream.
On the cattle drive, the cowboys are trying to keep the cattle away from the "alkali" pool of water. If the water was really alkaline, there would have been no green grass growing along the banks of the pool.
The blizzard that hits Centennial and destroys the cattle herds takes place in the winter of 1889. In actuality, the storm that wiped out the cattle herds of the Great Plains took place in the winter of 1886 - 1887.
During the "Only the Rocks Live Forever" episode - Pasquinel is forced to portage his pelts seven miles downstream when the river dwindles down and he can't float his canoe any further. However, he is walking the opposite direction of the flow of the river meaning he is walking upstream - or the wrong direction.
During the "Only the Rocks Live Forever" episode - Lame Beaver is sitting astride an Appaloosa horse. Lame Beaver belonged to the Arapaho tribe of the plains and would not have had access to trade or steal this breed of horse. The Appaloosa's were a breed that were developed by the Nez Perce tribe of the Pacific Northwest - a thousand miles away.
During "The Yellow Apron" episode - McKeag, Clay Basket, Jacques and Marcel are attacked by Kiowa Indians and there are visible, planted tree rows in the background. In actuality, since that area of the United States was not settled for another 50 years - no one would have taken the time to plant trees in rows - especially the Native Americans.
During the "Only the Rocks Live Forever" episode - Pasquinel and McKeag leave St. Louis together in a canoe to return to their trade area in the west. In the next scene they are riding horseback with two pack mules in the Rocky Mountains - meaning they had to trade for the horses and mules. The time frame would be around 1797 and there were no settlements west of St. Louis during that time for them to trade for the animals. Also, they left their canoe in Lame Beaver's camp for their return journey to St. Louis and the Indian tribes most definitely did not have the mules.
As Brumbaugh brings the Takimoto's to his farm for the first time - a detectable problem can be seen on the camera lens. The viewer can see two black dots in the upper left corner of the picture that are caused by dirt on the lens.
Oliver Seccombe, John Skimmerhorn and Jim Lloyd pay a visit to
Amos Calendar and tell him to move his sheep off the range. Amos questions Seccombe's identity but he should have already known who he was because he helped drive Seccombe's cattle to Centennial from Texas and actually met him on the trail several years earlier.
During "The Winds of Death" episode - Earl Grebe is in a great amount of debt to Phillip Wendell and tells his family that he will have to sell his horses. Moments later he can be seen driving a brand new tractor in his field. If he were in such a financial hardship, he would not have been able to buy a new tractor.
Jim Lloyd had been living in Centennial for 13 years before Levi "introduced" him to Hans Brumbaugh while they were observing the remainder of Lost Eagle's tribe moving to Wyoming. As often as the two came to town and frequented Levi's store, they should have met long before this time.
Oliver Seccombe builds a stately and well landscaped mansion with the money that he embezzled from the English investors. The mansion was built on the prairie and some of the oak trees on the spread have grown to more than 50 to 60 feet tall in a 5 to 10 year time span. In actuality, oak trees are not native to the Colorado prairie and it would take 50 to 60 years for the trees to grow that tall.
The goof items below may give away important plot points.
During "The Storm" episode - Jim Lloyd, Nacho Gomez, John Skimmerhorn and Amos Calendar are paying their last respects at the graveside service for Mule Canby. In the background, the viewer can see the tombstone for Clara Brumbaugh - who is still alive at this time in the miniseries and doesn't pass away for several more episodes.
After Pasquinel dies, McKeag tells Clay Basket he will take her and the little one (Lucinda) down from the mountains in the morning. In the next footage it shows McKeag and Clay Basket on horseback but Lucinda is nowhere to be found.
During the "Only the Rocks Live Forever" episode - Pasquinel is shot in the back by a Pawnee warrior - he climbs into his canoe and the canoe continues to float eastward with the current of the Platte River. The canoe eventually runs aground near a Cheyenne Indian camp - in actuality, the traditional Cheyenne Indian tribal lands were west of the Pawnee lands and he would not have run aground near one of their camps.