After her husband John McKay is killed in an ongoing feud with the Canfield family, a woman takes her baby boy Willie to her sister's house in New York hoping he will never know of the feud with the Canfields. Twenty years later Willie is a grown man and he receives a letter saying he has inherited his father's estate and must travel to his family home to take possession. On the train there he meets a beautiful young woman and falls in love only to learn that she's a Canfield. He accepts her invitation to dinner and quickly realizes that the Canfield men won't kill him while he's in their home. His plan to stay there as a permanent guest is short-lived and the Canfields are soon after him. Written by
The diminutive steam engine used in the film was a faithful, mechanically accurate re-creation of Stephenson's Rocket. Equally accurate was the replica of the early bicycle ridden by Willie near the start of the film - so accurate, in fact, that according to Buster Keaton it was requested by the Smithsonian Institute for display. See more »
When the donkey refuses to move from the rail tracks, the engineer and others curve the tracks around him. The long shot that shows the train moving past the donkey, however, shows the tracks back in a straight line. See more »
Keaton throughout his career did most all of his stunts and even suffered serious injury during the shooting of "The General". During a stunt with a watering tower, Keaton fell hard to the track and broke his neck, but did not know it until 13 years later. Also, during one of the final scenes in "Our Hospitality" when Keaton's character is floating down the river, his safety line broke and he almost drowned, but he was a stickler for not cutting until he said so, because he did not want to miss anything with the camera. Also, during the shooting, the love interest of Keatons character was his wife who was pregnant with their second child, and if you watch closely they attempt to hide her stomach on many occasions. Also, the child at the first that plays the baby Willie, is actually Buster Keaton Jr.
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