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The Iron Horse (1924)

Passed | | History, Romance, Western | 1925 (Germany)
After witnessing the murder of his father by a renegade as a boy, the grown-up Brandon helps to realize his father's dream of a transcontinental railway.




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Complete credited cast:
Dave Brandon
Charles Edward Bull ...
Cyril Chadwick ...
Will Walling ...
Thomas Marsh
Francis Powers ...
Sgt. Slattery
Cpl. Casey (as J. Farrell Macdonald)
Jim Welch ...
Pvt. Schultz / Pvt. Mackay (as James Welch)
George Waggner ...
Buffalo Bill (as George Wagner)
Judge Haller (as James Marcus)


Springfield, Illinois. Brandon, a surveyor, dreams of building a railway to the west, but Marsh, a contractor, is sceptical. Abraham Lincoln looks on as their children, Davy Brandon and Miriam Marsh, play together. Brandon sets off with Davy to survey a route. They discover a new pass which will shave 200 miles off the expected distance, but they are set upon by a party of Cheyenne. One of them, a white renegade with only two fingers on his right hand, kills Brandon and scalps him. Davy buries his father... Years pass. It is 1862 and Lincoln signs the bill authorizing construction of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railways. Marsh is principal contractor and Miriam is engaged to Jesson, the chief engineer... Crews of Chinese, Italians, and Irish work to build the railway while resisting Indian attack. When the pay train is delayed by Indian ambush, the Italians go on strike. Miriam persuades them to return to work... Marsh needs to find a shortcut through the Black Hills. To ... Written by David Steele

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Romance of the East And West See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1925 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Iron Trail  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to R.L. Hough, about 35 of the many extras were retired, elderly Chinese-Americans who had previously had decades-long careers working for the railroad. Hough described them as "wonderful" to work with. See more »


The locomotives and rolling stock are using knuckle-type couplers which did not begin wide use until the 1890's. In the 1860's era setting of this movie, the couplers in use would have been link and pin. This anachronism is understandable as the safety issue would have prohibited the use of the era appropriate link and pin couplers. See more »


Lincoln: [about the older Brandon] He feels the momentum of a great nation pushing westward - he sees the inevitable.
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Featured in Golden Saddles, Silver Spurs (2000) See more »


Blow the Man Down
Traditional 19th Century Sea Chanty (1860s)
[Integrated into restoration score into divorce and going back to work scenes]
See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent (if old) western railroad movie
11 May 2005 | by (Wyoming) – See all my reviews

Since I live in Cheyenne, WY this type of movie really appeals to me. As all historians know, various towns along the route of this railroad (which coincides quite closely to interstate 80 in Wyoming) were made during its construction. Cheyenne and Rock Springs (because of its coal mining) were especially notable.

I had seen this movie several years ago and was delighted to see it being broadcast on the Turner Classic Movies channel. Perhaps they will re-broadcast it again in the future.

This movie, while not completely accurate historically, certainly gives an idea of the magnitude of the endeavor being undertaken. And it does feature a real locomotive which operated on the railroad during the period portrayed. Historical buffs definitely should not be swayed from enjoying this title simply because it may not strictly conform to history.

I won't go into the story except to say that the various sub-plots keep the viewer very entertained. This was a very well-done movie in my opinion. Acting was very good. And the cinematography was very impressive.

Fans of either westerns or silent-era films certainly should not miss this one.

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