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The Iron Horse (1924)

Passed  |   |  Western  |  1925 (Germany)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,223 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 30 critic

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 ... See full summary »

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(uncredited)

Writers:

(story), (story), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Iron Horse (1924)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Dave Brandon
...
Charles Edward Bull ...
Cyril Chadwick ...
Jesson
Will Walling ...
Thomas Marsh
Francis Powers ...
Sergeant Slattery
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
Corporal Casey (as J. Farrell Macdonald)
Jim Welch ...
Private Mackay (as James Welch)
George Waggner ...
Buffalo Bill (as George Wagner)
Fred Kohler ...
Bauman
James A. Marcus ...
Judge Haller (as James Marcus)
...
Ruby
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

THE WEDDING OF THE RAILS! ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST THRILLING HISTORICAL DEEDS--THE DRIVING OF THE LAST SPIKE FOR THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD (original ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1925 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Iron Trail  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When on location, the crew built a large town set in which many of the buildings had practical rooms. These rooms soon became living quarters, holding areas and storage space. The editing lab was set up in the post office set. See more »

Goofs

At 3:12, Brandon's arm changes position as he leans against the tree. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Episode #1.4 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Patriotic Early western
12 June 2005 | by (Kent, UK) – See all my reviews

Very early John Ford western, don't bother looking for John Wayne here! "The Iron Horse" tells the story of the building of the railroad across America from the East to West coasts. Of course this is a movie so we also get a romance plot, a vengeance plot, hostile Indians, corrupt officials, jovial Irishmen, nasty Indians and so forth.

Although the tone of the film is mostly pretty patriotic and upbeat, there are several darker moments that hint at the corruption and greed in business as landowners attempt to influence the route of the railroad with bribes of women and money. Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West" amongst many other later Westerns takes this theme further. Much of the work is done by Chinese immigrants, but they all seem pretty cheerful here!

In many areas the film is inevitably dated, particularly it's comic scenes and the aforementioned treatment of racial stereotypes. There are a few landscape shots and action scenes, but none as stunning or exciting as in Ford's slightly later "Stagecoach". The 2 hour plus running time is also a little too much. However, the film does succeed in creating an overwhelming sense of achievement in the creation of the railroad, although the sense that 'Civilisation' may actually be a threat, developed in later Westerns, is already apparent with the saloon that doubles as a court of law, and a drunken judge.


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