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The Iron Horse (1924)

Passed  |   |  Western  |  1925 (Germany)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,295 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 31 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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Complete credited cast:
Dave Brandon
Charles Edward Bull ...
Cyril Chadwick ...
Will Walling ...
Thomas Marsh
Francis Powers ...
Sgt. Slattery
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
Cpl. Casey (as J. Farrell Macdonald)
Jim Welch ...
Pvt. Schultz / Pvt. Mackay (as James Welch)
George Waggner ...
Buffalo Bill (as George Wagner)
Fred Kohler ...
James A. Marcus ...
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


Blazing the Trail of Love and Civilization See more »




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1925 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Iron Trail  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


A notation on a title card states that in the final scenes of the meeting of the west and east railways, director John Ford used the actual engines that did meet on that day, the Jupiter and Locomotive 116. This claim was, in fact, not true. Not only were neither of the engines the original ones, but one of the actual engines had been dismantled for scrap many years before. See more »


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


Featured in 20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years (1997) 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.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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