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Denver and Rio Grande (1952)

A romanticized history of the building of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in the Colorado mountains.




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Cast overview:
Jim Vesser
Gen. William J. Palmer
Linda Prescott (as Laura Elliott)
Johnny Buff
Gil Harkness
Jane Dwyer
Charlie Haskins
Engineer Moynihan
Bob Nelson
James Burke ...
Sheriff Ed Johnson


Edmund O'Brien and his team of railroading men try to build a rail line through a mountain pass, while a group of less scrupulous construction workers sabotage the entire operation in the hopes that they can get their tracks laid first and get the money from the railroad. Written by Marta Dawes <smdawes@home.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Adventure | Western


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 October 1952 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Denver & Rio Grande  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Vesser jumps off the train to take back the depot Texas Creek one man following him can clearly be seen dropping his rifle on the ground and another man can be seen in the background loosing his footing after he's hopped out of the train car resulting in him falling flat on his face. In the end Vesser was really the only character in the shot who didn't mess up. See more »


Linda Nelson alias Linda Prescott: That flatcar's coming.
Jim Vesser: Don't worry, that wall will hold it.
Linda Nelson alias Linda Prescott: It's loaded with dynamite.
Jim Vesser: Everybody run!
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User Reviews

Edmond O'Brien in a more cerebral role!
27 September 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This film begins with some very bad narration. Not only is it unnecessary, but the guy's voice sounds very phony and it adds nothing positive to the picture. It also comes off like an advertisement for the Denver & Rio Grande Railway! The film is a completely fictionalized account of the building of the railroad. In this story, forces of evil (a competing railway) are conspiring to stop the railroad from being built. So, it's up to a tough guy (Edmond O'Brien) to make sure the line is built--and O'Brien is more than willing to beat the stuffing out of anyone who gets in his way....or shoot him! He's one of the most pugnacious characters I've ever seen O'Brien play--a man who has all the patience of Bluto! Early in the film, two evil guys working for the competition attack O'Brien*. And, one of them (Sterling Hayden) shoots at O'Brien and accidentally kills his partner in crime--and blames O'Brien. Well, although O'Brien is acquitted in the case, he's lost his confidence and spends the next 15 minutes in the film coming up with excuses NOT to return to his job. Eventually, however, he does and it's back to punchin' and scrappin' to make sure the men do their part. As for the baddies, they dynamite the hills, rob the payroll and do lots of other things to disrupt progress.

Now into this mix is a clichéd woman--a woman who KNOWS absolutely nothing but seems to think she knows everything. She and O'Brien instantly HATE each other--therefore you know they'll be in love by the end of the film. Another woman (Zasu Pitts) is in the film...for no discernible reason whatsoever. Pitts, I think, MAY have been intended as comic relief--but all her scenes had nothing to do with the plot and she's more an annoyance than anything else.

So it any good? Well, not really. But the film has very nice scenery and my uncle (who watched the film with me) said this line makes a terrific trip--as he's done the trip from Silverton to Durango. So, at least we got to talk about how pretty southwest Colorado is...though we both got a bit bored by the clichés and silly writing in "Denver and Rio Grande".

*By the way, although I love Edmond O'Brien films, the idea of him beating up TWO guys (one of which is the humongous and well-muscled Sterling Hayden) at the same time is quite laughable. In fact, I remember chuckling through this silly scene.

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