7.3/10
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The Iron Horse (1924)

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.

Director:

John Ford (uncredited)

Writers:

Charles Kenyon (story), John Russell (story) | 2 more credits »
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George O'Brien ... Dave Brandon
Madge Bellamy ... Miriam Marsh
Charles Edward Bull Charles Edward Bull ... Lincoln
Cyril Chadwick Cyril Chadwick ... Jesson
Will Walling ... Thomas Marsh
Francis Powers Francis Powers ... Sgt. Slattery
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Cpl. Casey (as J. Farrell Macdonald)
Jim Welch Jim Welch ... Pvt. Schultz / Pvt. Mackay (as James Welch)
George Waggner George Waggner ... Buffalo Bill (as George Wagner)
Fred Kohler ... Deroux
James A. Marcus ... Judge Haller (as James Marcus)
Gladys Hulette ... 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:

A Romance of the East And West See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 October 1925 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Iron Trail See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$280,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$942,889, 31 December 1925
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

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 »

Quotes

Dave Brandon: [to Miriam] When they drive the golden spike, we'll belong to both sides - and to each other.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD release of this film contains two different edits, one for the American market and one for Europe. The American release is 16 minutes longer than the European cut. The American cut is dedicated to the memory of Abraham Lincoln while the European release is dedicated to the memory of George Stephenson. In the American release 's character is named Deroux while in the European cut his character is named Bauman. See more »


Soundtracks

Blow the Man Down
(uncredited)
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

 
Rated 10 for technical accuracy in railroading history
28 May 2006 | by wcryptoSee all my reviews

Having at one time been the Southern Pacific Trainmaster for the territory of the eastern half of the predecessor Central Pacific, I have done extensive research on the old CPRR, between Montello NV and Lovelock NV.

Although not a "railfan" nor a "steam fan", I am an amateur historian.

John Ford's work in "The Iron Horse" was absolutely brilliant. He brought to the screen the real feeling of genuineness with the way the original "Chinaman's railroad" (as many local historians called it) was constructed, to the screen with absolute realism.

My father and his brother were working for Universal at the time this was made.

I'm a real fan of John Ford, and would rank this among his "most technically correct" film accomplishments, and I know that he always strove for realism.

Walter J Gould


16 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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